The folks that run Wingstock recently referred to us as the Phoenix wing experts. Pretty quick after that someone let us know they did not feel the same. Their reason being that we think Native New Yorker is one of the worst wing places (we don’t actually, we consider them pretty average) and we should have them ranked number one because they are the most popular and therefore they are the best.
While their appeal to popularity argument may be a fallacy it does bring up an interesting question: Are we out of touch with the average Phoenix wing eater?
To be fair, our own views on the best wings have changed a lot as we toured the Valley going to every dive bar, pizza joint, and wing spot we could find. Native New Yorker was actually my regular go-to place before we began all of this.
I have to believe, though, that most people would have a similar experience as I did and they are picking Native New Yorker as their favorite because they haven’t been exposed to better wings rather than because they have tried them all and they hold Native up as truly the best. Native New Yorker wings are not terrible, and if you are comparing them to Buffalo Wild Wings or a similar chain they are going to look pretty damn good. They just can’t hold their own with the best of local hot wings. You know, like how Pizza Hut would look pretty damn good when compared with a Totino’s frozen pizza but it isn’t going to fare very well if you compare it with Pizzeria Bianco.
Long Wong's Famous Wings
Long Wong’s is legendary in the Phoenix hot wing scene. Seriously, ask anyone around the Valley about where to get wings and about half of the conversations are going to end featuring some incarnation of Long Wong’s or another. When we initially set out to do a hot wing review blog I didn’t think we would ever find anything that could touch Long Wong’s. (Ha, the end of that sentence is kind of funny taken out of context.) As far as I was concerned Long Wong’s was the epitome of Phoenix hot wings.
The original that started it all was the Mill Avenue location in downtown Tempe. This dingy club was the heart of the local Tempe music scene in the 90’s. This was the place where the Gin Blossoms started to make a name for themselves and a shitload of other local bands got their 15 minutes of fame. At the time this was the ultimate place to go enjoy a show. The fact that you could get shitfaced and enjoy some of the best wings Phoenix has ever produced just solidified this place as the transcendent wing spot that every other place in town aims to be.
WINGSTOCK 2012, or How I Quit Caring About My Waistline
In 2011, the good folks from the City of Mesa along with a few notable wing restaurants got together and made the first annual Wingstock event, combining hot wings, live music, beer and the great outdoors into one buffalo wing lover’s wet dream. While we didn’t get to attend the first one, we realized that the fellows of whydidieatthis.com needed desperately to get to Wingstock 2012 and see what all the fuss was about. It should be mentioned that we first learned of the existence of Wingstock from visiting NY Boyz Subz & Wingz, where we viewed the trophy they won for being King of Wings 2011, a title we absolutely could not dispute.
We took our spouses and made the trek to the Mesa Amphitheater, grabbed our media passes (thanks again to the City of Mesa for allowing us the access) and went in pursuit of wingly goodness. Here are our impressions of Wingstock 2012. Enjoy!