If Lemon Pepper Wings have an official hometown, it is Atlanta. It was there where their hip-hop culture and strip clubs gave birth to this cult favorite.
The story goes that folks at strip joints would sprinkle lemon pepper seasoning to deaden the heat from the buffalo sauce. It’s an interesting story that begs the question: Who carries lemon pepper seasoning in their pocket?
According to a poll from the National Chicken Council, the three most popular sauces for dipping your chicken wings are buffalo, BBQ, and ranch. Dry rubs aren’t a big thing in the world of wings unless we’re talking Lemon Pepper.
Lemon pepper was initially used to season fish but has found new life as a crispy wing enhancer. The seasoning mix features granulated lemon zest and black pepper as its two main components.
Lemon Pepper Wing’s creator will probably never be known, much like the history of my beloved hamburger. It’s okay, though; look how well-ground beef patties on a bun have done for themselves.
Let’s EAT Lemon Pepper Wings
NW 79th Street is a great food street. Drive one way, and you can end up at East Side Pizza for a giant slice. Head the other, and it takes you straight to Miami’s old burger joint, Royal Castle.
Along that journey, there is a Snappers Fish & Chicken (1795 NW 79th Street) with lemon pepper wings on its menu. The best part is, no need to get out of your vehicle. Instead, after a short unintelligible conversation at the drive-thru, you pull around, pay at the window, and then park in the front for what is a regular thing, the waiting game.
Everything is fried to order, and when the wings finally arrive, they are super hot. After lifting the container’s lid, my eyes take in the beauties. These are whole wings, so you must do a little work.
Here’s a tip: wait until they cool down enough to separate the flats from the drums or vice versa. I burned my fingers trying to separate them, but it was worth it.
They come with a side of hot sauce and french fries, which is pretty much the standard in the 305.
Crispy AND Dusted
The wings come super crispy and dusted with lemon pepper seasoning. The salty tart flavor wasn’t overpowering, and with each successive bite, you wanted more. The other nuances in the taste include onion, garlic, and a light touch of salt. This combination would work nicely on some freshly popped popcorn too.
A heavy-handed salt could have easily tanked the delicate blend and possibly had you scrambling for blood pressure medication. But, of course, no one needs that in their life, am I right?
The lid of the little hot sauce container was never unearthed. So it doesn’t need it and the fries? Well, they’re of the standard variety with that crispy coating that adds texture but not much flavor.
They’re also better at holding their temperature than their nude counterparts and perfect for dipping since the sauce adheres to them better. Of course, you’re not going to run home and start an Instagram fan page about these fries, but they do their job.
3 More Lemon Pepper Stops
Supreme Sharks Fish & Chicken (1795 NW 79th Street), Lemon Peppers (2701 NW 54th Street), and Wings on Fire (6580 NW 22nd Avenue) drive-thru spots for Lemon Pepper Wings over the following week, Snapper’s still held up relatively well. Was there one that outshined the others?
All four restos serve their food similarly, which holds the heat well but could cause some steaming and, in turn, sogginess of the breading. Each was sampled while still in the restaurant’s parking lot to get an authentic, just-out-of-the-fryer experience.
The prices across the board at all the drive-thrus for six whole wings with french fries will set you back between $6.99 and $8.99 plus tax. After the recent chicken wing drought, you can expect the prices to go up a little unless something changes.
Wings on Fire edged out the others with crispier and better-coated wings. Their lemon pepper blend was more lemony and slightly less peppery than the others. Plus, who knew Wings on Fire had a killer cheesesteak? But that’s a story for another day.
Lemon Pepper Wing Drive-thrus
Lemon Pepper Wings
2701 NW 54th Street
Snappers Fish & Chicken
1795 NW 79th Street
Supreme Sharks Fish & Chips is
CLOSED 5351 NW 27th Avenue
Wings on Fire
6580 NW 22nd Avenue