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20 Essential Restaurants Around Atlanta Serving First-Rate Wings

From spicy Korean fried to lemon pepper wet, Atlanta has cornered the market on wings

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It’s a fact: Atlanta has cornered the market on wings. And while there are dozens of great establishments offering flats, drums, and even that tiny extra part that some people eat as if it actually held meat, some restaurants are just leading the wing pack. From smoked to fried, sweet and sour to extra-sauced, including the quintessential Atlanta wing flavor, lemon pepper, here’s where to grab great wings around Atlanta right now.

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Read this: At Atlanta’s Magic City, Chicken Wings Cast Their Own Spell

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J.R. Crickets

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It’s not the original location (Spring Street,) but neither is the one in the former IHOP that calls itself such. However, the Union City J.R. Crickets is definitely the crunkest, which may explain why the wings seem to be the best in the franchise. Some locations vary on the crispness of these classic fried wings – an unfortunate result due to their popularity after the “lemon-pepper-wet” shout-out on Donald Glover’s show Atlanta. But, the Jonesboro Road location offers solid “Fester” wings (the proper name for LPW,) the standard buffalo that made the ATL-based chain a success, and, of course, delicious fries. J.R. Crickets has survived this long for a reason, and they keep spreading throughout Atlanta because those wings are just plain good. 

The Bando

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This wing joint is a two-for-one deal acting as both a food museum and restaurant on a mission to give back to its community. Only open Friday through Sunday, the wings here are on point and not to be missed. This includes the Bando’s signature “crack” wings, which are tossed in a sweet and savory seasoning, deep fried, and then dusted with a sweet and salty powder. The menu also includes lemon pepper wet and hot wings, along with creative flavor combos like butter ranch and strawberry hot wings. Don’t skip the deep-fried Oreos or the Detroit-style coney dogs topped with chili, onions, and mustard. Pair wings with crinkle fries and a Faygo grape or red pop soda. Follow on Instagram for menu updates. Read more about the Bando from Butter ATL. — Beth McKibben

Jamal's Buffalo Wings

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Residents who lived in or attended school near the West End over the last two decades are likely familiar with the wing shack that sat in the parking lot across from what used to be the Georgia Dome. Now that Mercedes-Benz Stadium has changed the landscape, Jamal’s has changed locations to the edge of Westview Cemetery. But, the crispy fried, sauce-soaked wings have stayed exactly the same — delicious. Expect the savory flavor to literally shine through, especially on the honey bar-b-que and hot lemon pepper flavors.

Heirloom Market BBQ

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Korean flavors meet Southern barbecue at critically acclaimed Heirloom Market BBQ, located about two miles from the Battery Atlanta and Truist Park in the Cumberland area. It’s a takeout-only joint, so plan to enjoy this barbecue at home or in the car. It’s not uncommon to see people eating in the parking lot. For wing lovers, order a pound of smoked drums and flats, which are flash fried and tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce and served with a side of zesty kimchi mayo. — Beth McKibben

A Town Wings

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With multiple locations in the city and metro Atlanta, A Town Wings serves a variety of saucy and spiced wing flavors on its menus, and in multiples of up to 100 pieces, too. Wings here come seasoned in flavors ranging from honey lemon pepper and hot teriyaki to garlic parmesan and Cajun-style. Make sure to also order a batch of fried rice.

Pit Boss BBQ

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Dry-rubbed overnight before being smoked, the wings at Pit Boss in Hapeville are why this popular barbecue spot is always packed with everyone from Delta employees from Hartsfield-Jackson airport to off-duty (hopefully) police. The wings are smoked with pecan, oak, and hickory wood before being flash-fried for a crispy skin.

B & L Wings

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This wing shop, owned by Bradwick and Lawonda Malone, operates out of the ghost kitchen facility Forrest Neighborhood Kitchen in the Berkeley Park neighborhood and might serve some of the city’s best wings, too. Choose from 16 flavors here, including hot honey lemon pepper, spicy pineapple, and spicy mango to sauce those meaty drums and flats.

Magic City Kitchen at Magic City

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If you know, you know. And Atlantans have known for years that the wings from this shoe-modeling establishment are as magical as the entertainment here. Regardless of the form of entertainment offered at Magic, the wings are legitimately good. These wings are well fried with a snappy skin and are sauced properly, too, especially the honey garlic and plain battered versions.

