Everyone loves chicken wings. They are tender, little bundles of joy that are smothered in some outrageously delicious sauces, what’s not to love?
Now and again people will make them at home to have as a movie night snack or just a quick dinner, however if you want them done right you have to get them at a restaurant or dedicated bar.
Luckily, America is full of restaurants, and we have so many that you are spoiled for choice when it comes to service, food, and drinks.
With this in mind, we had a good think about the different places that do chicken wings and what each has to offer.
That is what led to this article, and today we will be discussing the best chain restaurant chicken wings and why the wings are so good in these places.
1. Buffalo Wild Wings
Starting off the list with a sports bar that breathes wings, it’s Buffalo Wild Wings.
Started by Jim Disbrow and Scott Lowery in 1982, the decision for the franchise was made when the pair searched for a place that sold Buffalo wings after Disbrow finished judging a skating competition.
Finding no suitable location, they decided they should make their own bar that serves a decent wing dish.
Over time the business exploded in popularity and became one of the most popular sports bars in the country with over 1200 locations in the United States in the modern day.
Considering that the entire restaurant chain was built due to spite from not being able to get actual good buffalo wings, you would expect that their wings are amazing – which they are.
Buffalo Wild Wings offers multiple different kinds of wings, including traditional wings, boneless wings, a combo of boneless and traditional wings, and they have even branched out into the vegetarian market with cauliflower wings.
Not only that, but the chain has realized that if you are offering wings, it does well to offer a lot of different sauces as well.
As such, there are a variety of sauces for you to try on your wings, like Caribbean Jerk (Often used in Caribbean dishes), Asian, and Salt and Vinegar. If you are looking for variety with a beer, then Buffalo Wild Wings is the place to go.
A fairly young chain, as it only came about in the mid 90s, but that hasn’t stopped Wingstop from making waves or becoming an instant favorite with many people.
Founded in Garland, Texas by Antonio Swad, Wingstop specializes in serving delicious chicken wings, while playing heavily into the aviation theme that it began with.
It has slowly grown over the years at a steady but continuous pace, with the first franchised location opening in 1997 and having served over 2 million wings by 2002.
Today, there are over 1400 Wingstop locations, and they are considered one of the perfect places to go to enjoy wings.
If you are looking for wings, then the options at Wingstop seem truly endless in scope.
Aside from choosing what kind of wing – for example, 70 cent boneless wings, wings by the piece, Wingstop tenders, wing group packs and many more – you can choose any flavor you truly want.
From Italian based flavors to the smoky deep southern flavor to heavily spiced wings, they are all there – though a personal favorite of ours is definitely the Louisiana Rub.
These wings are offered to you with different kinds of dips, and you mix and match your wings to your preferred dip – like how about trying lemon pepper with honey mustard?
Finally, you can also get your order with fries, veggie sticks, and a fountain drink to wash the whole delicious affair down.
3. TGI Fridays
If you want a casual dining experience that can double up as a hangout, then TGI Fridays is the place for you.
Alan Stillman opened the first one in New York in 1965, but not with the purpose of creating a successful restaurant.
He instead hoped to create a bar where women and men could meet that were like the cocktail parties he went to in his youth.
The bar was incredibly successful, and its emphasis on good food meant that it would eventually lose its bar atmosphere and instead transition into a restaurant type of business.
In today’s world, there are over 800 TGI Fridays, and over 200 are in the United States.
TGI Fridays has its aesthetic down to a tee, and the wings are no different.
Among the many wings you can get – the traditional wings, boneless chicken wings, etc. – you can also get a wing’s roulette platter, which has multiple different kinds of wings with different flavors and sauces on it.
Each plate of wings comes with its own dipping sauce and celery sticks, you can even pick from a variety of different drinks to wash it down with or to get a little tipsy on.
Next, we have Applebees. Everyone loves an Applebees, but it isn’t exactly the place where you would expect to have amazing wings.
The restaurant was founded in 1980 by Bill and T.J Palmer in Atlanta, Georgia.
The idea was to create a restaurant with a ‘neighborhood pub feel’ that could ‘offer friendly service with quality fare at a lower price’. This doesn’t exactly set it up for amazing wings.
However, since that time, Applebees has grown into a business of over 1700 different locations and not only has its business size increased, but its menu and the variety of different foods on it have increased as well.
If you are excited about wings, then the two from Applebees that you should go for are the boneless wings or the double crunch bone-in wings.
They are both incredibly crispy and their breaded textures contrasts well with their tender interior. Having them with spicy, creamy buffalo sauce really completes the meal.
If you don’t fancy a buffalo sauce, that is okay as you can have them with Honey BBQ sauce, garlic Parmesan, sweet Asian chili, or honey pepper sauce, all of which create some beautiful flavors you have to try.
These two chicken wings are the most popular at Applebees, which is saying a lot for their flavor.
Heading back down to the southern parts of the United States, we have Zaxbys.
This restaurant was founded in Athens, Georgia, in 1990, after the founders, Zach McLeroy and Tony Townley, were inspired by a smaller chain from the area known as Guthrie’s, a chain that still exists to this day and still continues to make chicken dishes.
