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Nominations for the Tour de Wings of Troy

July 11, 2013

There’s a lot of bickering in Troy about which place makes the best wings. I say The Ruck. Others insist it’s the Ale House. And then there are those who swear by the Towne Tavern (which isn’t even officially in Troy, but the wings are just that damn good).

Plenty of other places get mentioned as well, but these two locally famous taverns would be the clear incoming favorites.

I don’t care a lot for bickering, especially when something is so easily testable. So very soon, a few select readers of the FLB will be invited to participate in a tour of the five most promising Buffalo-style wing producers in the Collar City. But before we send them on their merry way to do God’s work, as usual, I’m going to open up the floor to nominations.

But before we go any further let me tell you about a remarkable woman. Meet Jessica R. Without her this summer savory tour would have been postponed until I returned from New Jersey. But she’s volunteered her time and energy to pull this together in my absence. Last night we conferred on some details at the opening of The Olde English’s back deck party. And continued to chat about food over the poutine special at The City Beer Hall.

Even though I gave her the chance to back out, she refused to take it.

So here’s how it’s going to work. Ten people will walk into a bar and they will get two orders of wings, medium. Medium should still have some heat to them. But they shouldn’t be adulterated with other ingredients to try and elevate them beyond the traditional Frank’s Red Hot and butter.

Each evaluator will endeavor to get one flat and one drummette, although if there isn’t an equal distribution of wing segments in the orders, this may prove impossible.

This is a Buffalo-style wing evaluation, so all other styles need not apply. Grilled wings are out. As are broiled ones. If the wings are smoked first, then they aren’t on this tour. There will be no peanut butter and jelly wings, jerk wings, garlic wings, barbecue wings nor any other kind of wings than Buffalo wings.

You may have noticed I said ten people. Much like the Tour de Mozz & Melba, this tour necessitates a very limited number of spots. And as a result, I will not be announcing it publicly. Instead I’ll be emailing a select list of commenters and past participants in these kinds of events.

I know, it sucks. But I’m hoping that someone will step up and agree or be the tour guide for a fall Tour de Cider Donut. I’m totally serious. Who is it going to be? Free free to email me if you are even remotely interested.

But back to the matter at hand.

There are far too many well regarded wing merchants in Troy to visit on one day. We’re capping the tour at five. So here’s your chance to weigh in and shape the path of the tour.

The Ruck and The Ale House are locked in. Jessica R. is running this show and she strongly believes that Bomber’s deserves a spot in this fight too. While I’m not a fan of their burritos, I am indeed a fan of their wings, so they are a lock too. That leaves two precious openings for a list of worthy contenders.

– Park Pub
– Brown’s
– Notty Pine Tavern
– The Flying Chicken
– Villa Valenti

And surely there are others. Jessica R. is not afraid to go across the river to the Purple Pub either if it means getting wings that are strong competitors to the Ale House or The Ruck.

Scoresheets will heavily weight scores for sauce, meat and skin. But we’ll also keep tabs of the dressing and the side of veg. While those last two items aren’t actually wings, they are part of the experience. And a really bad blue cheese dressing could potentially be the deal breaker between two neck and neck competitors.

We’ll just have to wait and see. But right now, we would like to hear what you think.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. July 11, 2013 9:10 am

    When you come back and do the Tour De ‘Peanut Butter and Jelly Wings’ . . count me in!

  2. July 11, 2013 9:20 am

    Now that they are in Troy, I want to throw Bombers in for consideration. Their wings are quite good. (Yes, they do have traditional Buffalo wings.)

    Also, for a split second I thought about volunteering to take on the Cider Donut tour, but I am training for an October half marathon and am also in a wedding in September, in addition to what is shaping up to be a very busy fall at work, so I shouldn’t bite off more than I can chew. (No pun intended.) But, count on me to be in attendance if it is not one of those weekends! Also happy to help drive. :)

    • July 13, 2013 10:19 pm

      I am re-reading this post not on my phone and feeling stupid, as clearly Bombers is already in there. SO, I am throwing in a vote of Not-Browns. Their wings are not even as close to being as good as some of the other contenders on this list. In fact, I find most of their offerings to be increasingly mediocre.

