Mild or Hot, Chicken Wings are a Metro Detroit Favorite

By: Karen Dybis | November 3, 2021

Wings from Detroit's Sweetwater Taven

They’re small, they’re flavorful and they’re addictive to eat: Chicken wings are a Metro Detroit favorite, and there are countless establishments offering a well-balanced sauce, impressive wing size and lots of accompaniments to complete your meal. 

Chicken wings are a mainstay at a variety of restaurants, provide a great addition to seasonal activities and are often featured at special events, including the Super Bowl and that time-honored tradition of Thanksgiving dinner. No matter the time or place, Americans have made chicken wings a celebratory staple.

According to culinary historians, chicken wings are actually a newer trend. At first, people were just looking for a way to use the chicken in its entirety. Eventually, they caught on, gaining traction as comfort food and prompting a sort of wingflation, increasing the price as popularity skyrocketed. 

Some say the first chicken wings were served to appreciative audiences at the Anchor Bar – the one in Buffalo, NY, (not downtown Detroit) — That 1964 innovation brought wings into the main arena of bar food, establishing the connection between wings, sports and good times. 

Retrospectively, the wing’s success was inevitable. They’re meaty, covered in your favorite sauce and undeniably fun to eat. That’s all the reason you need to grab a bunch of friends and hit the town in pursuit of Metro Detroit’s ultimate chicken wings.

Fairway Bar & Grill

Eastpointe’s Fairway calls itself a “friendly neighborhood bar,” but anyone who has a soul to love chicken wings knows they are the experts. Make sure you follow its social media so you can get your wings at 50 cents a pop or get involved in one of its hot-wing contests. Talk about bragging rights! 

City Wings

Detroit’s wing lovers know this is the spot to go because of its 17 different flavors selections. City Wings describes its wings as “delectable,” and for good reason. It only uses Amish chickens that are not factory farmed for its wings and all of its rubs are made in-house. All of the recipes also come from the family and it uses mostly organic ingredients across the board. 

Detroit Wing Company

The best part of this franchise is its multiple locations so you are never far from its chicken wings. The Detroit Wing Company focuses on quality, preservative and artificial-flavoring-free ingredients for the most natural, good-for-you (kinda)  wings. Its menu is made entirely from scratch and features 19 signature sauces at all 12 Metro Detroit locations. 

Union Woodshop

This Clarkston-based restaurant has earned its reputation through delicious, smoky flavors and impressive work with meats ranging from pork butt to brisket to spare ribs. But its chicken –especially the wings — are what land rave reviews across the board. Its house-smoked chicken wings are “served “big and naked” with your choice of sauces right there at the table. One local favorite is the Nashville hot style – but don’t worry, it comes with a buttermilk blue cheese and celery to mitigate the kick. 

Sweetwater Tavern

This Detroit institution is housed within one of the oldest buildings in the city but it has an equally long history of serving amazing wings (well, not quite as long). Sweetwater offers one sauce and one only. When you got something good, don’t mess with it. There is a reason why this restaurant serves one of Michigan’s best wings. It’s spicy but with the perfect level of heat.