World of Wings Café & Wingery (WOW) has replaced Pizza Del Rey as LMU freshmen's late-night destination for not-so-nutritious but delicious food. Founded in 2001 by Paul Ballard in Covington, La., the restaurant has spread its wings and soared across the country, laying little wing-eggs in over 50 locations throughout the Southwest.
WOW allows eaters to pick any sauce on the menu and apply it to chicken wings and tenders. On today's menu are four orders of wings and two orders of tenders. The wing sampler includes the Texas sauce, Buffalo XIII, Paradise City and Key West. The tenders can receive the Parisian or Santa Fe treatment.
The sauce names are largely arbitrary. Well-traveled students may be able to connect the geographical references in the sauce names to corresponding flavors of the culture, but many LMU freshmen will not know what to expect when they ask for a five-piece order of Paradise City wings. And although the staff struggles when asked to describe a sauce, they do allow customers to sample any sauce requested, so be patient when deciding on a new sauce.
The Buffalo XIII is by far WOW's deadliest sauce. Adventurous eaters will relish the spicy payload Buffalo XIII delivers to their palates. Wingthusiasts beware: The Buffalo XIII is not for the faint of heart - if this wing were any spicier you'd have to sign a waiver. That's a fact.
But say you are taking a fine young freshman out on a date to WOW. No sense in getting flustered in the name of romance, so the Buffalo XIII should be replaced with the Key West: straight-up honey barbecue sauce with a perfect balance of honey and tang. Consider it the chaser wing for the Buffalo XIII.
Following the Key West is the underwhelming Paradise City, a sauce in no way deserving of such a grand title. Paradise City is a variation on the sweet chili sauce currently featured at McDonald's. The only way to enjoy it is to complement the weak flavor with a strong dipping sauce - Southwestern Ranch, for example.
The final wing sauce sampled was the Texas sauce. Avoid the Texas sauce at all costs. Over three taste testers sampled this sauce and not a single one was able to identify the taste. While WOW may have succeeded in creating a totally unique flavor, they have also succeeded in making that flavor taste like Cousin It drenched in sweet and sour sauce. It's just not cool.
Next up is the tenders, which were dressed with Parisian and Santa Fe sauce. The tenders overall are cleaner and easier to eat, but decidedly less fun than the wings. However, the Parisian and Santa Fe sauces were real winners.
The Parisian sauce tastes like what a spice cabinet smells like when you open it. It's certainly not a typical taste for a chicken tender, but it's a very tasty one indeed.
The Santa Fe is the king of sauces at WOW. It's like the Buffalo XIII, but without that extra ingredient that makes the eater red in the face and drenched in tears. It's a buffalo sauce you can take home to your mother.
Order to delivery took approximately nine minutes, but this was a Friday afternoon and the line was short. Expect large orders to take a little longer during the dinner rush.
All in all, WOW is a huge step up from its predecessor for the sole reason that it offers variety. WOW doesn't reinvent the wing-wheel, but since you're buying food with LION Dollars, WOW doesn't have to. But if you're paying out of pocket, go with the nine-piece wing order. For the price of $5.99, you're only paying 67 cents a wing - a deal unmatched elsewhere on the menu.