Wanna go on a wings bender? No better place to do in these parts than West Allis. Here are four top-notch places for chicken wings. Though they're all pretty close to one another, they're not walkable (though two are), so bring a designated driver.
6300 W. Lincoln Ave., (414) 430-0282
Hit Jonny Hammers on Thursday, because for a mere 50 cents each, you'll be able to sample some of the most sublime wings this side of State Fair Park. Located in an extremely unassuming corner tavern (don't blink or you might miss it), Jonny Hammers plates up a wide variety of wings, but I went for the regular, served to a soundtrack of classic and prog rock. When I picked up the first one, the spice shot up my nose and made me fear for my safety, but while the scent was powerful, the flavor was pitch perfect – a bit hot but not searing. A dip in the blue cheese (for a 50-cent upcharge) and the balance of sweet, tangy and hot was sublime.
8911 W. National Ave., (414) 329-1477
Super meaty, tips-on wings served up in a baseball-centric atmosphere. Among the tastiest anywhere around, the teriyaki and the honey barbecue were especially exceptional and the medium wings weren't far behind.
8031 W. Greenfield Ave., (414) 257-2854
For $9.49, Paulie's plates 10 wings with the sauce (or no sauce) of your choice and a range of options (grilled, etc.). There are nearly a dozen sauces ranging in heat quotient and I aimed to try a couple, only to learn you can only choose one sauce per order, unless you want to pay extra for a side of sauce. Though that was a disappointment – variety being the spice of life, and all – the Legend Larry bacon BBQ slathered wings were anything but. Most of the drummies and paddles were super meaty and tender and the sauce – which approaches medium on the Paulie's scale – had just the right amount of heat for me – a hint, but not too much.
TomKen's Bar and Grill
8001 W. Greenfield Ave., (414) 258-9110
This corner tap across Greenfield Avenue from State Fair Park, just up the street from Paulie's, TomKen's is a frequent award winner. Some of the wings we tried were exceptional, most notably the dry jerk, which had a stellar spice combo, and the buffalo sings the bleus, which were tangy and delicious. But even the ones that didn't quite meet the same standard were pretty darned good.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in an episode of TV's "Party of Five," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.