You know those commercials where a restaurant’s bar is packed with people watching a football game, so the bartender pushes a button to send the game to overtime? That commercial was pretty useless for us until a few weeks ago, when a Buffalo Wild Wings opened near Augusta Exchange.
For weeks, I’d drive by the construction site every day, watching this new restaurant being built from the ground up. When my fiancé, Noah, and I went to try it out, we weren’t the only ones who had been waiting for these wings. However, just because a place is finally open doesn’t mean the wait is over, and even when the wait is over, it doesn’t mean it’s worth it.
The star menu items at “B-Dubs” are the wings. First you choose what type of chicken you want to sauce. They have traditional wings, boneless white meat wings, naked tenders and chicken tenders. From there, the sauces and rubs come into play. The choices include parmesan garlic, mango habañero, Asian zing and jammin’ jalapeño. The classic buffalo flavor is a dry rub.
In a perfect world, I would have been able to order eight boneless wings in eight flavors, but you can only get one flavor per eight. I upgraded to 12 so I could try the spicy garlic and limited-time-only Thai curry flavors. Noah chose 18 traditional wings in jerk, buffalo and hot barbecue.
When we sat down, wing choices weren’t blowing my mind as much as the collection of TVs. It was a Sunday, and there were football games on two huge projector screens, small flat screens and every size in between. The enormous bar area was lined with dozens of draft beers and, of course, more TVs.
While I was taking it all in and thinking about how cool this place seemed, I was also checking the time and wondering about our order. We hadn’t seen our food or our server for a good 30 minutes. When she did come back to our table she reeked of cigarette smoke, which is the least appetizing smell in any food establishment.
I had to get to work, so we asked her to box up our food and please bring us our checks. She brought the bill, we paid, and still no sign of the food. Finally, someone else brought our food out, but she hadn’t gotten word that we wanted it to go. We had to wait another 20 minutes to have our meal thrown into boxes. The manager came over and apologized and gave us coupons for free wings. It was a nice gesture, but the fine print showed the coupons could be redeemed only during the following week. As if I’d be ready to go back so soon.
At this point I was disappointed in the service, and I hadn’t even had a bite to eat.
I opened one of the boxes as soon as we got in the car, and guess what? The food wasn’t fresh and hot anymore; it had been sitting out waiting for someone to deliver it.
Furthermore, the flavor did nothing to redeem this experience. The Thai curry was an onslaught of salt and heat with no other flavor to speak of. The spiciness immediately made my eyes water, burned my throat and sent me into a coughing fit. The spicy garlic had a little less heat, but the salt was overwhelming. The buffalo and jerk traditional wings were small, short on meat and tasted like the cooks were skimping on the sauces. The best flavor was the hot barbecue, but it only topped an otherwise unimpressive bunch.
Some of these things could have been chalked up to the fact that this restaurant had been open for only a week. On the other hand, terrible food is terrible food. Even though Buffalo Wild Wings are all over the country, a recognizable name and memorable commercials can’t fix that.