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May 25, 2010

Alice Eats: Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar

555 Shelburne Road, Burlington 489-5083

003 I am more than a little obsessed with the business of chain food. Nannerpuss and Uncle O' Grimacey are practically my religious patriarchs. If I weren't a food writer, I would want to work in Research and Development at Friendly's. I'm not kidding. Whenever a fast food joint debuts a new product, I'm the first one in line. How could I not pay the same respect at the grand opening of Vermont's first Buffalo Wild Wings?

Just an hour and a half after opening its doors, the place was packed. I scored a two-top right by the bar, with a view of multiple TVs, showing news and sports. There were also several video games peppered throughout the room, and a digital jukebox. No question, the sports memorabilia-bedecked eatery is a grown-up playground.

To keep with the theme, I ordered a basket of mini corn dogs. The "maximum taste" promised by the menu was delivered in spades. The sweet, texturally complex batter wrapped around juicy little dogs. Honey mustard sauce on the side was creamy, and not so saccharine as to overwhelm the kid-like delight of the dish.

For optimal variety in one entrée, I went with the ribs and boneless wings meal (pictured).

There is a reason the restaurant is not called "Buffalo Wild Ribs." The baby-sized bones held swaths of shrivelled, overcooked meat. Bummer. Next time, I'll stick with the wings.

The nuggets of white meat were breaded and lightly coated in Parmesan Garlic sauce, which, somewhat to my surprise, tasted authentically of both pungent cheese and garlic. Fresh herbs gave the sauce even more character.

I was also a fan of the traditional, on-the-bone wings. Fried, but not breaded, I particularly enjoyed those dipped in Mango Habanero sauce. The sweetness soothed my palate as the hot peppers smacked me upside the head. Planning on trying BWW yourself? I'll be there watching the next WWE pay-per-view over plates of cheeseburger slammers and pulled pork-topped BBQ nachos.

We too were there the first night it opened, and sat at a high table in the bar area. The place was packed. The service was great, although I think they had a lot of extra people working since it was their first night. We had a pleasant waitress, and we were her first customers! She did great! We ordered chicken nachos, which were very good. I had a cajun chicken sandwich, with ranch dressing instead of the blue cheese it said it came with, and it was good except really blackened and a little too spicy for me. Shoestring fries were so-so, and awful after they cooled off. My husband got a side salad which he said was very good. It offered a little outdoor seating too, which we chose not to do since it was about 89 degrees out there! We loved all the tv's, and thought the place would do well. We'll be back for another try.

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