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A steel bowl full of chicken wings.
The wings at Joker’s Cajun Smokehouse.
Joker’s Cajun Smokehouse

Where to Eat Chicken Wings in Chicago

Chicken wings for all tastes and occasions

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The wings at Joker’s Cajun Smokehouse.
| Joker’s Cajun Smokehouse

Chicagoans love their chicken wings no matter the season. Korean, Buffalo, jerk, and more — there's a great variety to pluck from all across the city. There are chicken wing shacks, barbecues, and fine dining restaurants which all respect the power of the wing.

Whether wing lovers need sustenance for a streaming binge or watching a big game, this list has plenty to offer. Many would argue that a wing is just a vehicle for a great sauce, but there’s more to it. Wing size is something to keep an eye on, as some once-great chicken joints cut corners and switched to skimpy wings.

  • The January 2022 update added Bayan Ko, Dr. Bird’s, Joker’s Cajun Smokehouse, Bronzeville Wingz, Timothy O’Toole’s, and Virtue for new blood, Landbirds and Nita’s Gumbo were removed due to closures. Table, Donkey & Stick no longer offers wings, while Perilla, Chicago Wings Around the World, and Chiya Chai make way for new additions.

As of January 3, the city has mandated that those ages 5 and up be fully vaccinated and masked at public places indoors while not actively eating or drinking. For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Uncle Remus Saucy Fried Chicken

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Uncle Remus has three locations in the city and another in the suburbs. Its wings are crispy and batter-fried, then smothered with a tangy and spicy sauce.

A plate of sauce-covered chicken wings
Uncle Remus’ sauce is tangy and spicy.
Uncle Remus [Official Photo]

Great Sea Restaurant

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While seemingly everyone is going crazy for Southeast Asian-style wings, Great Sea has been serving tangy and sweet drumettes for decades. Despite the restaurant’s sale, new ownership has carried over the deliciousness and copied the techniques from Great Sea’s founders. Grabbing a bottle of sauce for the road is popular here. The restaurant relocated to a building across the street from the original space in April.

Joker's Cajun Smokehouse

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The smoker that once belonged to Bo Fowler’s Fat Willy’s Rib Shack in Logan Square has been put to good use. Joker’s Cajun Smokehouse offers a unique spin on barbecue by adding a little bit of heat to the smoked meat genre. The cooks demonstrate this in their dry-rubbed and smoked wings. Moist and highly addicting, these wings are one of the best new offerings in town. Wings are only available in Logan Square, not at the new Chicago’s French Market location.

Joker’s Cajun Smokehouse
Joker’s Cajun Smokehouse

The Fifty/50

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Wicker Park’s venerable sports bar keeps on going, even as the neighborhood goes increasingly family friendly. It’s all about the wings here, available in traditional fried or smoked. There’s a variety of sauces, but the “OG Buffalo” is the best.

A plate of Buffalo wings with celery and carrots and ramekins of ranch dressing.
Fifty/50’s chicken wings come fried or smoked
Sarah Zelman/Fifty/50 Restaurant Group

Jerk seasoning can be a gimmick when not executed well. There are no gimmicks at Soule in West Town, where a compact menu produces tangy collards, fried or blackened catfish, and some of the best shrimp and grits in the city. The jerk wings are also flavorful with nice hints of clove and nutmeg that give way to a little heat.

Bayan Ko

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While some publications may describe Filipino food as a trend, Bayan Ko — the Filipino and Cuban hybrid in Lincoln Square — proves there’s nothing fleeting about heritage. Lawrence Letrero and Raquel Quadreny have melded island cultures at this tiny spot near the Montrose Brown Line. Chef Letrero’s wings are sticky with a finger-licking worthy adobo glaze. The chicken is succulent and perfectly cooked. They’re also doing a special calamansi variant for the Super Bowl.

