Coming from California, "wings" were relegated to the kitchsy appetizer section of the menu where they rubbed elbows with loaded potato skins and onion ring pyramids. Bright orange and sticky, the single celery stick was like the white flag of surrender, the diner had given in to an "everyone knows that's tasty but terrible for you" dish. And then I moved to the south, where not only did people consume wings as an entree, but there were whole restaurants devoted to them.
Despite having been here over 6 years, wings were still something I just didn't really get. The few times I had tried them, they were nothing to write home about, and generally left me wishing I'd just ordered the chicken strips. Still, I am nothing if not persistent, so when a reader dropped Cricket's into the suggestion box I found myself eyeing their wing selection.
The hubby and I headed in on a Friday night. Since Cricket's is set back from the road, the full parking lot was our first clue that we were in the right spot. Upon entering the restaurant, we were waved to seat ourselves and choose a booth against one wall. The staff was kept busy juggling not only a full dining room but also a brisk carry out business.
After some time spent studying the menu, I settled on a daily special, an 8 wing basket with bar-b-que sauce and ranch for dipping. The basket came with fries and tea but I opted for a water. The hubby went with a chili cheese burger and a diet coke.
As we waited for our food, we surveyed the restaurant. Decorated in red, black, and white, one corner sported children's coloring pages. A flat screen TV hung behind the bar and additional seating included tables, booths, and a handful of outdoor seats. Despite being busy, there were still some open tables.
Our dinners appeared quickly. My wings, shown above, were a nearly even mix of wings and small drumsticks. The skins were crispy from frying and the sauce, a tangy, vinegar based bar-b-que sauce left a lingering light burn on my lips and tongue. Those who like spicy dishes would have found it very mild, but those who don't tolerate spicy food would probably find it a little much. I greatly enjoyed the crunch of the crispy skin and was a little sad as I finished the last piece.
The number of fries seemed skimpy at first glance, in part due to the large basket which dwarfed them, but my dinner was the perfect amount of food for me. Those with larger appetites will want to opt for the 12 piece basket. The fries themselves featured a crunchy exterior and lightly applied salt. The hubby enjoyed the salt level, but I would have preferred just a touch more. The decorative stalk of celery was crunchy and actually had a nice flavor.
The hubby enjoyed his burger, calling it "tasty".
We enjoyed Crickets. After trying their wings I immediately wanted to go back and get more wings, so they seem to have brought me one step closer to being a true southerner. ; ) The service was friendly, the check arrived promptly, and the menu unexpectedly featured both dumpling appetizers and a sub $2 price on soft drinks. We will absolutely be back.
Total for the meal: $17.75 (includes one daily special, one chili cheese burger, and one soft drink)
View Larger Map