As the title of this post denotes, this is the first in a new category of posts: Wings Afield. Is this just an excuse to eat wings while we’re traveling? Of course it is.
Omaha, Nebraska is no stranger to the buffalo wing. What might surprise you, though, is that the more common variety there is what they refer to as “char buffed,” – that is, wings that are grilled after being fried and sauced. See our entry on The Corner Bar for our reaction to this style. As you might guess, it’s a deviation in our eyes, and not a worthwhile one. So when I found Ray’s Original Buffalo Wings – and found out Ray is an Omaha dissenter and purist who was raised in Buffalo New York, I had to make the trip.
Ray Bullock originally opened his buffalo wing spot in the 1990s and won several awards, but he and his partner Lorri had other full-time jobs (wing martyrs!) and kids, and had to close. Now, about 16 years later, Ray’s job has come to an end and he’s reopened inside another Omaha bar called The Lemon Drop, now with their son Tom behind the fryer.
After finding a video (see below) of Ray talking about his “secret to great wings,” I had high expectations. Walking down the long hallway behind the bar, and coming across the order window (see pictures) I had a good feeling. The wings were as near to perfect as I’ve had: Crispy, fresh, smothered in sauce that is obviously mixed in-house, and partnered with what I suspect is homemade bleu cheese dressing. All in all, an amazing visit, and one I hope to replicate here at home.
Thanks to Tom (Ray’s son) and Spencer who made me a special order of what were possibly my favorite wings of the past few years. And thanks to Ray for keeping it real and serving up classic, damn near perfect, wings. If you’re in Omaha, get to Ray’s and don’t think twice.
Check out Ray’s take on what makes a good wing. He’s a natural TC Buff Club member. Ray and co: If you’re ever in Minneapolis, hit us up!
|Meat Quality: 9/10|
|Total: 47/50 possible points|
|Notes: Ray’s wings really are some of the best wings I’ve ever eaten. They’re everything a buffalo wing fan wants. Minneapolis: The bar has been set.|
Price: $6.62 for 6 wings. $12.98 for 12.
Address: 5423 South 36th Street, Omaha, NE 68107