I have been to the Avonia Tavern once before, but it was for pizza, and that was over a year ago. It was time for a return visit, but this time, I’d be trying their chicken wings. I was joined by friends Brandon Sease and Katie Winterhoff. I picked them up around 6:30 on Monday night and we made our way out to Fairview.
There wasn’t much of a crowd, so we found our way to a booth next to the pool table, which gave us something to do while we waited. Our server, Michelle, was at our table taking our drink order in no time. We took a few minutes to look over the choices of wing flavors. I decided to let Brandon and Katie each select a wing flavor, and I would let the server choose the other two. Brandon is a fan of super hot food so he picked the Extra Hot. Katie went a different route and went with the milder Ranch flavor. Michelle informed me that the Carolina Kickers are the most popular and also that the Bang Bang wing is a fan favorite. With the choices made, Michelle took our order to the kitchen.
The wings came out in about 15 minutes, which was good, because we were hungry. I started with the mildest flavor, Ranch, and worked my way up. It’s hard to mess up dry ranch flavoring, honestly, but it is made significantly better by a perfectly cooked wing. They were crispy and had a great, even coating of the seasoning. The tang provided by the buttermilk is my favorite part of Ranch wings and these really got us off to a good start.
I moved next to the Bang Bang. This sauce, which is on the creamier side, seemed to be mayonnaise-based with some orange juice and Asian spices. This wing had a sweet start, but finished with a little kick. The heat was barely noticeable until a few wings in. Even then, it was more of a flavor enhancer than a mouth burner. I was thinking this was going to be a little more on the zesty side, but it is a wing I would order again.
The Carolina Kicker is a wing I have had before. The sauce itself is a sweet, smoky barbecue sauce mixed with some of Avonia’s hot sauce just to add that extra heat layer. The wings are broiled instead of fried, so it really lets the sugars in the sauce caramelize and glaze over the wing. For the most part, these wings were also cooked perfectly. A few of them had a burnt spot or two, but it was easily overlooked because of how good the rest of the wing was.
Our final wing was the Extra Hot. These fell out of favor with all three of us in comparison to the other choices. Brandon and I both enjoy a good hot wing, but flavor needs to be first and foremost before heat. These wings were the exact opposite. The regular hot sauce contained very little flavor, and the extra hot is just sauced and then coated in Cajun spices. To us, these wings had very little flavor and were just an attempt to make the hottest wing they could make. If there was a way to get the flavor of the Carolina Kicker with the heat of the extra hot, that would be an amazing wing.
In comparison to other places I have been, these were some of the most expensive wings at $6.50 plus tax for 10; however, I do want to come back and try some of the other flavors. Thank you to Michelle for the great recommendations and service, and thank you to Brandon and Katie for joining me.
Until next time,
Andrew – Beard vs. Food