Dining With Denise Neil

Saturday’s Wingapalooza drew a sell-out crowd, named wing winners (+video)

On Saturday, I was one of six judges at Intrust Bank Arena’s Wingapalooza, a first-year event that offered attendees a chance to sample 23 different chicken wings prepared by local restaurants. The event was a success, to say the least. The arena sold out all 2,000 tickets, and the floor of the main bowl was filled with a diverse crowd of people gnawing away.

The variety of ways restaurants prepared the wings was fun to see. Some were fried. Some were smoked. Some were coated in cheese. There were Asian-inspired wings, Mexican-inspired wings and several classic Buffalo wings.

Before the event started, the judges blindly sampled all 23 to choose a winner. The panel, which also included Chester’s Chophouse owner Bobby Lane and Good Life Guy Bower, narrowed it down to about six that we loved. From there, we chose a wing winner, perfectly prepared by The Anchor. It was a fried wing with complex flavors and a hint of herbiness.

The arena also awarded a Lord of the Wings trophy, chosen by popular vote by attendees. The winner was The Hungry Heart, the gastropub at 222 S. Commerce. The runner-up was Wings & Things, and the second runner up with River City Brewing Co., which had one of the longest lines throughout the event.

Watch my video to get a flavor for the event, which organizers say will return next year.