The variety of wings at Output puts most spots to shame, with unique sauce flavors like lemon pepper and roasted garlic barbecue. It’s right near the United Center in West Town. There’s also a location close to Wrigley Field.

Dr. Bird's

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According to legend, Buffalo wings originated at the Anchor Bar, a restaurant in Buffalo, New York. Dr. Bird’s, a Jamaican restaurant off the Polish Triangle in Noble Square, opened its first location in Buffalo, but their wings aren’t the traditional type. These juicy morsels of meats are jerk rubbed and smoked with hickory. The taste is subtle and aromatic. The wings come full-sized, making them a two-handed affair.

Beck's Chicago

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The owner of Toon’s in Lakeview opened another bar at the intersection of Clybourn and Webster, next to deep-dish saviors Pequod’s. It would be a power move to order a pizza from Pequod’s and wings from Beck’s, as ownership brought over the same Buffalo wings to Lincoln Park. The sauce has just enough stickiness and the wings are fried to perfection. The bar has a patio, but the wings are also available for carryout.

HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen

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HaiSous and the more casual Cà Phê Đá next door both serve these terrific crispy wings which come on a bed of rice. They’re kept whole and coated with a sticky glaze that packs some umami thanks to the fish sauce. Aromatic herbs augment the experience and there’s the fun of tearing the wings in half.

Phlavz Bar & Grille

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Phlavz started as a jerk chicken truck, then graduated to restaurant status in University Village. The wings have great flavor (it’s a little disappointing that they’re so tiny: ownership should work on that) and are blackened with that familiar jerk seasoning. The jerk sauce on the side is a secret weapon: sweet, tart, and with a touch of heat. These are quality chicken wings.

Wings with fries in a checkered wrapped basket.
Phlavz’s chicken wings
Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

Crisp introduced Korean-style wings to a larger audience in Chicago, and there's great satisfaction in ripping into a massive “Seoul Sassy” wing that's neither too spicy nor sticky. These are full wings that aren’t separated. The same wings are served at the sibling hot dog stand in Ravenswood, Budacki’s.

View this post on Instagram

Thanks for the photo @renemarban !

A post shared by CRISP (@crispchicago) on

Del Seoul

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Del Seoul isn't just about Korean tacos. Ownership doubled down when they added wings to their menu, which have a mild garlic-and-ginger glaze that makes them a winner. They’re served lollipop style.

Need a real crowd pleaser for Sunday’s big game? Here you go. Now taking orders for our famous K-town wings! 773-248-4227 : @ardellski

Posted by Del Seoul - Chicago on Thursday, January 30, 2020

Bonchon

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Bonchon, a cult favorite Korean chicken wing chain, arrived in Chicago and brought long lines to Chinatown. The restaurant features wings with a soy glaze that aren't very messy. It's not the spiciest wing, but there's tons of flavor. There are also locations in Wicker Park and suburban Glenview.

Sauwze gang.

Posted by Bonchon on Friday, December 6, 2019

Jake Melnick's Corner Tap

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Levy Restaurants broke the code for chicken wings years ago when they opened Jake Melnick's with a very traditional take on the Buffalo wing. It still remains extremely popular — especially for its wings — which come in nine flavors including “PB&J” and the “XXX” which are advertised as the “world’s hottest.”

Bring on the wings & bloodies and watch the Big Game today at Jake’s

Posted by Jake Melnick's Corner Tap on Sunday, January 26, 2020

Bronzeville Wingz

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Lemon pepper wings are among the more than 30 sauce options at this wing specialists. This Black woman-owned restaurant serves battered or naked wings. The Gold Butter options is among the more unique sauce choices. Prepare to wait on busy days.

Timothy O'Toole's Pub Chicago

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This Chicago sports bar has been around since 1992 in Streeterville, meaning the Bears fans have had only one Super Bowl appearance to celebrate since the bar’s been open. But fans can’t blame the Buffalo wings. These moist pieces of meat have a decent amount of red pepper spicy, aren’t too messy, and are well balanced. While the Buffalo is the king, there are seven other sauces including sweet Thai chili and the Irish ghost (which is a Buffalo variant with ghost pepper powder).

