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THE EATBEAT: Sauces run from sweet to sizzling at Buffalo Wild Wings

There are many words to describe the food at Buffalo Wild Wings. Bland is not one of them. The food you get at this grill and bar on South Columbia Road is hot and zesty.

There are many words to describe the food at Buffalo Wild Wings. Bland is not one of them. The food you get at this grill and bar on South Columbia Road is hot and zesty.

I went there the other day for lunch with a group that likes to eat at this place. My companions were Matt "Levi" Glessner (LG), Mary Glessner (MG), Tom Kenville (TK) and Tammi Howard (TH). Then, I went back another day with Sue Huus (SH).

Both times, the place was busy at lunch. There usually is a rush after work in late afternoon before the dinner-hour and late-night crowd.

LG, who often eats lunch there, knows the menu well. He ordered some chili con queso dip with tortilla chips ($5.79) for us to share. I asked for a basket of roasted garlic mushrooms ($4.99).

Then, we got serious about lunch and ordered some traditional and boneless wings that come with your choice of 14 sauces that range from "smiling" to "blazing." TK chose the ribs and boneless wings. And TH ordered from the wraps and Buffalitos section of the menu.

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The best idea with wings is to ask for sweet, teriyaki or mild barbecue sauce and maybe work your way up the line. I hear the sauce requests grow hotter as the night wears on. The wings are served with your choice of celery sticks, bleu cheese or ranch dressing. The celery is a nice contrast. I also like the way celery is included in many of the baskets and extra napkins are provided.

You get six wings for $4.79 and 12 for $4.89. The price goes on up to 50 wings for $31.99. Boneless wings cost a little more. Eight are $6.99 and 50 are $32.99.

Chicken wings are fun to eat. While some people like to chew the bones, the boneless wings are easier to handle. Customers seem divided on their preferences and order about the same of each. The wings were good, but the spicy garlic was a little too much on the sizzling side. Another time, I would go lighter.

While this place specializes in wings, I discovered it also offers a very good lunch of cheeseburger slammers and fries ($6.79). I ordered the burgers in small buns when I met SH there for lunch. She ordered pulled pork slammer plate ($6.79), and we each had a small burger and a small slammer. With the fries and the side of sliced tomatoes and coleslaw, we had a major meal. The cheeseburger slammers were excellent.

There are salads, called grazin' greens, and desserts on the menu. And there are choices for children 12 and younger. You see families in the early evening. There is a variety of seating, including a dining area on one side and another area with tall tables in the bar. Beyond, there are booths in a patio that now extends outdoors.

It's dark inside, but not so dark you need a flashlight. The music is fairly loud. There is a series of 62 TV screens showing more news and sporting events than you can comprehend all at once.

People tend to develop their own favorites when they go to Buffalo Wild Wings. It is, in a way, an art. Wraps are in demand at lunch time.

Manager Jeff Groven has been at Buffalo Wild Wings since the doors opened in April 2002. He started out as a waiter and worked his way up. He says that is the way they do it at Wild Wings.

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Buffalo Wild Wings is one of a string of similar places in 38 states. A Web site says 197 were companies owned at the end of last year, and 363 were operated by franchisers.

Reach Hagerty at mhagerty@gfherald.com or call (701) 772-1055.

Related Topics: FOOD
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