If you're a chicken or a vegetarian, you probably aren't a fan of Wings Over Ithaca, but this week, 14850 Dining checks out this East Hill Plaza eatery that offers an impressive variety of wings, and not much else.
Like its predecessors in Albany, Storrs, and other areas, this locally owned wingery, which opened about 13 years ago, focuses on serving and delivering hot, fresh, meaty chicken wings, as well as hand-battered "boneless wings," or chicken tenders. Either way, you've got almost a dozen different choices of sauces or dry rubs, not counting five levels of Buffalo-style heat.
Split up your large orders in two or three of the interesting flavors, like Sweet Chili or the West Texas Mesquite dry rub. Garlic Parmesan is unabashedly garlicky, or go with Orange Chipotle for a citrusy kick.
Wing purists who leap straight to the hot stuff won't be disappointed. Even the first of five heat levels, "Wimpy," is pleasantly spicy, and the top rung of the ladder, "Afterburner," almost invariably starts the hiccups. It's not just hot; the delicious sauce has some great pepper flavors. Picking one of the mid-range heat levels should satisfy most groups -- "Red Alert" is not too hot for most wing-eaters, and not too boring for the professional.
There are also chicken sandwiches and wraps, with broiled or fried chicken tenders and your choice of sauce, as well as St. Louis style slow-cooked pork ribs, if you're really not into chicken. If you're vegetarian? The caesar salad and the fries are about it.
The prices for small orders don't look so cheap, but once you start ordering enough food for a few people, it all becomes affordable. We're tempted to order the $135 "Aircraft Carrier" combo pack, which features 60 wings, six pounds of boneless wings, lots of fries and onion rings, and two racks of ribs.
If you need to avoid gluten, be cautious: some of the sauces contain gluten, and the boneless wings are breaded unless you ask for no breading. When we asked for an order without gluten ingredients, the conversation confounded the staff enough that they ended up sending breaded wings with a gluten-free sauce.
Wings Over Ithaca isn't what you'd call a fancy place; most of the décor seems to be designed for ease of wiping away grease. Rolls of paper towels, instead of those pesky napkin dispensers, adorn each aluminum table.
Wings Over Ithaca is open for lunch Tuesday through Sunday, and dinner to late night every day of the week. Find them at wingsover.com or at East Hill Plaza at 335 Pine Tree Road, or call 607-256-WING (9464) and tell them you heard about them here.
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