Cleo's Southern Cuisine

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In 2019, Cleo’s Southern Cuisine opened in Bronzeville serving Creole and Southern food. The restaurant’s signature dish may be its chicken and waffles, which feature fried chicken breaded with a very tasty coat of seasonings. Customers will get full-sized wings with the options to get one of five sauces drizzled on top. The best is the “honey hot,” which won’t make diners sweat and allows them to enjoy the crunchy chicken underneath. All the sauces are delicious, and it would be prudent to ask for them on the side. Cleo’s also has a location inside Time Out Chicago food hall.

The wings from Cleo’s Southern Cuisine.
Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

Virtue Restaurant

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Chef Erick Williams has a special offering for Black History Month through the month of February that also coincides with the Super Bowl. Williams always has aimed to offer an elevated level of hospitality at Virtue, where his philosophy is nourishing the mind and body. Translation: Williams is going to feed customers and educate them. For February, Virtue is offering a special Shoebox Lunch, a fried and breaded chicken wing meal that comes in a special box featuring artwork the spotlights famous Black Americans. Customers will find blurbs and illustrations about mathematician Katherine Johnson (Hidden Figures), and Negro League baseball star Satchel Page. These “Shoebox Lunches” were meals made and packed by family members, church goers, and others to accommodate traveling Black southerners who could not risk their lives by stopping at racist restaurants they did not serve them. The boxed lunches were meant to be enjoyed while on the bus. Additionally, Buffalo-style wings are available for the Super Bowl.

A brown cardboard box filled with breaded chicken wings, biscuit, and sauce.
Virtue’s Shoebox Lunch
Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

Surf's Up South Shore

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There are several locations of Surf’s Up including in Oak Park, Bronzeville, and South Shore. Seafood is the focal point — they even serve vegan “shrimp.” But throughout the years, they’ve made a name for themselves with their Hennessy chicken wings, which come in a sticky orange sauce made with the popular cognac. The sweetness is apparent, and the chicken is plump. Let the wings cool down before consuming. It has nothing to do with burning the roof of your mouth. Give the sauce a chance to cool down and caramelize. The wings taste better.

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Uncle Remus Saucy Fried Chicken

A plate of sauce-covered chicken wings
Uncle Remus’ sauce is tangy and spicy.
Uncle Remus [Official Photo]

Uncle Remus has three locations in the city and another in the suburbs. Its wings are crispy and batter-fried, then smothered with a tangy and spicy sauce.

A plate of sauce-covered chicken wings
Uncle Remus’ sauce is tangy and spicy.
Uncle Remus [Official Photo]

Great Sea Restaurant

While seemingly everyone is going crazy for Southeast Asian-style wings, Great Sea has been serving tangy and sweet drumettes for decades. Despite the restaurant’s sale, new ownership has carried over the deliciousness and copied the techniques from Great Sea’s founders. Grabbing a bottle of sauce for the road is popular here. The restaurant relocated to a building across the street from the original space in April.

Joker's Cajun Smokehouse

Joker’s Cajun Smokehouse
Joker’s Cajun Smokehouse

The smoker that once belonged to Bo Fowler’s Fat Willy’s Rib Shack in Logan Square has been put to good use. Joker’s Cajun Smokehouse offers a unique spin on barbecue by adding a little bit of heat to the smoked meat genre. The cooks demonstrate this in their dry-rubbed and smoked wings. Moist and highly addicting, these wings are one of the best new offerings in town. Wings are only available in Logan Square, not at the new Chicago’s French Market location.