Tom, Dick & Hank

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Not even the Braves leaving Turner Field (now Center Parc Stadium, home to the Georgia State Panthers) has stopped the crowds from swinging by for smoked wings by the pound at Tom, Dick, & Hank. While the restaurant also prepares wings fried and tossed in dry barbecue rub, it’s the smoked wings that really took off here. The flavor goes deep to the bone of both the flats and mini drumsticks. While the restaurant is still one of the best places near downtown Atlanta to watch sports, it’s the wings that win every time. 

Side Piece Wings

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A recent addition to Auburn Avenue and the Sweet Auburn District’s nightlight scene sees this popular pop-up transform into a restaurant serving nothing but wings. Expect both chicken and vegetarian wings made from cauliflower with a variety of sauces, including hot Buffalo, lemon pepper, and hot honey, along with other dishes like hand-cut and spiced fries. Wings and seating are first come, first served, and takeout is available. Open for late-night wings. Check Instagram for updated hours. — Beth McKibben

Clay's Sports Cafe

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Clay’s Sports Cafe in Sandy Springs has been doling out some of Atlanta’s best wings since 1991. After temporarily closing in 2016 to relocate, Atlanta’s wing lovers rejoiced when the sports bar finally reopened in its new location a year later. Clay’s is back in the wing business — and some say, better than ever at it. Wings here range in heat from mild to hot, with flavors like lemon pepper, bbq, teriyaki, honey bbq, jerk, garlic parmesan, honey mustard, and ranch. — Beth McKibben

The Local

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This gritty pub on Ponce is the overwhelming “people’s choice” for smoked wings. Even as smoked wings have become one of Atlanta’s most popular styles, the wings at The Local are crispy yet still juicy, a difficult combination to master. Order the dry-rubbed jerk or lemon pepper, or try the sauced versions like the tikka masala or spicy Korean BBQ.

Sweet Auburn BBQ

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Siblings Howard and Anita Hsu started Sweet Auburn BBQ in the historic Sweet Auburn district’s curb market on Edgewood Avenue near downtown Atlanta. Now with a restaurant in Poncey-Highland, the smoked wings at both locations are still a favorite among the restaurant’s customers. Order the coconut lemongrass wings, which are reminiscent of a Thai soup or the Thai chili-style “Wu Tang” wings for a little heat.

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

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There can’t be a wing map in Atlanta that doesn’t include Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q and its hickory smoked wings. The wings get a spice rub prior to soaking up the wood-burned flavor in the smoker. Wings are then flash-fried and tossed in sauce so good, the brothers Fox have bottled it for sale. Fox Bros. may not be the new-new, but these wings have become low-and-slow favorites in Atlanta. There’s also a location at the Works in Underwood Hills.

The Wing Bar

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For those in search of wings featuring 100-percent local poultry, look no further than this popular East Atlanta Village takeout spot. Order from ten to 50 wings tossed in sauces like honey mustard, Sriracha, agave barbecue, Old Bay, and lemon pepper here. Wing combo meals come with crinkle fries and a drink, too. The menu also includes vegan wings called “vings”.

Poor Hendrix

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There’s something to be said for spectacularly fried wings — not overcooked to the point of dryness, but not under-fried to where the grease mixes with the sauce. This balance makes the sticky, sesame wings at Poor Hendrix a standout on the menu, as does the colorful presentation of sesame seeds and chives against the maroon-colored drums and flats in the basket. These wings are not always on the menu, so be sure to keep an eye out. — Beth McKibben

Nam Phuong Restaurant

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Don’t think too long about how wings marinated in Vietnamese fish sauce will taste, just order asap. There’s a zippy, funky flavor embedded in that meat, which gets crispy without the need for breading, yet still retains a shiny glaze from sweet chili sauce. The interior chew remains wonderfully moist. Wings come with a side of white rice and pickled vegetables, too. There’s also a location in Norcross. 

Brew and Bird

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Wide variety and bold creativity thrive at this Decatur restaurant on Clairmont for craft beer and Asian-inspired wings. There are several flavors to try here, but it’s the house wings, which come in multiples of eight and are marinated for about 14 hours, that sell out nearly every night. The 14-hour soaking produces a measured blast of honey, vinegar, and soy sauce. Try the Korean garlic spice for sweet heat and a kick of funk.

Wings On Wheat

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Wings on Wheat may not be anywhere near the AUC, but it does include a connection to the schools in Atlanta University Center. It’s modeled after the small kitchen inside Stegall’s Grocery, which for years was located directly across from Woodruff Library in the AUC. Stegall’s most popular dish with students was Wings on Wheat (whole wings with wheat bread) because it was affordable and easy to share. Wings on Wheat the restaurant is carrying on the dish and Stegall’s legacy.