Since that time Zaxbys has grown to over 941 different locations throughout America, all specializing in different chicken products, sandwiches, and salads.
However, its most beloved products are definitely its wings and its Zaxby sauce.
At Zaxbys, they offer four different menu items for wings. These are the traditional chicken wings, boneless wings, the Chicken Fingerz, and the Buffalo Chicken Fingerz.
For each of these, you can choose what sauce you want your wings tossed in, with the chicken wings being served with ranch dipping sauce and the chicken fingers being served with the house Zax sauce.
To date, there are nine unique sauces that you can order at Zaxbys and with all the time and care they put into making sure that each piece of chicken tastes delicious, it should definitely be on the list of chicken restaurants you are ordering from.
Surprised? Trust us, we were too. However, Hooters makes some damn fine chicken wings. The restaurant was started in 1983 in Clearwater, Florida by six entrepreneurs in 1983.
The original six thought the venture would fail immediately, but sold the brand not a year later to Hugh Connerty who then sold it to Robert H. Brooks.
Since that time, Hooters has become a nationwide chain with over 430 restaurants, and it has continued to grow since.
While it is not the most family friendly restaurant and the policy towards the female employees isn’t amazing, the food is actually really good, especially their chicken wings.
At Hooters, there are six different menu options for chicken wings: original wings, boneless wings, Daytona wings, roasted wings, and smoked wings.
While most of these wings are self-explanatory, we will talk about the Naked and Daytona wings, as they are less obvious.
Naked wings remain completely unbreaded and Daytona wings are also unbreaded but are tossed in the Daytona sauce before they are put under the grill.
The roasted wings are heavily seasoned before they are over-roasted and then served with crispy but tender, which makes them the second favorite on the menu.
However, the best has to be the smoked wings. Before they are even cooked, they are marinated for 12 hours. Then, they are smoked over hickory chips, which gives them an ungodly taste.
7. Pizza Hut
Another surprising entry here, considering chicken is not really their forte. Pizza Hut is one of the largest restaurant chains in the world, with over 18,000 locations worldwide.
It was started by the brothers Dan and Frank Carney in Wichita, Kansas in 1958 from one tiny brick building and has exploded since then.
Considering that Pizza Hut is a chain known for their pizza, you would not expect them to be making excellent chicken wings.
However, this is simply not the case, with their wings being something that have become incredibly popular and are ordered regularly on the menu.
There are two options for chicken wings on the Pizza Hut menu: breaded boneless wings or bone-in chicken wings.
Both these wings consist of crunchy exteriors with incredibly soft interiors that make you understand why they are so popular.
There are 7 different sauces you can have your chicken tossed in, with our personal favorites being the honey BBQ and the Buffalo medium.
Not only that but you can choose either a lemon pepper or Cajun dry rub for the chicken and either blue cheese, ranch, garlic, honey BBQ, marinara, or buffalo dipping sauces.
Considering that this isn’t Pizza Hut’s specialty, they sincerely go all out.
8. Miller’s Ale House
Having one more entry for the sport’s bars on this list, we have Miller’s Ale House.
Founded in 1988 in Jupiter, Florida, by Jack Miller, the restaurant bar has continued to grow in both locations and popularity.
Today, they cover the whole state of Florida, but the chain has begun branching into other states as well, with some in Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, and others along the east coast.
There are really only three options for chicken at Miller’s Ale House, but they are both amazing. They are either the zingers, chicken tenders, or chicken wings.
The zingers are wonderful and have a beautiful fresh taste about them. The tenders are tender and tangy from being marinated in buttermilk.
And the wings are perfect, being cooked for just the right amount of time.
You can choose what sauce you want your wings tossed in out of four: teriyaki, honey BBQ, sweet Thai chili, or Caribbean jerk, and they are served to you with celery sticks and dipping sauces on the side.
Even though the premise of Miller’s is drinking, it still makes a mean set of Chicken wings.
Lastly, we have Chilis: a Tex-Mex food serving. Favorite of the dear people of America, Chilis has been an institution since its founding in Coppell, Texas in 1975 by Larry Lavine.
While many Tex-Mex stores existed through the US, none quite brought the fusion to the table like Chilis did.
Nowadays, there are over 1600 Chili’s locations throughout the US, and they have continued to grow at a rapid rate.
Chilis offers two types of chicken wing options: boneless wings or bone-in wings, but both are absolutely amazing in their own way.
Once chosen, the wings are tossed in either a BBQ, Buffalo, mango-habanero, or honey-chipotle sauce, before being served with celery sticks and a dipping sauce of your choosing.
What’s great about Chilis chicken wings is that you can pair the wings with a drink of your choice, which makes the flavor last longer and the wings feel like a more complete meal.
Want the buffalo wings? How about a blue cheese dipping sauce and sweet, refreshing mango iced tea to reset your palate.
The chicken wings are great, but the different pairings are what makes them at Chilis.
Getting chicken wings from a chain restaurant is easy, getting amazing chicken wings from a chain restaurant is a skill.
However, by following this list you are sure to find some chicken wings that not only taste perfect but that will have you coming back for more.