Joker’s Cajun Smokehouse
Joker’s Cajun Smokehouse

The Fifty/50

A plate of Buffalo wings with celery and carrots and ramekins of ranch dressing.
Fifty/50’s chicken wings come fried or smoked
Sarah Zelman/Fifty/50 Restaurant Group

Wicker Park’s venerable sports bar keeps on going, even as the neighborhood goes increasingly family friendly. It’s all about the wings here, available in traditional fried or smoked. There’s a variety of sauces, but the “OG Buffalo” is the best.

A plate of Buffalo wings with celery and carrots and ramekins of ranch dressing.
Fifty/50’s chicken wings come fried or smoked
Sarah Zelman/Fifty/50 Restaurant Group

Soulé

Jerk seasoning can be a gimmick when not executed well. There are no gimmicks at Soule in West Town, where a compact menu produces tangy collards, fried or blackened catfish, and some of the best shrimp and grits in the city. The jerk wings are also flavorful with nice hints of clove and nutmeg that give way to a little heat.

Bayan Ko

While some publications may describe Filipino food as a trend, Bayan Ko — the Filipino and Cuban hybrid in Lincoln Square — proves there’s nothing fleeting about heritage. Lawrence Letrero and Raquel Quadreny have melded island cultures at this tiny spot near the Montrose Brown Line. Chef Letrero’s wings are sticky with a finger-licking worthy adobo glaze. The chicken is succulent and perfectly cooked. They’re also doing a special calamansi variant for the Super Bowl.

Output

The variety of wings at Output puts most spots to shame, with unique sauce flavors like lemon pepper and roasted garlic barbecue. It’s right near the United Center in West Town. There’s also a location close to Wrigley Field.

Dr. Bird's

According to legend, Buffalo wings originated at the Anchor Bar, a restaurant in Buffalo, New York. Dr. Bird’s, a Jamaican restaurant off the Polish Triangle in Noble Square, opened its first location in Buffalo, but their wings aren’t the traditional type. These juicy morsels of meats are jerk rubbed and smoked with hickory. The taste is subtle and aromatic. The wings come full-sized, making them a two-handed affair.

Beck's Chicago

The owner of Toon’s in Lakeview opened another bar at the intersection of Clybourn and Webster, next to deep-dish saviors Pequod’s. It would be a power move to order a pizza from Pequod’s and wings from Beck’s, as ownership brought over the same Buffalo wings to Lincoln Park. The sauce has just enough stickiness and the wings are fried to perfection. The bar has a patio, but the wings are also available for carryout.

HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen

HaiSous and the more casual Cà Phê Đá next door both serve these terrific crispy wings which come on a bed of rice. They’re kept whole and coated with a sticky glaze that packs some umami thanks to the fish sauce. Aromatic herbs augment the experience and there’s the fun of tearing the wings in half.

Phlavz Bar & Grille

Wings with fries in a checkered wrapped basket.
Phlavz’s chicken wings
Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

Phlavz started as a jerk chicken truck, then graduated to restaurant status in University Village. The wings have great flavor (it’s a little disappointing that they’re so tiny: ownership should work on that) and are blackened with that familiar jerk seasoning. The jerk sauce on the side is a secret weapon: sweet, tart, and with a touch of heat. These are quality chicken wings.

Wings with fries in a checkered wrapped basket.
Phlavz’s chicken wings
Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

Crisp

Crisp introduced Korean-style wings to a larger audience in Chicago, and there's great satisfaction in ripping into a massive “Seoul Sassy” wing that's neither too spicy nor sticky. These are full wings that aren’t separated. The same wings are served at the sibling hot dog stand in Ravenswood, Budacki’s.

View this post on Instagram

Thanks for the photo @renemarban !

A post shared by CRISP (@crispchicago) on

Del Seoul

Del Seoul isn't just about Korean tacos. Ownership doubled down when they added wings to their menu, which have a mild garlic-and-ginger glaze that makes them a winner. They’re served lollipop style.

