COLUMN: Winging it the right way in Auburn

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Wings are the ultimate topic for conversation in my book. They may not be the best choice for a first date dinner, but they fit every other occasion. 

All the choices, all the varieties, all the techniques — conflicting views on the best are a given. A scoreboard has been erected to separate those who have failed the wing game and those who have surpassed the rest. 

From a wing connoisseur, here are my favorite wings from around the Lee County area with a brief description why they deserve the ranking they've received. Keep in mind, everyone has different tastes and heat tolerances.  Price range is considered in this ranking as I am a college student looking for the best for my buck. 

1. Draft House 

While this may come as a surprise to many considering their wings aren't what they are particularly known for, Draft House is doing it right. 

They combine the right amount of crispiness with a generous coating of seriously tasty sauces. With many to choose from, there are sauce options for all guests. The pricing is not outrageous, but I wouldn't go if your wallet is a little light that week. 

What you pair with wings is also important, and Draft House's fries do not disappoint. They are the perfect way to clean up the wing sauce from the bottom of the basket. 

Draft House is a nicer place to go for good beer, but even better wings. 

2. WingTown

Aside from crazy tasty flavor, WingTown is killing the price game. For less than $8, you can walk out with 10 wings and a bag of seasoned fries. 

WingTown is relatively new in Auburn and they offer an interesting selection of food from wings to Chinese food, and they are succeeding. I haven't walked into an empty restaurant yet, so I assume their well-deserved popularity is spreading. 

Packaged in a cocoon of tinfoil, the WingTown team ensures that no sauce is lost. This may seem unimportant to some, but real wings lovers know the importance of this trade secret. Separately bagged fries eliminate all chances of receiving soggy fries — a true crime avoided. 

WingTown serves smaller wings that are bursting with flavor. They have an above-par list of sauces and the spice is unmatched. The hot wings are not for the faint of heart but aren't burn-your-face-off hot. The meat slips right off the bone and the generous layer of sauce will probably find it's way to your pants, white shirt or down the side of your arm. 

WingTown is the new kid in town, but they fit perfectly with their pricing and flavor. 

3. Niffer's 

Stop yourself before reading the extensive menu and order the wings. Niffer's is known for their wings and rightly so. The variety is just enough to serve many different cravings and the sauce has a nice vinegar bite to it. 

As for price, Niffer's is a bit more expensive than others and the quality does not perfectly align with that price range. The fries are not Auburn's best, but they do good work with mopping up the leftover sauce. 

Niffer's has been around for a long time, and is the best place to take visitors when you could use a free meal and they want to indulge in everything Auburn. Having someone else pay for these wings makes the whole lunch or dinner better. 

Niffer's doesn't overdo it and they don't shy away from putting out a quality product, it's just at a higher price. 

4. Bob's Victory Grille 

Victory Grille is good for many things, not just the slaw they bring when you sit down. The wings at Victory Grille stand out on the menu with large cursive letters drawing attention, and there is even a heat guide to help customers avoid taking on more than they can handle. What's remarkable about Victory Grille is their large variety of flavors. There is something for everyone. 

The combo baskets are reasonably priced but their fries fall flat in my book. The flavors are fantastic, but Victory Grill prepares their wings drier than I would prefer. For those that prefer dry-rubbed wings, this is the place for you. One positive is they will supply sauce for those who ask. On the subject of dipping, their homemade ranch is not to die for. 

Bob's Victory Grill makes the list for their variety and overall preparation of their wings, but for those that are all about the sauce, they fall short. 

Those that did not make the "winging it right" list. 

5. Willie's Wings, VooDoo Wings, Buffalo Wild Wings and Island Wing Company

The main issue with these wing joints is their mass-produced quality. There are some sauces that reign successful, but smothering poor-quality wings lacking texture and substance just doesn't stand a chance. 

Willie's Wings is cost effective, but their fries come to the customer soggy and the skin of the wings are not crispy. VooDoo has good options, but there has never been a meal I could compare to the ranking joints above. Island Wing Company is far too overpriced for the quality, and don't get me started on Buffalo Wild Wings. 

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