We were called “wing snobs” very recently by someone who had read our Native New Yorker article and didn’t particularly agree with our stance on their breaded wings (our stance is “fuck breaded wings” in case you missed it). Never mind the fact that WE called ourselves wing snobs in that very article, this fellow saw it fit to demean us by saying we were pretentious about hot wings; that is, he thinks we as writers try to impress you as readers by acting like we’re better than we really are or that we act like we have more importance than we truly possess.
The thing is, just how snobby can one be while their hands and face are drenched in hot sauce and they’re ripping chicken meat from the bone with their teeth? How much could we hope to impress anyone out there when we’re basically killing ourselves with cholesterol and liquor and getting fatter by the week just to make this thing happen? While Tyler and I like to call ourselves Wing Snobs in a self-deprecating manner, the fact is that we’re still just average shitheads who like wings and beer, as I would imagine you all do…at least, I hope you like wings and beer. Otherwise, why are you reading this? Are you stalking me? Are you that guy that keeps taking pictures outside my window while I’m changing and mailing me the Polaroids with a lock of your hair and a note that says “Let’s have a tea party”? …I’m sorry, it’s been a weird week.
My point is that we’re not being pretentious, because that would indicate that we’re trying to impress you and it’s quite the opposite. It’s not that we’ve gotten the equivalent of a Harvard education in Buffalo Wings and we’re trying to talk down to you all while we teach you about them. It’s that we’ve trekked to the Hot Wing Nepal to seek Buffalo-enlightenment and come back spiritually awakened, and now we’re out to spread the good word about how much better your wing-life could be if you too followed the ways of the Spicy Chicken Buddha.
WhyDidIEatThis.com tends to get a lot of suggestions from people on where to find quality buffalo wings, and we never refuse a suggestion. You suggest it, we put it right on the list. This one in particular was suggested by my friend Jason, who swore that these wings were the best in the city. While I took that claim with a grain of salt, I put NYPD Pizza on the list and we finally found our way to this place. I was amped because I had just watched Predator on Blu-Ray the night before.
Tyler was late to arrive because there was an accident on the freeway or some crap, I don’t know. That’s no excuse – those cars are already wrecked, what are you going to do…unwreck them? Drive around those shitty drivers and their busted cars and get your ass to the wings! While I waited for the flat to my drummette to arrive, I ordered a beer from the chatty but friendly bartender in NYPD Pizza’s little bar area. First thing I noticed was that they keep this place pristine, it looked as new as the workout equipment in my house, and it was decorated with random ’30s movie memorabilia to lend it an old-school feel.
For a relatively small bar area and restaurant, I was impressed at the list of beers they had on tap. Local favorites like Sleepy Dog Red Rover and San Tan Hopshock were complimented with some Full Sail and New Belgium beers, Blue Moon and Stella, and of course your standard Coors Light and Bud Light. Local and domestics were $2/pint and premium beers were $3 during happy hour, which is a pretty good deal considering it’s a fucking chain pizza shop in a strip mall. Hell, that’d be a good price if they were a bar on Mill Ave.
Ol’ Jason, ol’ sport, he told me that he found NYPD Pizza’s Hells Kitchen wings (their version of a suicide wing) to be the best suicide around. His argument was that it was less outright “spicy” which he claims he cannot handle any longer in his old age (being 29 and obviously in the twilight of his life) and more “peppery”, whatever the fuck that meant. I don’t know if he meant that it literally had more black pepper, or cayenne, or if it was a specific type of hot pepper, or if he was just saying things randomly, but I didn’t care. Tyler and I were about to find out what all the hub-bub was about. While Tyler and I waxed philosophical about wings and Wingstock (which happened two days after we went to NYPD Pizza), the bartender found himself in our conversation an awful lot. We didn’t really care, the more the merrier and since we talk about a lot of really messed up stuff we figure if you want to jump in then go right ahead at your own risk.