  3. Bill permalink
    July 11, 2013 9:32 am

    Wing tour? Count me in as a candidate.

  4. July 11, 2013 9:39 am

    Park Pub!

  5. July 11, 2013 10:43 am

    Don’t forget to include consistency in your ratings. Not sure how that can be done in a single night tour, but wings that are crispy one night, but soggy another or mouth-tinglingly hot one night and just medium on another visit all while ordering the same thing each time gets aggravating.

  6. -R. permalink
    July 11, 2013 10:52 am

    I think the Park Pub should definitely get the nod; the last contender should probably be someplace larger and more ‘mainstream’, perhaps Brown’s or even the Recovery Room. I certainly can’t fault the choice of The Purple Pub as a contender however.

  7. Michelle permalink
    July 11, 2013 10:58 am

    Finnbars has great wings! I could bathe in the blue cheese!

  8. July 11, 2013 11:53 am

    I actually don’t know too many good wing places anywhere, let alone just in Troy. The Ruck is a definite, obviously. Brown’s maybe isn’t a bad idea, just ’cause it’s probably the most well-known and popular of those options. Though I didn’t even know that the Flying Chicken had wings, and since they’re chicken-focused, one would hope they’d do anything chicken well.

  9. July 11, 2013 1:25 pm

    I don’t think a trip across the river is needed with all of the options in Troy. My suggestion for the five:

    The Ruck
    The Ale House
    Finnbar’s
    Park Pub
    Notty Pine

    Big nods also to Brown’s and Bombers as well, mainly because they have a big draw and can easily shadow other smaller or lesser known/frequented establishments; it’d be good to see how they stack up to what these other places are doing, at least wing-wise.

  10. July 11, 2013 3:30 pm

    As the precious other two I vote Park Pub and Notty Pine. I’m there if you want an AT rep present. I wonder if it’s worth doing a comparison study with each establishment’s medium and hot orders of wings?

  11. Jenny permalink
    July 11, 2013 3:44 pm

    Definitely the Park Pub. My family eats so many of their wings, I’ve got to know how they compare to the famous Ruck. I understand that Bomber’s is a favorite, but hardly a Troy institution like some of the others under consideration. I would go Park Pub, Notty Pine, Brown’s.

  12. July 12, 2013 9:48 am

    There’s quite a lively discussion on Yelp about Purple Pub and whether their wings are best or worse or even relevant. You and Jessica R should read that and also reach out to Miercoles on that board who has some somewhat strong opinions about food, to put it mildly.

  13. July 12, 2013 11:48 am

    Team Ale House and I’m very vocal about that. Still, I’d never shake a stick at a Ruck Wing. Park Pub is good for sure. Bombers has good wings, but I think they are better at lemon pepper and tequila wings than buffalo. In any event, please consider this my application for the tour. I eat wings like a girl, but I know what’s up :)

  14. July 12, 2013 1:07 pm

    How do I become part of this tour du wings in Troy?

  15. Jessica R permalink
    July 12, 2013 1:09 pm

    Hi everyone! Thank you for participating, and keep sending in your votes for where we should go! It looks like Park Pub is leading the pack, but the other spot is still up in the air (Brown’s and the Knotty Pine seem like the top contenders).

    I just wanted to give my thoughts on why I wanted to include Bomber’s. I agree they aren’t a Troy institution, and they don’t really need any more promotion that places like the Park Pub and Notty Pine might benefit from. However, they are known throughout the Albany area as having good wings. Previous FLB tours have spanned several towns, but Troy has such a high concentration of excellent choices that we can narrow down this tour geographically. However, since Bombers is new to town, I think we should include it as a representative of the rest of the region, if nothing else. That way, people in Albany and Schenectady will know either that Bomber’s is a good place to get wings in this region, or that they should skip Bomber’s and come to Troy for their wings! And people in Troy will know how the new Bomber’s stacks up to our beloved institutions.

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