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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014

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In Dining

Points East Pub's wings were the winner of our Milwaukee challenge, thanks in large part to the dry-rub seasoning and fresh-from-the-grill appearance.

In Dining

Buffalo Wild Wings took the readers' votes in our "Best of" series and are true, Buffalo-style wings.

Take the Milwaukee challenge: Buffalo Wild Wings vs. Points East wings


After you, OnMilwaukee.com readers, voted Buffalo Wild Wings your favorite wings and picked Points East Pub -- the editors' choice here -- second, we decided to put them to the test.

We tasted the "basic" wings at each place and found them both to be great, but different. Buffalo Wild Wings' offerings -- fried and spun in sauce -- are finger-licking wet. The Points East Wings are cooked on the grill and have a drier, spice-rub style.

So, part of your preference will depend on which version you like better, as you'll see from our comments below. If you want to see it, maybe we'll pit today's winner -- clearly Points East Pub! -- against the No. 3 winner, Elsa's on the Park, next.

Molly Snyder Edler
Staff writer
Pick: Points East Pub

Prior to this challenge, I had never eaten at either of these establishments, and in general, I'm not a huge wing person. Hence, I went on my wing-eating adventure with very low expectations.

I started at Point East Pub and simply said, "I'll have the wings." I got a basket of 12 wings for $9.45. At first, I was a little surprised by what I perceived to be a steep price.

I later realized that, like most things, you get what you pay for, and that the Points East order was twice as large as what I ordered at Buffalo Wild Wings. My order of wings at Buffalo Wild Wings was $4.99, but only included six wings. And they did not compare in taste.

I found the Points East wings meatier and spicier (not hot, just way more flavorful), and yet not any greasier than BW3's version.

I found the skin on the Points East wings to be a little crispier, too, which made the wings even more appealing. They were also messier, which was a downside, but they came with celery sticks which made a healthy side. (Kind of like having a diet soda with a greasy, high-fat burger.)

In general, I would prefer to eat at a neighborhood pub like Points East instead of a large, chain, sports bar like Buffalo Wild Wings. I found Buffalo Wild Wings' service to be prompt and the diners seemed like they were enjoying themselves, but I prefer a cozier establishment.

On a side note, I ordered the wings as take-out during a Packers game, and the bartender said they don't usually have take-out service during games. I must have looked particularly crestfallen, because she said, "Just come back in 15 minutes and they'll be ready." Nice.

Johnny Hyland
Manager of client development
(Note: neither place is a client of Hyland's)
Pick: Points East Pub

Buffalo Wild Wings' presentation is classic: tubs of wings, followed by tubs for bones. This has become standard fare for most bars, but Buffalo Wild Wings perfected it long ago. Anytime I am forced to place wing bones adjacent to fresh wings, my night is typically ruined. The wings were tender, juicy and wet with sauce. The Medium Buffalo sauce didn't have quite enough energy behind it and left me craving the hot just a bit. Sidenote: overall, I have found more and more "medium" wings are going in a different direction over the past three years as part of a larger trend for restaurants/bars to differentiate their wings from the original invented in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1964.

The sample from Buffalo Wild Wings is the kind of classic Buffalo Wing I sometimes forget about with all of the fancy new options. It depends whether or not you are a fan of that deep-fried style of wing, which is then coated in buffalo sauce post-fry. I dipped my wing sampler in bleu cheese, as has been a favorite of mine for years. Overall, the wings were tasty and good.

The Points East wings were of the "non-wet" variety and relied more on the sauce being baked into the skin during the cooking process. The view from our table allowed us to watch the bartender flip each wing or drummie several times on the grill. This style of cooking wings, with the wings having already marinated in the sauce, gave each wing an inner-heat that could be tasted down to the last bite. These wings, which were about the same size as Buffalo Wild Wings, had a rich, almost peppery flavor. The texture was purposefully dry on the outside, which made the bleu cheese more essential to this particular wing. It also brought more attention to the style differences between Buffalo Wild Wings and Points East Wings.

Due to the superior heat, flavor and cooking method, I would choose Points East Wings over Buffalo Wild Wings. However, I do want to recognize, again, the vast style differences in these two wings, which makes them difficult to judge.

Drew Olson
Senior editor
Pick: Points East Pub

During my previous life as a traveling baseball writer, wings were a dietary staple. I've sampled many variations in various different locales and almost all of them were acceptable, without being very memorable.

Some places try to get attention by making wings "nuclear," others try to jazz up the dipping sauces and some just give up and serve whatever was on sale at Sam's Club that week.

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Talkbacks

drew_106 | Dec. 17, 2009 at 11:44 a.m. (report)

Club Garibaldi's wings are hurting as of late. They are no longer meaty and big since I started going in Nov 09. This week they came fast but they were tiny and short by four less than what we ordered :(

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T15 | Nov. 12, 2009 at 11:14 a.m. (report)

I wish I would have read this two days earlier but need to make some corrections. Whoever said that points east wings were lightly breaded should not be reporting on food, ever. There is no breading on points east wings. And just to make correction in reporting on the cooking process of points east wings, they are first fried, then sauced, and then grilled. Everyone made the right choice here but some reported incorrectly.

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college_dave | Nov. 10, 2009 at 8:47 p.m. (report)

I understand the competition b/c of the reader's poll. I also understand a few of the people posting comments here. My opinion is that Club Garibaldi has the best wings. And TomKen's comes in second (but don't tell anybody b/c I like not having to wait long for them for now).

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naturekid1 | Nov. 10, 2009 at 8:39 p.m. (report)

Went to points east once about 3 yrs ago, ordered wings, watched other people come in after, order , eat, be full, before we got ours. 45 minutes later, had to go, refused to refund our $$ ( we had to pre-pay). guess that's how they can afford all those mediocre college bands on the weekend. !@&#! points east. Go to magoo's on wednesday istead.

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tpodrug | Nov. 10, 2009 at 8:29 p.m. (report)

PE is great, Magoos is also great as you get different sauce choices, although on wing night they seem to come out cold. Club G is also great. The Best I've had though is Spitfires in Muskego. The wing quality is big and meaty. Their wide variety of great sauces is what really sets them apart, and if you go on a Monday its 35 cent wings and $1 tappers. Full and buzzed for 10 bucks. The wings are not real sloppy, more of a dry rub to slighty tacky sauce.

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