Wing Night at Grotto Bar and Grille
The Grotto Bar and Grille is one of my favorite local hangouts. It’s a complete dive, replete with the cliche dim lighting blurred through a smoky haze, sticky and ill-repaired booths, and a wide selection of TVs with one inexplicably still showing an SD feed. It completely and utterly fits its name with its cave-like atmosphere. However, food and drinks are remarkably inexpensive, staff is kind and helpful, and the space is wide and accommodating. In other words, I love it there. Therefore, I decided it was time to try their wing night.
The Details on Grotto Bar and Grille
Wing night at Grotto Bar and Grille is super awesome. They actually have two wing nights during the week. On Mondays, there are FREE(!!) wings from 8-10 with the purchase of a drink. Did I mention, drinks are around $2 on average, regardless of what you get? That’s quite a steal, perhaps literally. Anyway, I decided to go on Thursday, when whole wings are just $.50 from 8-10. For those of you that aren’t good with math, that equates to $.25 per wing… which might just be one of the cheapest deals in the whole city. Boom.
The good news is, you are allowed to get several wing sauces at once! The only requirement is that you have at least two whole wings per sauce. Since I was getting six whole wings (a dozen normal wings), that worked out just fine for me.
They do have a wide selection of sauces, which they have recently added to. Wing sauces include BBQ, mild, hot, jerk, spicy jerk, minced garlic, garlic parmesan, spicy garlic, honey BBQ, mean gene BBQ, spicy ranch, teriyaki, and caveman fire. Dry rubs include cajun, old bay, season salt, lemon pepper, and ranch dust.
As you can most likely read, celery and extra sauce is $.50 extra. Not a big deal at all – it actually saves me money, since I don’t order it! But for you curious minds out there, a side of ranch didn’t cost anything extra.
Anyway, since I had already tried the garlic parmesan wings here (oops, a non-wing night adventure), I decided to mix things up and go with six spicy garlic and six mean gene BBQ, which was supposed to be a sweet yet spicy BBQ sauce. Since he didn’t have to work in the morning, Drew was also adventurous and went for six hot and six spicy jerk. It did take a while to receive our food after we ordered, but with only one server/bartender on staff for the entire establishment, it wasn’t a huge deal. We knew there would be a wait going into it, so we patiently sat back and chilled.
My favorite wings of the night were the spicy garlic, but… that’s not saying much. Even from this picture, you can probably see a couple glaring errors. One: the wings were just too overcooked. I like a little crunch to my chicken, but… these felt like they were going to crack my teeth. Two: the size was a bit small, even for whole wings. Once you snapped apart the different pieces, they were slightly smaller than your average wing. Additionally, all of our wings were served slightly lukewarm, rather than piping hot.
On to this particular sauce… it was ok, but nothing special. I didn’t taste much garlic, but I did taste the heat. It wasn’t overpowering, but it had a nice, hot flavor. I ended up using the remnants of this sauce to dip my fries and mean gene BBQ into. Speaking of…
The mean gene BBQ. Unfortunately, the sauce was just a bit too sweet, sticky, and thick. It kind of had ketchup vibes going on, which is something I’m not particularly fond of. I didn’t taste a lot of heat, mostly just the sweetness of the barbecue. By the end, I was really struggling to finish these – not because I was full, but because I really didn’t want any more of the goopy sauce. Dipping it in ranch and the leftover hot garlic sauce did help, however.
I think that Drew’s spicy jerk wings definitely had the most potential out of the bunch we tried. They had the same problems as the other wings, but the seasoning they used was definitely the most interesting on my palate. You can see the chunky bits – those parts were delicious! However, one drawback Drew noted was the lack of sauce. As you can see, this is almost a dry rub – there’s no liquid on the bottom of the basket at all.
The hot wings were just your basic hot wing. I didn’t find them to be too overpowering, but it did have a little heat. Certainly not more than I could handle though. Again, as you can see, these were severely undersauced – some parts of the wings weren’t even covered! Drew considered them average, but his rating was ultimately hindered by the lack of sauce to sample.
Perhaps the bright spot of the evening were the fries we also ordered to accompany our wings. If you thought wing night at Grotto Bar and Grille was a bargain… wait until you discover the fries. This heaping basic of fresh cut gloriousness was only $2. Yes, please.
- Can choose different flavors
- Whole wings
- Great price – only $.25 per wing!
- Free ranch with every basket
- Cheap and tasty fries
- Bill was under $20 including tip for four beers, 24 wings, and an order of fries
- Wings were overdone
- Wings were small
- Wings didn’t have enough sauce
- Wings weren’t hot
- Sauce was just ok
- Celery cost extra
I love Grotto… so it pains me to say this… but their wings just aren’t very good. I’ve gotten them before and they were better, but on a wing night, I think they just get too busy to put out quality wings. However, they are the cheapest wings I know of, so they definitely have that going for them. Because they are so close to my house and my favorite bar around, I’m sure I’ll end up eating them again. However, I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to specifically try their wings again. Drew and I both agreed on this one. All of their other food is quite tasty, however, so maybe try that if you stop in for a visit.
P.S. Check out my Pittsburgh Wing Night calendar for up to date information on wing nights in the area! It runs on Google Calendar, so you can easily add it to your own schedule to keep track of wing nights.