Brockett Pub House & Grill

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This low-key Clarkston sports bar obviously includes wings on its menu. Flats and drums here can come dressed in a variety of flavors, ranging from Buffalo sauce and honey mustard to bourbon barbecue, lemon pepper, or the pub’s popular sweet and spicy sauce. Wings are served with celery and blue cheese dressing or a side of fries. — Beth McKibben

J.R. Crickets

It’s not the original location (Spring Street,) but neither is the one in the former IHOP that calls itself such. However, the Union City J.R. Crickets is definitely the crunkest, which may explain why the wings seem to be the best in the franchise. Some locations vary on the crispness of these classic fried wings – an unfortunate result due to their popularity after the “lemon-pepper-wet” shout-out on Donald Glover’s show Atlanta. But, the Jonesboro Road location offers solid “Fester” wings (the proper name for LPW,) the standard buffalo that made the ATL-based chain a success, and, of course, delicious fries. J.R. Crickets has survived this long for a reason, and they keep spreading throughout Atlanta because those wings are just plain good. 

The Bando

This wing joint is a two-for-one deal acting as both a food museum and restaurant on a mission to give back to its community. Only open Friday through Sunday, the wings here are on point and not to be missed. This includes the Bando’s signature “crack” wings, which are tossed in a sweet and savory seasoning, deep fried, and then dusted with a sweet and salty powder. The menu also includes lemon pepper wet and hot wings, along with creative flavor combos like butter ranch and strawberry hot wings. Don’t skip the deep-fried Oreos or the Detroit-style coney dogs topped with chili, onions, and mustard. Pair wings with crinkle fries and a Faygo grape or red pop soda. Follow on Instagram for menu updates. Read more about the Bando from Butter ATL. — Beth McKibben

Jamal's Buffalo Wings

Residents who lived in or attended school near the West End over the last two decades are likely familiar with the wing shack that sat in the parking lot across from what used to be the Georgia Dome. Now that Mercedes-Benz Stadium has changed the landscape, Jamal’s has changed locations to the edge of Westview Cemetery. But, the crispy fried, sauce-soaked wings have stayed exactly the same — delicious. Expect the savory flavor to literally shine through, especially on the honey bar-b-que and hot lemon pepper flavors.

Heirloom Market BBQ

Korean flavors meet Southern barbecue at critically acclaimed Heirloom Market BBQ, located about two miles from the Battery Atlanta and Truist Park in the Cumberland area. It’s a takeout-only joint, so plan to enjoy this barbecue at home or in the car. It’s not uncommon to see people eating in the parking lot. For wing lovers, order a pound of smoked drums and flats, which are flash fried and tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce and served with a side of zesty kimchi mayo. — Beth McKibben

A Town Wings

With multiple locations in the city and metro Atlanta, A Town Wings serves a variety of saucy and spiced wing flavors on its menus, and in multiples of up to 100 pieces, too. Wings here come seasoned in flavors ranging from honey lemon pepper and hot teriyaki to garlic parmesan and Cajun-style. Make sure to also order a batch of fried rice.

Pit Boss BBQ

Dry-rubbed overnight before being smoked, the wings at Pit Boss in Hapeville are why this popular barbecue spot is always packed with everyone from Delta employees from Hartsfield-Jackson airport to off-duty (hopefully) police. The wings are smoked with pecan, oak, and hickory wood before being flash-fried for a crispy skin.

B & L Wings

This wing shop, owned by Bradwick and Lawonda Malone, operates out of the ghost kitchen facility Forrest Neighborhood Kitchen in the Berkeley Park neighborhood and might serve some of the city’s best wings, too. Choose from 16 flavors here, including hot honey lemon pepper, spicy pineapple, and spicy mango to sauce those meaty drums and flats.

Magic City Kitchen at Magic City

If you know, you know. And Atlantans have known for years that the wings from this shoe-modeling establishment are as magical as the entertainment here. Regardless of the form of entertainment offered at Magic, the wings are legitimately good. These wings are well fried with a snappy skin and are sauced properly, too, especially the honey garlic and plain battered versions.

Tom, Dick & Hank

Not even the Braves leaving Turner Field (now Center Parc Stadium, home to the Georgia State Panthers) has stopped the crowds from swinging by for smoked wings by the pound at Tom, Dick, & Hank. While the restaurant also prepares wings fried and tossed in dry barbecue rub, it’s the smoked wings that really took off here. The flavor goes deep to the bone of both the flats and mini drumsticks. While the restaurant is still one of the best places near downtown Atlanta to watch sports, it’s the wings that win every time. 