Need a real crowd pleaser for Sunday’s big game? Here you go. Now taking orders for our famous K-town wings! 773-248-4227 : @ardellski

Posted by Del Seoul - Chicago on Thursday, January 30, 2020

Bonchon

Bonchon, a cult favorite Korean chicken wing chain, arrived in Chicago and brought long lines to Chinatown. The restaurant features wings with a soy glaze that aren't very messy. It's not the spiciest wing, but there's tons of flavor. There are also locations in Wicker Park and suburban Glenview.

Sauwze gang.

Posted by Bonchon on Friday, December 6, 2019

Jake Melnick's Corner Tap

Levy Restaurants broke the code for chicken wings years ago when they opened Jake Melnick's with a very traditional take on the Buffalo wing. It still remains extremely popular — especially for its wings — which come in nine flavors including “PB&J” and the “XXX” which are advertised as the “world’s hottest.”

Bring on the wings & bloodies and watch the Big Game today at Jake’s

Posted by Jake Melnick's Corner Tap on Sunday, January 26, 2020

Related Maps

Bronzeville Wingz

Lemon pepper wings are among the more than 30 sauce options at this wing specialists. This Black woman-owned restaurant serves battered or naked wings. The Gold Butter options is among the more unique sauce choices. Prepare to wait on busy days.

Timothy O'Toole's Pub Chicago

This Chicago sports bar has been around since 1992 in Streeterville, meaning the Bears fans have had only one Super Bowl appearance to celebrate since the bar’s been open. But fans can’t blame the Buffalo wings. These moist pieces of meat have a decent amount of red pepper spicy, aren’t too messy, and are well balanced. While the Buffalo is the king, there are seven other sauces including sweet Thai chili and the Irish ghost (which is a Buffalo variant with ghost pepper powder).

Cleo's Southern Cuisine

The wings from Cleo’s Southern Cuisine.
Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

In 2019, Cleo’s Southern Cuisine opened in Bronzeville serving Creole and Southern food. The restaurant’s signature dish may be its chicken and waffles, which feature fried chicken breaded with a very tasty coat of seasonings. Customers will get full-sized wings with the options to get one of five sauces drizzled on top. The best is the “honey hot,” which won’t make diners sweat and allows them to enjoy the crunchy chicken underneath. All the sauces are delicious, and it would be prudent to ask for them on the side. Cleo’s also has a location inside Time Out Chicago food hall.

The wings from Cleo’s Southern Cuisine.
Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

Virtue Restaurant

A brown cardboard box filled with breaded chicken wings, biscuit, and sauce.
Virtue’s Shoebox Lunch
Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

Chef Erick Williams has a special offering for Black History Month through the month of February that also coincides with the Super Bowl. Williams always has aimed to offer an elevated level of hospitality at Virtue, where his philosophy is nourishing the mind and body. Translation: Williams is going to feed customers and educate them. For February, Virtue is offering a special Shoebox Lunch, a fried and breaded chicken wing meal that comes in a special box featuring artwork the spotlights famous Black Americans. Customers will find blurbs and illustrations about mathematician Katherine Johnson (Hidden Figures), and Negro League baseball star Satchel Page. These “Shoebox Lunches” were meals made and packed by family members, church goers, and others to accommodate traveling Black southerners who could not risk their lives by stopping at racist restaurants they did not serve them. The boxed lunches were meant to be enjoyed while on the bus. Additionally, Buffalo-style wings are available for the Super Bowl.

A brown cardboard box filled with breaded chicken wings, biscuit, and sauce.
Virtue’s Shoebox Lunch
Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

Surf's Up South Shore

There are several locations of Surf’s Up including in Oak Park, Bronzeville, and South Shore. Seafood is the focal point — they even serve vegan “shrimp.” But throughout the years, they’ve made a name for themselves with their Hennessy chicken wings, which come in a sticky orange sauce made with the popular cognac. The sweetness is apparent, and the chicken is plump. Let the wings cool down before consuming. It has nothing to do with burning the roof of your mouth. Give the sauce a chance to cool down and caramelize. The wings taste better.

Related Maps