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The Perfect Wing Order, According to Atlanta

Atlanta loves wings.

Clay's Sports Cafe - Wings | Photo: Yelp
Clay’s Sports Cafe – Wings | Photo: Yelp

This is as obvious a statement as “Adele is good at singing,” or “the Falcons are a heartbreaking franchise to root for,” but it’s quite clear to anybody in Atlanta that wings are held on a pedestal of their own.

And, like anything that’s universally beloved, people have STRONG opinions about them. 

A few weeks ago, we published an article about the background and significance of lemon pepper wings in Atlanta. While writing it, I reached out to so many different ATLiens for their thoughts on lemon pepper wings, and got so much feedback on other aspects of wing-eating that I was only able to use a fraction of it.

So, rather than let this juicy data sit in the vault, I wanted to share it with you.

Here are some of our findings:

Best flavors

While many hear “wing” and immediately assume buffalo, the results clearly say otherwise for the fine people of Atlanta.

As you can see, there’s a wide swath of responses. After cleaning up some of the data, here’s what we found:

38% of all submissions listed some form of lemon pepper (lemon pepper, lemon pepper wet, honey lemon pepper, etc.) as their favorite wing flavor, which probably comes as no surprise to anybody with a read on the pulse here.

28% listed something with Hot or Buffalo as theirs. Only about 1% put Medium or Mild, which is deeply discouraged down here in HOTlanta (I’m sorry, I know we never use this forbidden name).

Other popular responses include some variation of Honey (16%), Garlic (7%), and BBQ (4%). The oddly vague “Sauce” made up over 7% of responses, so clearly you folks aren’t picky.

Best spots

This chaotic pie chart looks more like an avant garde art piece than a visual representation of data, but it’s fitting considering how many beloved wing places there are around town, ranging from chains to literal holes in the wall. 

Interestingly, the two most common responses are single-location restaurants. The Local and their fall-off-the-bone smoked wings in Poncey-Highlands led the list with 15% of the vote, followed by Clay’s Sports Cafe (with the largest wings in town, per my qualified assessment) in Sandy Springs with 10%

Other common submissions were the regional chain Three Dollar Cafe with 7%, local favorites J.R. Cricket’s and B&L Wings each with 4%, and larger chains Taco Mac and American Deli each with 3%

As you can probably deduce from the chart, there were just so many responses that it would be downright excessive to list them all, so here are a few you can add to your rolodex:

Fox Bros - Wings | Photo: Justin Fox
Fox Bros – Wings | Photo: Justin Fox

Bleu Cheese or Ranch

This is a frequent cause of consternation among many groups sharing big orders. Which sauce to get?!

I personally choose bleu cheese with the saltier lemon pepper and buffalo flavors, but ranch with everything else (teriyaki, jerk, smoked, etc.). This is likely not the norm (I fully acknowledge my neuroticism), and most of you were able to choose between one or the other. 

After a tight horse race, ranch barely takes home the prize with 54% of the vote. 

Carrots or Celery

Yes, we all really want fries but it’s traditional to pair it with something light and crunchy, like carrots and/or celery, which is a great excuse to say you ate your veggies. 

When faced with choosing one or the other, 59% of the people went with celery and only 41% picked carrots. Luckily, plenty of wing joints give you both so you can have your cake and eat it too!

How many wings?

Most places offer multiples of 6 or 10, but there’s no shame in ordering seconds. There’s slightly more shame in leaving wings uneaten.

If you had your pick of a portion size, most of you would order 10 wings. Not only did over 30% of our respondents put this amount, but the average number was 10 (10.37 to be exact, but technology has not advanced to allow for 0.37 of a wing…yet).

We got responses ranging from 3 (sheesh) to 100 (sheeeeeeesh!), so some of y’all probably shouldn’t split an order with each other.

STATS garlic parmesan wings

The Perfect Order 

If we were to combine each result of the surveys, we’d end up with:

A 10-pack of lemon pepper from The Local with a side of celery and ranch. 

The Local - Buffalo and Lemon Pepper Wings | Photo: Yelp
The Local – Buffalo and Lemon Pepper Wings | Photo: Yelp

There’s nothing outwardly surprising here, but what makes wings so great is that, despite what the analytics may suggest, there is no perfect order. 

Sometimes you’re fiending for something spicy…other times you want to cool off with something sweet and mild. 

Maybe you only want to eat a few…or maybe your hunger can’t be satiated by anything less than a dozen.

Whether you’re opting for ranch or bleu cheese and carrots or celery, and no matter where you’re getting them from, it’s nearly impossible to mess up your order.

No matter what you get, you’re in for a good time.

Looking for more wing content? Check out “Why Lemon Pepper Reigns Supreme in Atlanta” and “Steak Shapiro’s Top 12 Wing Spots In Atlanta!”

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