Championship Wings

Two different styles of a tavern classic go toe-to-toe.

In one corner, an expertly prepared and finely presented incarnation. In the other, the traditional go-to version with Rust Belt origins. In anticipation of this month's Super Bowl, we tackle the task of deciding which wing reigns supreme. But no matter who you're rooting for, everyone's a winner in this matchup.

Mulligan's Pub and Grille

As a Midwesterner, my wings only need two ingredients: wings and sauce. I want wings I look ridiculous eating. I want wings that leave a mark — a pile of mangled napkins, streaks of sauce on the side of my beer glass and stained fingers. Half the fun of eating wings is the uncivilized act of licking your fingers before diving back in. These Buffalo sauce wings from Mulligan's Pub and Grille (pictured left) are the perfect kind of spicy with a kick to wake you up in time for the second half of the big game, and they hide a crispy texture beneath the deluge of sauce. The best part: 10 wings only sets you back $4.50 on wing night, every Tuesday and Thursday. 6131 Highland Road, Highland Heights, 440-461-2434, // Jason Brill

The Greenhouse Tavern

It's time we elevate our game. We've been fed mediocre wings and crappy football for too long. So eating the Greenhouse Tavern's crispy chicken wings confit ($12, pictured right) is like watching Peyton Manning play quarterback: You immediately understand that everything you've experienced before isn't in the same league. Cooked in chicken and duck fat for 12 hours before frying, these wings tackle your taste buds with crisp skin, fall-off-the-bone tenderness and a mix of roasted jalapeno, lime juice, vinegar, scallions and garlic. It may seem out of bounds, but you'll be sopping up every last bit. And that's the true test of winning wings — what's left behind. 2038 E. Fourth St., Cleveland, 216-443-0511, // Steve Gleydura

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