Pizza Hut is placing some big bets on the wing industry by launching a national television advertising campaign during March Madness to promote it's WingStreet wings. According to Pizza Hut the WingStreet concept has now been rolled out to over 5,000 locations nationwide so chances are good that there is a Pizza Hut/WingStreet location near you. All of this awareness as well as a limited time promotion of 8 wings for $6 prompted me to give WingStreet a try - here's what I found:
The Wings: WingStreet deep fries their wings at each location which gives it a huge advantage over other pizza chains that just warm up their wings in an oven. The wings come with breading or without breading (I highly recommend the ones without breading as the breaded ones have too much breading and taste more like regular fried chicken) and tossed in one of eight sauces - including Buffalo Mild, Buffalo Medium, Buffalo Burnin' Hot, Spicy Asian, Spicy BBQ, Honey BBQ, Lemon Pepper and Garlic Parmesan.
I had a chance to try the Buffalo Mild, Buffalo Medium, Buffalo Blazin' Hot, and Spicy BBQ - see some pictures below.
So, here's the deal, I'm a pretty tough critic when it comes to wings. I've been a lot of places and have eaten a lot of wings and feel like I know a pretty good wing when I come across one. That being said I really didn't have very high expectations for WingStreet given it's a nationwide chain that was birthed from a pizza restaurant - and I'd say that overall my expectations were met and just a little bit exceeded. Are WingStreet wings the best buffalo wings in your town? Likely not. Are they a better than the wings that you'd get delivered alongside a pizza from most places across the country? Heck yes!
WingStreet wings definitely benefit from being deep fried instead of baked which ensures that the meat is moist while the skin is crispy - even when delivered to your door. This fact alone gives them a huge leg up over other chains like Dominos or Papa Johns who haven't invested in deep fryers for their restaurants. When it comes to sauces, I would say that the sauces I had were good but also left a bit to be desired in regards to having the punch and uniqueness of flavor that good wing joints tend to deliver. In regards to presentation, I felt like WingStreet needs to do some work in order to deliver on the true buffalo wing experience - wings, celery, blue cheese. My first order of wings came with none of the above and my second order came with only a mini-tub of ranch dressing which is a major wing faux pas from my perspective.
The Final Word: If you need your wing fix and want to stay at home and have a solid batch of wings delivered quickly to your door with or without a pizza - you need to give WingStreet a try. If you are going out specifically for wings or looking for a good carryout option - I would probably steer you more toward your local wing joint or one of the more wing-focused chain restaurants like WingStop or Buffalo Wild Wings. Lastly, I really do love what Pizza Hut is doing for the world of the wing by taking WingStreet out to the masses and creating a clear line of separation between their wings and the typically crappy wings that you get from a pizza restaurant. The more options that people have for good wings, the happier we'll all be.