Not just wingin’ it: Restaurants serve many different types, flavors

Farm Forum

If you want to sell lots of chicken wings, you have to listen to your customers.

That’s what people at Aberdeen restaurants say.

Lonnie Frost, owner of the Circus Sports Bar and Grill, said you have to give customers what they like, “not necessarily what you like.”

Frost said that when he’s made changes in the Circus’ chicken wings, customers notice and tell him if they’re not happy.

The Circus sells 350,000 chicken wings a year.

Danelle Schlaht, general manager of Maverick’s Steak and Cocktails, said “we’re always open to customer suggestions and listening to different things that customers may like.” Maverick’s used to sell only mild, hot and barbecue wings, but customers expressed interest in more variety. So Maverick’s added garlic Parmesan, fajita and lemon pepper wings, Schlaht said.

If you want a good price on wings in Aberdeen, you can generally do it on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

At Shenanigans, half-price night is Wednesdays, when eight wings cost about $4.50 and 16 cost $8.50.

Lager’s Inn has two special wings nights. On Mondays, wings are 35 cents each. On Wednesdays, the price is $4 a pound. The normal Lager’s price is $7.25 per pound, which averages nine or 10 pieces.

Daddy’s wings are half-price Tuesdays and Thursdays: $4.50 to dine in and $5 to go.

On Tuesday nights, Schwan’s Recreation charges 50 cents a wing. Those wings are plain, hot or extra hot.

At Tapz and Bully’s, half-price wings are $4 Thursdays.

At Maverick’s, you can get a deal after 10 p.m. Friday and Saturdays.

At the Circus, you can buy a pound of chicken wings, usually eight or nine pieces, for $8.49 Mondays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to midnight.

The Circus has four flavors of wings: mild, hot, nuclear and barbecue. The two most popular are mild and hot.

The Circus is unique, Frost said, because the place makes its own sauces. The barbecue sauce is the only one made outside the restaurant. It’s made by Big John’s Ol’ West in Mellette.

Frost likes his wings to be crispy.

Frost, who’s owned the Circus since 2005, is also protective of sauce recipes.

On a busy night, the Circus will sell 2,500 to 3,000 wings, most between 6 and 9 p.m. During those hours, two employees work on wings full-time, “cooking as hard as they can,” Frost said.

Lager’s offers 10 kinds of sauce every day.

The most popular are Buffalo and spicy barbecue. Other favorites are sweet chili and nuclear. Lager’s puts habanero in the nuclear sauce “so we have a range for everybody,” said Loren Dayton, one of the managers.

Why are Lager’s wings popular?

“They’re fresh, for one thing,” said Dayton.

Lager’s doesn’t sell wings just on Mondays and Wednesdays. They’re available Monday through Saturday, as well as Sundays during football season.

Some people enjoy the smoked wings served at Tapz and Bully’s, both of which are at the Ramada Inn. The bone-in wings are smoked and deep-fried.

Shenanigans has eight sauces for its wings. The most popular are Buffalo and Double Dipped sauce. The latter is a combination of Buffalo and barbecue sauce.

Chicken wings are available at a host of other Aberdeen restaurants, including Minervas and pizzerias.

Maverick’s sells four types of wet rub wings (mild, hot, barbecue and garlic Parmesan) and two kinds of dry rubs (fajita and lemon pepper). For the dry rubs, “we just fry the wing, and then it’s coated in seasoning,” Schlaht said.

Among the wet rubs, the mild wings are most popular, Schlaht said. The fajita is the biggest seller among the dry rubs.

All of the seasonings are made in-house, Schlaht said.

With the dry rubs, “the skin stays nice and crispy,” she said. The wet rub produces a “juicy, wet wing.” So customers can have whatever “they’re in the mood for that evening,” Schlaht said.

At Maverick’s, six pieces of wings are $5.99 and the 12-piece is $9.99.

Daddy’s varieties of wings are Jack Daniels, the O’Daddy, mild, sweet chili, plain, barbecue and a special challenge sauce. Customers can take on a challenge involving the latter, which is very hot, or simply order it. Other than the challenge, the O’Daddy is the hottest.

The most popular wings are the sweet chili, O’Daddy and mild.

At Daddy’s, the wings are baked.

“We start out with a good product and we don’t overcook it,” said owner Sue Fritz.