The search for the best chicken wing is a never ending journey for wing connoisseurs. Once you think, for that brief second, that you have found the best wings and your appetite is suddenly satisfied in each and every way you are wrong. With the sudden realization that if the wings before you are this good, then just think about the ones out there that are even better you just need to track them down!

WingFest is a haven for people like this (myself included).

Yesterday, nearly 2,000 people took to Bailey Auditorium in the West Loop. This sold out show was filled with hungry mouths, party spirits and red Solo cups full of beer or empty, depending on how many hot wings you just consumed.

Over 50,000 wings were taken down; insane. Part of that consumption was the wing eating contest to crown Lord and Lady of the Wings.

This year’s Lady of the Wings was to no surprise, Katrina Fraley. In the 3-minutes allotted to eat as many wings as possible she finished 12 total. This year makes it the 4th year in a row that she has reigned Lady over this holy, saucy land. For the title of Lord, Leo Perez took over. This newcomer to the challenge took down 15 wings in 3-minutes.

Alright, I know you are wanting to get to the good part now. Did your favorite make it? Will you be visiting a new restaurant tonight?

Here are the 18 participants in the 16th Annual Chicago WingFest:

Mahoney s Pub & Grille
The Cubby Bear
Reggie s
Timothy O Toole s
Wild Goose Bar and Grill
Estrella Negra
Lottie s
Lincoln Square Lanes
The Pony
Buffalo Wings & Rings
12 Street Wings
Unite Urban Grill
Gators Wing Shack

WingFest Winners:

The categories were laid out and each restaurant was able to submit wings into 2 different categories to be judged:

Mild Wings, Hot Wings, BBQ Wings and Exotic Wings.

After a double-blind judging competition, the wings that rose to the top of their league were announced:

Best Mild Wing: Gators
Best Hot Wing: Output
Best BBQ Wing: Buffalo Wings & Rings
Best Exotic Wing: Estrella Negra
Rookie of the Year: Whisk
Best of the Fest: Buffalo Wings & Rings

The Best of the Fest was determined by tallying to see who had the most cumulative points.

Having the news grace my ears did somewhat surprise me. I am not disappointed at all to hear that Buffalo Wings & Rings has risen to the top, but there is a little nostalgia tied to it. At one point in my life you could have have found me in the back of a Buffalo Wings & Rings slinging chicken wings like it was my job wait, it was. Even working there, I never grew tired of eating their food. I mean, who doesn’t love discounted wings after their shift?

This chain restaurant may have origins in Cincinnati, but they have left their mark in Chicago.


The Chicago WingFest isn’t entirely about mowing down wings and drinking beer it is a charity event. The last 16 years of WingFest has brought in over $150,000 for various charities.

This year, $5,000 was raised for Chicago Neighbors United. CNU is a non-profit, community based organization which provides educational scholarships to inner city youth residing in the 27th Ward of Chicago and assists with various neighborhood programs throughout the year.

What do you think of these results? Will you venture out in search of the next best wing, or stick with your current favorite?


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