Buffalo Wild Wings beckons hungry sports fans

  • Wed Jun 6th, 2012 4:11pm
  • Life

By Jackson Holtz Herald Writer

LYNNWOOD — Scoring a table quickly at Buffalo Wild Wings Grill &Bar, a national restaurant chain that recently opened its first Snohomish County location, was nearly as exciting as watching the Seattle SuperSonics, er, the Oklahoma City Thunder, eliminate the Lakers from the NBA playoffs. Good thing I didn’t have to worry about a TV remote while licking spicy sauce from my fingers.

Getting seated immediately is unusual at this popular spot. Watching sports on one of the 69 televisions mounted around the three dining rooms is unavoidable.

On the various screens simultaneously were two baseball games, a hockey playoff, the basketball game, a poker tournament and sports commentary. Buffalo Wild Wings chooses one game to broadcast over the stereo system loud enough that it’s like being in the arena.

If that’s not enough sensory stimulation, one of the 16 different barbecue sauces (14 sauces are signature blends) likely will tickle your taste buds — or set them on fire.

Started in 1981 by a couple of guys looking to replicate authentic Buffalo, N.Y.-style chicken wings, the company is now one of the 10 fastest-growing chains nationally. Buffalo wings typically are coated in a spicy, cayenne-laden sauce then served with celery and carrots sticks to cool the heat.

The Lynnwood restaurant, which opened in April, is just the third to open in Washington, behind Vancouver and Tacoma. Already it’s a sensation for wings and more.

Steroids may be banned in baseball, but not among restaurant designers. This place is juiced.

In addition to TVs, the walls are decorated with sports memorabilia. The servers wear football jerseys and there is bustle everywhere.

The vast menu includes wings — both traditional and boneless — plus load of appetizers, ribs, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads and an eight-choice kids menu.

Entrees run about $10 and $5 for kids. Traditional bone-in wings come many sizes: six ($5.69), 12 ($10.29), 18 ($14.59), 24 ($17.49) or 50 ($34.99); boneless “wings,” which our server recommended against, are eight ($7.79), 12 ($10.49), 18 ($14.79), 24 ($18.79) and 50 ($35.99).

We started with a half-dozen traditional wings glazed with the honey barbecue sauce. This was my favorite sauce of the evening, packing a bit of heat and a good blend of flavors. The wings came in paper trays with extra napkins, ranch dressing and just three (!) carrot sticks.

For dinner we ordered the ribs and popcorn shrimp ($14.29) with onion rings instead of fries. But even though we were there at 6:30 p.m., the kitchen already had run out of ribs. Instead, we tried the chicken tenders and popcorn shrimp ($13.59).

When the dinner arrived, the onion rings came as a side dish and the meal included the fries. Our exasperated waitress assured us we wouldn’t be charged extra — we still paid a $.99 upgrade — and explained the confusion was a result of a slammed kitchen. (She later told us the place is usually much, much busier.)

We also ordered the pulled pork sandwich ($9.89).

Everything comes with a choice of the many sauces. We tried several and found most to be salty and slightly artificial-tasting, which was unfortunate as everything needed sauce to kick it up.

The fried food was OK, better than most out-of-the-freezer-into-the-frier, but not great. The pulled pork had flavor but was dry. I liked the chicken tenders, which were several levels above a McNugget, but the popcorn shrimp were nothing to rave about.

Desserts include a choice of cake, ice cream or frozen pies. We tried a piece of frozen Snickers pie ($3.79), which helped cool the many spices and flavors that coated my mouth.

There’s no question that Buffalo Wild Wings will become a staple favorite for many people, especially when big games are being broadcast.

The place scored a run with the wings, but we assigned it an error for running out of ribs and the confusion in ordering. But, it’s a long season and in the end, Buffalo Wild Wings’ batting average will improve.

Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3447; jholtz@heraldnet.com.

Buffalo Wild Wings Grill &Bar

18508 33rd Ave. W, Lynnwood; 425-672-8029; www.buffalowildwings.com.

Specialty: Chicken wings.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday.

Price range: Moderate.

Liquor: Full bar, lots of beers on tap.

Vegetarian options: Limited.