Side Piece Wings

A recent addition to Auburn Avenue and the Sweet Auburn District’s nightlight scene sees this popular pop-up transform into a restaurant serving nothing but wings. Expect both chicken and vegetarian wings made from cauliflower with a variety of sauces, including hot Buffalo, lemon pepper, and hot honey, along with other dishes like hand-cut and spiced fries. Wings and seating are first come, first served, and takeout is available. Open for late-night wings. Check Instagram for updated hours. — Beth McKibben

Clay's Sports Cafe

Clay’s Sports Cafe in Sandy Springs has been doling out some of Atlanta’s best wings since 1991. After temporarily closing in 2016 to relocate, Atlanta’s wing lovers rejoiced when the sports bar finally reopened in its new location a year later. Clay’s is back in the wing business — and some say, better than ever at it. Wings here range in heat from mild to hot, with flavors like lemon pepper, bbq, teriyaki, honey bbq, jerk, garlic parmesan, honey mustard, and ranch. — Beth McKibben

The Local

This gritty pub on Ponce is the overwhelming “people’s choice” for smoked wings. Even as smoked wings have become one of Atlanta’s most popular styles, the wings at The Local are crispy yet still juicy, a difficult combination to master. Order the dry-rubbed jerk or lemon pepper, or try the sauced versions like the tikka masala or spicy Korean BBQ.

Sweet Auburn BBQ

Siblings Howard and Anita Hsu started Sweet Auburn BBQ in the historic Sweet Auburn district’s curb market on Edgewood Avenue near downtown Atlanta. Now with a restaurant in Poncey-Highland, the smoked wings at both locations are still a favorite among the restaurant’s customers. Order the coconut lemongrass wings, which are reminiscent of a Thai soup or the Thai chili-style “Wu Tang” wings for a little heat.

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

There can’t be a wing map in Atlanta that doesn’t include Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q and its hickory smoked wings. The wings get a spice rub prior to soaking up the wood-burned flavor in the smoker. Wings are then flash-fried and tossed in sauce so good, the brothers Fox have bottled it for sale. Fox Bros. may not be the new-new, but these wings have become low-and-slow favorites in Atlanta. There’s also a location at the Works in Underwood Hills.

The Wing Bar

For those in search of wings featuring 100-percent local poultry, look no further than this popular East Atlanta Village takeout spot. Order from ten to 50 wings tossed in sauces like honey mustard, Sriracha, agave barbecue, Old Bay, and lemon pepper here. Wing combo meals come with crinkle fries and a drink, too. The menu also includes vegan wings called “vings”.

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Poor Hendrix

There’s something to be said for spectacularly fried wings — not overcooked to the point of dryness, but not under-fried to where the grease mixes with the sauce. This balance makes the sticky, sesame wings at Poor Hendrix a standout on the menu, as does the colorful presentation of sesame seeds and chives against the maroon-colored drums and flats in the basket. These wings are not always on the menu, so be sure to keep an eye out. — Beth McKibben

Nam Phuong Restaurant

Don’t think too long about how wings marinated in Vietnamese fish sauce will taste, just order asap. There’s a zippy, funky flavor embedded in that meat, which gets crispy without the need for breading, yet still retains a shiny glaze from sweet chili sauce. The interior chew remains wonderfully moist. Wings come with a side of white rice and pickled vegetables, too. There’s also a location in Norcross. 

Brew and Bird

Wide variety and bold creativity thrive at this Decatur restaurant on Clairmont for craft beer and Asian-inspired wings. There are several flavors to try here, but it’s the house wings, which come in multiples of eight and are marinated for about 14 hours, that sell out nearly every night. The 14-hour soaking produces a measured blast of honey, vinegar, and soy sauce. Try the Korean garlic spice for sweet heat and a kick of funk.

Wings On Wheat

Wings on Wheat may not be anywhere near the AUC, but it does include a connection to the schools in Atlanta University Center. It’s modeled after the small kitchen inside Stegall’s Grocery, which for years was located directly across from Woodruff Library in the AUC. Stegall’s most popular dish with students was Wings on Wheat (whole wings with wheat bread) because it was affordable and easy to share. Wings on Wheat the restaurant is carrying on the dish and Stegall’s legacy.

Brockett Pub House & Grill

This low-key Clarkston sports bar obviously includes wings on its menu. Flats and drums here can come dressed in a variety of flavors, ranging from Buffalo sauce and honey mustard to bourbon barbecue, lemon pepper, or the pub’s popular sweet and spicy sauce. Wings are served with celery and blue cheese dressing or a side of fries. — Beth McKibben

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