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THE EATBEAT: Buffalo Wild Wings offers busy, fun atmosphere

Marilyn Hagerty

The parking lot was next door to full. There were few booths and tables empty inside the bustling Buffalo Wild Wings on Columbia Road when we arrived around 1:30 p.m. on a recent Saturday.

I mean, this place was jumping. There was a platoon of nimble servers all wearing gold and black shirts. There were dozens of games on screens all over the restaurant and the bar.

And we were running late on lunch. So with Sue Huus (SH), I looked over the menu that includes sharable and side dishes, thin-crust flatbreads, burgers, chicken tenders and popcorn shrimp. Then there are salads, wraps and kids meals. There were many children there on a Saturday afternoon.

After the study, both SH and I ordered side salads and one pulled pork sandwich ($8.49) to split.

We took note of the range of sauces from sweet barbecue and teriyaki all the way up to wild and blazing. I knew from a past experience that you have to respect the “screaming” range of sauces and seasonings.

Since it was Saturday, I ordered a Coors Light beer. SH chose cola. All in all, our choices were good. The salads were crisp and better than average. The pulled pork came with Buffalo Wild Wings sauce and coleslaw. The fries were average.

Our check for two came to $23.79.

We visited with James Smith, an assistant manager, who said honey barbecue boneless wings are hands down favorites at Buffalo Wild Wings.

The people at Buffalo Wild Wings say they are always busy. “It’s crazy,” said our server.

A senior at UND told me recently she likes Buffalo Wild Wings because of the fun atmosphere and the games on the screens. She likes the wings with the many different sauces.

She especially enjoys the welcome feel of Buffalo Wild Wings on weekends.

Another steady customer said the things he likes best are the atmosphere with beer, wings and sports. He asks, “What guy wouldn’t like that?”

He finds the wait staff generally friendly and helpful. And he notices the efficient way of delivering orders. They have runners for food if the waiter or waitress is too busy.

On the downside, the food at times seems too rushed and like fast food rather than a sit-down restaurant. My friend is not happy about the recent switch from Coke to Pepsi. And as for price, he feels Buffalo Wild Wings seems a little too proud of their food and beverages.

All that said, this steady customer continues as a steady customer.

The Grand Forks Wild Wings is one of 600 in 41 states. The company got started 30 years ago in Ohio. The local owner, Todd LaHaise, also has restaurants in Fargo.

Buffalo Wild Wings

Owner: Todd Lahaise

Managers: James Smith, Jeff Groven

Hours: 11 to 1 a.m.

Seating: 270

Signature item: Honey barbecue boneless wings

Report card: A very popular spot along Columbia Road keeps people of all ages coming for wings. The menu has the kind of food people enjoy with one another while watching sports. Even when crowded, the staff manages to keep delivering orders. Prices are reasonable.

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