“Eat, Drink, Talk Loudly”
The tagline is the second thing you’ll see, in big bold letters over the bar, as you walk into this place. The first thing you see is the massive bronzed buffalo head perched right above the hostess area. While Buffalo Wings & Rings is a national chain, this particular location (they have locations in Crystal Lake and Naperville as well) doesn’t have the feel of a national chain but rather that of a good local sports bar with some of the best buffalo wings this side of, well, Buffalo.
Making It Snappy
As soon as you walk in the door, below the aforementioned buffalo head, there are always two very friendly greeters ready to escort you to your seat. In many places I’ve been to, that’s the part where you wait forever for a waiter/waitress to come to your table and begin taking your orders… not here. I have yet to come here, get seated, and wait more than a minute for someone to come and at least ask me if I’d like something to drink while I look over the menu, even when it’s a packed madhouse. I’m not sure what kind of system they have in place for their wait staff, but it works splendidly because I’m not someone who likes to wait very long. I will say that once the food is ordered, it can take a little long to get to the table and if you’re pressed for time, which can be annoying. On occasion, I’ve ordered wings that looked like they were rushed through the kitchen but those instances have been few and far between and nothing I would consider to be an issue… and we all have our “off” days.
A White Sox Haven
For all intents and purposes, this is a White Sox bar, through and through. On game days, especially home games, you will see this place pretty well packed, especially if the White Sox are having a good season [insert snickering here]. That’s one thing about White Sox fans: they’ll come in droves to the park and the bars if the team is winning, unlike the other side of town where win or lose, everything is at capacity. But, I digress. One of the great treats about Buffalo Wings & Rings is the free shuttle they provide from the restaurant to Guaranteed Rate Field aka White Sox Park. For about an hour before the first pitch, you can hop the shuttle to the ballpark and for about an hour after the last out, you can jump the same shuttle back to the restaurant for no charge.
I’ve been a semi-regular at Buffalo Wings & Rings for the better part of about five years so when I tell you the food here is phenomenal, I know what I’m talking about! Obviously the (award winning) wings are in a class by themselves but I’ll get to that in a moment. The entire menu covers just about any palette you may have when it comes to restaurant food. From the burgers to the wraps, kid’s meals and even gluten free options, it’s virtually impossible to not find something on the menu that you’ll like.
But the wings… oh my, the wings! Whether you like boneless or traditional is irrelevant, the secret here is definitely in their sauces, of which they have many amazing flavors. If you are a fan of hot and spicy, then you absolutely have to try their “Cool Wasabi” and/or their “Sweet Thai Chili” flavor. It’s like nothing you’ve ever tried, trust me. Not a fan of the heat? Then you’ll want to try their award winning (Chicago WingFest 2015) “Bourbon BBQ” flavor. It’s almost ridiculous how good it is.
- Choose your style: grilled, tenders, boneless, or traditional
- Pick your flavor: includes “Xtra Wet”
- Set your heat tolerance: mild, medium, hot (recommended), “xtra hot”, atomic (“better order a second drink”)
Bloody Effen Mary
If you stop by on the weekend day, be sure to try their Bloody Mary. You have to specifically ask for it, but they make a Bloody Mary with Effen Cucumber Vodka that is absolutely amazing and I guarantee you’ll want more than one. Personally, I can never leave without having three.
Bridgeport Development & History
Since this location’s grand opening in 2008 as part of continued improvements in and around the Bridgeport area, Buffalo Wings & Rings has grown to be a neighborhood favorite; especially for those fans of the other, more famous wing chain but whose locations are not exactly the easiest to get to. The block and building Buffalo Wings & Rings currently occupies used to look completely different just ten years ago. What was once a city block of old, run-down stores with a liquor store on the corner, now stands a massive condominium complex with stores at the street level. The restaurant itself has undergone a couple of updates over its nine year run, including outdoor seating as well as placing larger TVs and a massive projection screen inside.
The Buffalo Wings & Rings chain itself was founded in 1984 and served their very first wing in Cincinnati, Ohio. Fortunately, the culinary monstrosity that is Cincinnati chili has not made it to the menu… Franchising of the restaurant began in 2005 and there are now about 60 locations around the country.
You Too Can Be a Semi-Regular
Whether you are coming here with family during the day (kids eat free on Mondays at all locations, nationwide) or unwinding with friends at the end of the day, this place is perfect for both. I’ve been coming here for years, and actually prefer it over the other wing chain, and I’ll continue to be a semi-regular here for many years to come. Fun Fact: this location of Buffalo Wings & Rings was featured on an episode of Undercover Boss in 2015. Afterwards, if you’re looking for something a little smaller or “cozy” in the area, check out Mitchell’s Tap at 3356 S. Halsted St and a little further down you have Bernice’s Tavern at 3238 S. Halsted.