While KC loves to boast about barbeque and beef, we have a strong poultry culture here. A poulture, if you will. Specifically, chicken wings. The Peanut is an institution and is deservedly at the top of the table, but there are plenty of other contenders throughout KC.
I’ll spare you the 800 words of worthless personal stories that usually precede articles like this.
I now declare myself “The Wing King of Kansas City” and temporarily retire “The Wade Boggs of Dinner Rolls” moniker for the duration of this column. Enjoy.
10. The Peanut (not on Main)
You can’t replace the original. The wing sauce is consistently incredible, but the quality doesn’t hold up anywhere outside Main St. Wings gotta be crispy, not slippery. The sauce is still top notch.
Wing King sez: Double fried, double sauce.
9. Martin City Brewing Company
Talk about a place overall that just doesn’t get the shine it deserves in KC. Great pizzas, tasty microbrews, PHENOMENAL appetizers. They do wings right. Crunchy, crispy, slathered in sauce.
Wing King sez: Pretzels, Easy Way IPA, wings + fig and prosciutto pizza. Professional order.
8. Jack Stack
KC’s best corporate BBQ also pumps out the best smoked wings in the land. Seared over woodfire, coated with a sweet and spicy rub. A nice, light starter before slamming a pound of burnt ends and cheesy corn.
Wing King sez: Don’t shy away from seafood just because it’s a BBQ joint. Smoked salmon dip. Mama. Tank 7 to wash it down.
Grinders famously almost ruined the 2019 Chiefs home opener for me. I am a fan of spicy. The hotter the better. This gringo loves his curry Thai hot and his wings hotter than hell. Do not, under any circumstance, order the “death nectar” wings from Grinders. Just don’t do it. Otherwise, solid wing spot in the Crossroads that has not disappointed me outside of that one time when they tried to turn my chute into a lava tube.
Wing King sez: Like I said, don’t order the death nectar.
6. Taps on Main
Self serve beer taps? I’m in. 50-year old secret family wing sauce recipe? Load me up. The Towanda Wings at TOM are probably the most underrated food in Downtown KC.
Wing King sez: Pair it with a City Barrel Rad AF juicy IPA. Wonderful.
The closest to replicating The Peanut’s sauce in the city. Crispy perfection and served with an incredible herb-y ranch dressing. Pair it with a Stockyards (add cream cheese and jalapenos) meat lovers pizza, you’re living good.
Wing King sez: Get an extra side of ranch. They are known to skimp.
4. The Brooksider
The most underrated bar food in KC is Bside’s dry rub wings. Take a journey with me into the unconventional. Cooked on a grill and finished in a pizza oven, doused in a spicy blackened rub. Perfection.
Wing King sez: Order with jalapeno ranch.
3. Al’s Bar & Grill
I have long maintained that the Northland is KC’s hidden culinary gem. Cascone’s, Garozzo’s, Champion Burrito To Go, Longboards, In-a-Tub. All elite. They’re also home to what I would consider on some days to be the best chicken wings in KC, not just north of the river. Absolute perfection.
Wing King Sez: A dozen hot and Busch Light bottle.
2. The Peanut On Main
A deep, dark rat hole full of drinkers that slings a small menu out of a deep fryer like nobody’s business since 1933. It’s the king of dive bars. Unfortunately, this isn’t a dive bars list. It’s a chicken wings list. They’re the gold standard in KC, but consistency has been an issue the last couple times I’ve been there. There is simply no substitute for the OG.
Wing King sez: Extra crispy, double sauced, extra bleu cheese, chili cheese fries on the side. Try the BLT. NEVER use the front door to enter or leave.
- Wings Cafe in Westport
A shocker at the top. An all-time upset. I can’t even be bothered that they charge for carrots and celery. Not in the slightest. As the #1 spicy boy in KC, they take home the crown for one reason: their dynamite sauce is the best spicy sauce I’ve ever had. A vinegary, spicy sauce with subtle smoky flavor. It’s indescribable even though I just described it. The Wing King’s King of Wings.
Wing King sez: Half dynamite, half hot buffalo, extra ranch.
Did I get it right or did I get it right? Think I’m not right? Tell me in the comments or shoot me a tweet @BrianMcGannon.