Wednesday, June 13, 2012
The Wing Shack
759 N Claiborne Ave
New Orleans, LA 70116
On Easter weekend, my girlfriend and I went on a short vacation to New Orleans. We stayed at a fantastic guest house on the north side of the French Quarter which gave us walking access to any cuisine we could imagine. In the 4 days we were there, we had a lot of ups and downs as far as the meals we chose to eat. Some places didn’t live up to the hype and we actually had better dishes of the type back home in Memphis. Even some seafood establishments were not ones that I would return to nor suggest to anyone. On our second night, we had a late-night craving for some wings. I got on Urbanspoon and found an establishment about 4 blocks north of us in the Seventh Ward. Being tourists and all, I decided that walking to the Seventh Ward late on a Saturday night wasn’t the brightest idea so we settled on a pizza from an awesome local bar across the street from the house. I never got over the craving so our quest for wings would continue the following day.
We walked around the entire French Quarter on Easter Sunday, asking several people where to get some good wings. It seemed like a tall order from the lack of feedback we were receiving. I found this quite strange being in the land of soul food. After many failed attempts, we ended up walking all the way back toward our guest house and to the Seventh Ward. There we found The Wing Shack.
The Wing Shack is just that: a shack that sells wings. It’s a small, yellow building incorrectly labeled “Wing Snack” on its sign, and is located about a mile north of the French Quarter. A wing’s throw away from I-10, it’s a take-out place that has windows inside and outside. Inside is where you place your order and they appear to be strict about that. This is where a huge menu hangs on the wall, listing all their 20 flavors. The selections were fairly random so we asked for assistance. I was under the impression that a wing called “5 pepper” would burn my mouth. The lady working on the other side kindly explained that their hottest wings are called “Arizona”. We placed an order for a split 20-piece of hot and Arizona. We then made our way to the outside window where we struck up conversations with some of the locals who said we found the honey hole for wings in NOLA. After less than 10 minutes, our order was ready and we were about to find out if they were right.
We decided to park ourselves under I-10 on a concrete ledge that circled one of many overpass pillars. I went in for the kill and was instantly impressed with the size and tenderness of the wings. The flavor of the sauce was incredible. Nothing tasted too powerful like many I have had in the past with too much pepper or extracts. These tasted as fresh as I’ve ever had. I had some of the hot as well and they were just as good but without the full kick. I had a good sweat going upon completion and I then wished I would have ordered some “ghetto punch” to cool off the burn. I noticed while licking my fingers that we weren’t the only ones who have sat at this pillar, enjoying Wing Shack’s glory. Chicken bones littered the concrete and that gave us a good chuckle.
We started making our way back to the guest house when my girlfriend noticed an open bar. On Easter Sunday, we were having a hard time finding anything open outside of the Quarter so we poked our heads inside this establishment. Here we sat and had a few beers with some of the nicest people I have ever met on my journeys. The local NOLA folks took great care of their Memphis neighbors during our stay which will result in many more returns to the great city. During those times, I have no doubt we will visit The Wing Shack again.