It's easy to focus on the "Wing" in it's name, but I should have focused on the "Stop".
  • It's easy to focus on the "Wing" in it's name, but I should have focused on the "Stop".
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Wingstop

1901 El Cajon Boulevard, University Heights

What happens when you don't keep up with the fast food industry? You fill up on wings, and hate yourself for it.

Apparently Wingstop has more than 600 locations worldwide, including 6 or 7 here in San Diego, one of them next to my favorite Laundromat in North Park. I had no idea. Is it because I've DVR'd myself out of sitting through commercials? Or am I just too enamored of burrito shops to notice?

I'm not a fan of fast food chains. There's that feeling you get after eating at one, where you're simultaneously undernourished yet unable to think about food. This summer marks 20 years I haven't eaten McDonald's, and I didn't need to see Super Size Me to know I'm better off for it. Basically any business model that involves siphoning money out of a community in exchange for malnutrition and obesity gets a thumbs down, and I don't care how good the Happy Meal toy is.

(Obviously, I'm not including In'n'Out in this conversation — and btw, if you don't like the fries it's probably because you've forgotten what unprocessed potatoes taste like.)

So yeah, I was surprised to discover Wingstop is a fast food chain, partly because they serve bottled beer, but mostly because they're not entirely fast. They don't heat up wings in the microwave, but actually make them to order with the sauce of your choice, including Teriyaki, Cajun, Hickory Smoked BBQ and the imposingly hot Atomic. There's also

the spicy "Original" flavor, which is actually your typical standard Buffalo sauce. I dunno, maybe there's some trademark issue that prevents them from saying so.

I decided to go for the so-called boneless wings because I had clothes in the dryer at the coin-op next door and thought it might be less messy. I was wrong, making me perhaps the only person on Earth who needs to be told not to eat wings just before folding clean laundry.

Boneless Wings, breaded, fried and smothered in BBQ sauce. Enjoyable enough if you ignore the warning signs from your body. Wing Stop.

Boneless Wings, breaded, fried and smothered in BBQ sauce. Enjoyable enough if you ignore the warning signs from your body. Wing Stop.

Sauce-wise, I opted for Original, BBQ, and Cajun. It took ten or fifteen minutes, but the boneless wings — more like nuggets really — came out smothered with flavor and piping hot, which meant waiting another couple of minutes.

So, technically this chain may not qualify as fast food. The chicken was of better quality than chicken nuggets I remember eating as a kid, and the breaded crust handled well amid the onslaught of sauce. My mouth more or less approved.

For a few minutes at least. Then that malnutritious feeling set in, and the aftertaste of having eaten cheap food (they run a 60 cents per wing special on Mondays and Tuesdays).

I know — nobody eats fast food for their health. But I cannot fathom why someone would be so hard up for wings to go to a cheap restaurant that serves almost nothing else. There's no atmosphere to speak of at Wingstop, and they don't serve food quickly, so if you're hankering for wings, just do what you've always done: hit your favorite sports bar and wash 'em down with some tasty beer.

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Comments

Ken Harrison April 2, 2014 @ 6:44 a.m.

I agree. My one and only stop at Wing Stop I was not impressed. The real wings with bones in them were small and meatless. Those is Kearny-ville should try Ranch 88 or Jasmine's food to go wings. Or any Asian buffet's wings. Much better. Even Albertsons has good wings - if 4 different flavors. I always wonder what happens to the rest of the chicken? If we're eating millions of wings, we're not eating millions of thighs, legs, and breast. 2 wings leaving 6 other pieces????

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dwbat April 2, 2014 @ 3:12 p.m.

The rest of the chicken we DO eat. In restaurants, KFC, delis, frozen food, chicken "nuggets" and in chicken soup/chicken pot pies.

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jnojr April 2, 2014 @ 10:09 a.m.

I've never been to Wing Stop. I like Wings 'N Things.

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Ian Pike April 2, 2014 @ 1:30 p.m.

Why doesn't In N Out count as fast food?

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Ian Anderson April 2, 2014 @ 4:23 p.m.

Because there's always a long line at the drive thru.

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Ian Anderson April 2, 2014 @ 4:25 p.m.

Naw, really just because I like the way they treat their employees, and enjoy all the hubbub created by the "secret menu".

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Ken Harrison April 2, 2014 @ 5:30 p.m.

In N Out breaks all the rules. They are so far superior above the rest of any chains, that they don't count for fast food, calorie counting, vegetarians, no carbs, all rules are off for In N Out.

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Ian Pike April 3, 2014 @ 8:49 p.m.

Classic In N Out fallacy. Lots of people want to excuse In N Out Burger of being fast food, because it's just a smidge better than other fast food joints, and they have a habit of treating their employees pretty well.

Unfortch, you're still eating 2000 calories of fatty meat, milk shake, and deep fried potatoes with every double double animal style meal.

It's freaking delicious, and I love it to death, but pretending it's anything less than junk food isn't very honest!

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Ian Pike April 3, 2014 @ 8:50 p.m.

Skip the boneless wings. Not any delicious cartilage to chew off the ends! Best part.

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