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Bites Nearby: Buffalo Wild Wings

For any fan of wings, beer and sports, “you just have to be here.” But be sure to bring some wet-naps.

O Buffalo Wild Wings, let me count the ways: 58 flat-screen TVs. Twenty-four beers on tap. Fourteen signature wing sauces. Traditional and boneless wings, available in orders of six, 12, 18, 24 or 50.

The newest addition to the popular Buffalo Wild Wings chain, which already boasts more than 600 restaurants in 41 states, opened right in our own backyard just last month in Palmer Township. The franchise was originally conceived as a New York-style wing restaurant with the appeal of a sports bar.

As general manager Terry Shultz said, “We’re all about wings, beer, and sports… we have it all.”

In the past couple of months, we covered their much-anticipated arrival here in the Lehigh Valley (their next-closest location is an hour and a half away in New Jersey). Then we covered their grand opening on April 18.

However, we didn’t really talk much about the food.

I’ve had the privilege of dining there twice in the past month; I say “privilege” because their parking lot has been jam-packed almost every day of the week since their grand opening. On a weekend, an hour-long wait is not out of the question.

But, depending on what you’re looking for, it may be worth the wait.

As far as the decorum goes, B-Dubs follows the popular restaurant philosophy that “the more tacky stuff we put on the walls, the more people will like us,” but they manage to do it thematically, repping Pennsylvania sports teams like the Phillies, the Flyers, and of course, the Eagles (author’s note: maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see any Steelers loot in there. Which is totally okay).

The aforementioned glut of TVs face several directions and play every sport, so that no matter where you’re sitting you’ve got a view of the game. In one meal I saw baseball, basketball, hockey, golf and what I thought was poker (although it may have been someone playing a video poker machine).

And then, the main course: the food, not surprisingly, was good. Not great. Pretty much where most chain-restaurants lie, in taste-bud limbo. The wings are, as expected, well-made, but what makes them exceptional is the array of unique sauce options.

For those with a tamer tongue, the Honey BBQ sauce is sweet, tangy and mild. The Mango Habanero stood on the other side of the spectrum, spicy enough to warrant a second Yuengling, but with a fruity sweetness.

Also on the menu are sandwiches, wraps, salads, flatbreads, burgers, and plenty of appetizers. The Honey BBQ Burger was an interesting spin on bacon burgers, glazed with (of course) honey barbecue sauce, and the tender pulled-pork sandwich can be topped with your choice of any signature sauce.

I have, really, only a mild complaint. At the risk of sounding trivial, there is such a thing as too many options; when a friend ordered the wing-and-rib plate, the waitress assaulted him with a barrage of no less than a dozen follow-up questions, certainly a departure from the good-old “soup or salad” debacle (which I have plenty trouble enough with).

However, another perk to the restaurant is their outdoor seating deck, which is entirely shaded in a wide awning. The restaurant is kid- and group-friendly, although tables of more than four tend to get a little cramped. They also provide free wi-fi access.

Buffalo Wild Wings is located at 3798 Dryland Way. They are open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to midnight. They accept all major credit cards, and do not accept reservations or call-ahead seating.

Visit their website, where you can see their entire menu, play games or go on a virtual tour of a restaurant, at www.buffalowildwings.com. Or, now that they’re here to stay, just drop in for some wings. 

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