He told us the Hell’s Kitchen wings were his favorite, and we let him know we were doing a hot wing review. He went on and on about how great the wings were, he really did. He kept asking everyone how old they thought he was, which was a surefire sign that he’s obviously a lot older than he thinks he looks. I could tell by the thinning hair that he wasn’t “just starting college” like he said people assume, unless that college was Gateway Online to get a vet tech license. I’m talking way too much shit, the guy was pretty cool and a good bartender, just mouthy as all hell. At any rate, we ordered a dozen hot wings and a dozen Hell’s Kitchen wings.
Unstoppable Mouth Man, pour us two more dirt cheap pints while we wait please.
Beerpour McChattington brought us the wings himself, and we sat there, in silence and in awe. A bartender and a friend with a penchant for the food-dramatics telling us these wings were good didn’t do much to dispel the weird and wary feeling that we were about to repeat Rino D’s. That old addage about books and their covers (what was it? Don’t bang a book without wearing a cover? Is that what my mom always told me? This may explain a lot about the failures in my sex life up to this point), it held true for NYPD Pizza. These wings were colossal.
No shit, these pushed NY Boyz for biggest wings we’ve had. If The Vine wings were that little twerp Hawkins from Predator who wore glasses and told shitty jokes and got murdered really quickly, then NY Boyz was Arnold Schwarzenegger and NYPD Pizza was Jesse Ventura holding the minigun, as far as size was concerned. They looked incredibly badass. We needed to see if the comparison held. While NY Boyzchenegger outlasted all others and survived as the champion, would eating the Jesse VeNYPD-Pizzatura wings make us into godflanced sexual tyrannosaurs?
Almost. These wings were so big that only a literal master of the wing-craft could cook them perfectly. As-is, they were cooked really well, but the size proved prohibitive to the consistency of the texture across both dozens. Some wings were extra crispy, some wings were much less so. Nothing was soggy, but there’s some sort of magical method for making wings this big cook evenly and NYPD Pizza hasn’t quite got it down. Close, but not quite.
The sauces were good. The hot was fairly traditional and vinegar based. We actually both ended up liking that one quite a bit, though it didn’t stand up to The Vine or even Zipps’ hot sauces for flavor or heat. The Hell’s Kitchen though…ehh. It wasn’t bad. Really, it was unique amongst “suicide” flavors. It was even…peppery? I don’t know how, but that term works (FLANCE YOU JASON). The taste of actual chili peppers came through, even if a lot of it was jalapeno. It was fresh, it was well-crafted for what they were going for, but it was missing some element of both heat and depth that I couldn’t quite place. It wasn’t blazing hot, but it did have heat and my nose even ran a little.
We devoured these wings. Despite the few criticisms I lobbed at NYPD Pizza’s wings, the fact is that I’d take these over more than half the wings we’ve eaten in our time as wing snobs. I just compared these wings to Blaine from Predator (Jesse Ventura) and put them up against NY Boyz for the size crown…these were damn good wings.
It was weird, the atmosphere wasn’t at all “sports bar and hot wings” and normally I feel weird when a little strip mall restaurant has a tiny bar. It’s usually unused, or if you’re there you look like a drunk or some single, lonely traveler trying to kill time. NYPD Pizza’s bar didn’t feel like that at all, and that’s a credit to the management for making it feel well-used and inviting without making it scuzzy or cheesy.
Chatty Cathy the Bartender knew his beer and never left a glass empty for long. The cleanliness and friendliness of the entire staff was impressive. We walked away feeling like we got more than our money’s worth, that’s for damn sure.
In the end, Blaine from Predator was a great comparison for NYPD Pizza. Huge, massive, memorable, but couldn’t quite survive against the best out there and ultimately died at the hands of a camouflaged alien in the jungle (err…whatever). We had a few more pints and ultimately had to call it a night since we were heading to Wingstock in two days and wanted to save some of our intestinal fortitude for that.
Luckily, we were satisfied with some awesome wings and cheap beers, and managed to escape with no tales of sogginess nor mediocrity. We got out of the jungle.
2580 W Chandler Blvd
Chandler, AZ 85224
Sampled April 5th, 2012