Wings. Never has such a lowly ingredient been elevated to such an art form. Once Albany, New York kissed the flats and drumsticks with their signature vinegary sauce, football games, game nights, and family barbeques have never been the same.
While some big-name chains have made their mark on the wing nationwide, Northland wing lovers know there's one destination for the serious fan: Wings Cafe on Englewood Road. For the last eight years, Eze Redwood and his family have reimagined what chicken could be.
Redwood, whose family is originally from Arkansas, says that they went back home to learn the nuts and bolts of what makes a great wing.
"We went to this guy that was really like a pitmaster but for wings and tried to learn all that we could. He's retired now, but he was the best in the business," says Redwood.
Bringing that knowledge home, Redwood and his family created a menu that includes traditional favorites, but also offers creative sauces and dry rubs. There are 21 different sauces or dry rubs to choose from, ranging from Sweet Thai to Shanghai Bourbon to Firecracker. For the heat lovers, the Dynomite is the hottest on regular offer, but they are always fiddling around in the kitchen, coming up with new flavors. On a recent visit for curbside pickup, Redwood had to share some Cool Ranch Dorito-flavored wings. They didn't disappoint. Diners can choose the sauces and rubs on both bone-in and boneless wings, as well as chicken strips.
Wings Cafe doesn't stop at just wings, though. They also offer shrimp and southern fried fish. For sides, look for southern favorites like fried okra, mac and cheese, and hush puppies. Or if you want to go all-in, ask for the sweet potato fries drizzled with caramel marshmallow sauce. With perfectly soft sweet potato fries and decadent, this side could be an entree in and of itself.
The family has recently taken over the space where Mudhole BBQ was on North Oak and has turned it into Batch Country Kitchen & Que, which they are using as an incubator for new dishes that may appear at Wings Cafe. Redwood says that they will play with more country-fried goodness there, as well as barbecue.
Wings Cafe is clearly a fan favorite. They now have two locations after expanding to Westport a few years ago. And will there be more? Redwood and his team are taking it one day at a time right now. In the meantime, there are new sauces to dream up and new rubs to try. Check-in and see what they've cooked up this week. For a menu, visit TheWingsCafe.com.
516 NW Englewood Avenue
Kansas City, MO 64118