Buffalo Wild Wings wins hearts

No one can deny that Ames is a great city: home to Iowa State University, a nice high school, and a friendly community. But until recently, Ames was missing something important – something that was keeping Ames from being one of the greatest cities in the country. I know what you’re thinking, but no, we already have a Chinese Karaoke bar. We’re talking about Buffalo Wild Wings: a combination restaurant and sports bar. Prior to its opening, our town was delegated to second class status. Residents and visitors alike were forced to eat their dinners and watch big March Madness games at either West Towne Pub or Wallaby’s. Though both are fine establishments, no eatery nor sports bar can compare to BWW, as Buffalo Wild Wings is affectionately referred to. On March 21, this sad void for our little town was filled. Although spring break had just ended, a select few felt as though their vacations had just started – at least, for their taste buds. Over 100 people, including several Ames High students, set up small tents and waited in line outside the new yellow building on Duff Ave. as early as 3 p.m. on the Sunday prior to opening day. All were hopeful of fulfilling the universal dream: free wings from BWW for one whole year. A large sign had been hung outside the empty building months previous promising free wings for the first 100 customers on opening day. This sign proved to be true when the first 100 people in line did, in fact, win six free wings per week for an entire year. For those of you that are bad at math, that’s 312 wings. When asked if he will share his free wings with his friends, one proud winner, junior Michael Elbert replied, “Absolutely not.” Junior Sebastian Barton was also a part of the lucky 100. “I’m extremely excited for free wings,” he said. Later that week, we decided to grab dinner among the madness. Besides various burgers and ribs, Buffalo Wild Wings’ main items are their namesake Buffalo wings, which are offered in either traditional or boneless style. The customer has to make a tough life-decision when it comes to the 18 different sauce choices. We decided to sample four kinds of sauces on both traditional and boneless wings: Teriyaki, Spicy Garlic, Caribbean Jerk, and the world famous Flamin’ sauce. We started out with the easiest to eat: the Teriyaki. Sweet and crunchy, it was almost a perfect combination. And, ranked as the second mildest sauce (we didn’t order the most mild one–we’re not wimps), our mouths were, rather, in heaven. We moved on to our next sauce: the Spicy Garlic. Described on the menu as a “tasty, spicy, garlicky good sauce,” we were pleasantly surprised by the taste, but a little taken aback by the spiciness. Still, we toughed it out, knowing that the worst (or best, depending on how you look at it) was yet to come. Next in line for our tasting, and in this case, tropical, pleasures was Caribbean Jerk. At first sweet, the spicy aftertaste stayed in our throats for about 15 minutes. Still, this exotic and delicious sauce made from red peppers was only a warm up for what was looming next: the Flamin’ wings. Now came the fear factor. Listed as their hottest sauce on the menu, Flamin’ proved to be just that. WEB reporter Bryan Graveline took one mini-bite, and his mouth hurt for twenty minutes. Seriously, don’t bite into these little pieces of fire with an empty water glass assuming a waitress will be around shortly to get you a refill. You will regret this decision when you have only one damp carrot stick to douse the 5-alarm fire raging in your mouth. It turns out that some high schoolers braver than us can, however, stomach these wings. Mid-way through our meal, we looked up to see freshman Arturo Oropeza banging his fists on the table, eyes bloodshot and looking like he was about to break down in manly tears. His friends were cheering, and he had just finished the Flamin’ Challenge: eating 12 Flamin’ wings in under 5 minutes. Impressive, right? “I just want to say, it’s burning like a hot fever! It’s terrible!” Oropeza said amid gasps for air. “My lips hurt real bad!” But don’t let the Flamin’ Challenge deter you from enjoying a meal at BWW. There are plenty of mild wings to have for a nice evening out or during that big game for your bracket. Unless you would like to look like victims of the chainsaw massacre, Buffalo Wild Wings probably is not the right place to take out your prom date to dinner. However, it is the perfect place to go to have all of your carnivorous dreams fulfilled. The next time you and your friends need a place to eat, give Buffalo Wild Wings a chance. The Chinese Karaoke bar has enough business already.