By Sean Tamm
DeLand is famed for the Wings mural by Erica Group, located in Persimmon Lane just west of Woodland Boulevard, but maybe the town should be known for its wing joints, as well.
A group of locals and I decided to put this theory to the test and created a restaurant crawl to sample the best chicken wings DeLand has to offer.
We solicited suggestions for the best wings in town, settled on four spots, and here is our story.
After the success of the venture, we expect this to become our new tasty tradition.
City Limits Taproom
2620 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand
The first thing that stood out at City Limits was the other patrons already chowing down on wings, presumably on their weekly pilgrimage to satisfy their craving.
The outdoor back patio, under the tall live oaks, is an ideal location to host a small group of friends, and the second-story deck completes the relaxed atmosphere.
The sauces were creatively conceived and equally well-executed. With flavors like Ginger Miso Lime, Carolina Gold (Mustard BBQ), and Korean Gochujang, you can be confident you will find something new and interesting to try.
The wings are large, crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and well-dressed with the sauce of your choice.
As an added bonus, City Limits had truffle fries and sweet-potato fries, along with a brown-sugar dipping sauce.
We enjoyed these fries the most out of all the locations. By the end of our meal, I could envision my own weekly tradition here.
OB’s Restaurant & Lounge
1750 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand
If you love a biker dive bar, you’ll feel right at home when you step into OB’s. The staff were welcoming, and the neon Coors Light sign really set the mood.
OB’s Buffalo sauce was the most reminiscent of the original sauce developed in Buffalo, New York — it is called “Creamy Mild” on the menu. The other sauce options punched our taste buds with flavors like sweet chili (richly sweet) and garlic butter, making me wish I had a breath mint handy.
Overall, the wings themselves were OK, and were a bit on the small side. If you like your wings milder, with an ice cold beer and a jukebox, OB’s is the spot to try.
Airport Restaurant & Gin Mill
1120 Airport Terminal Drive, on the DeLand Municipal Airport
The Gin Mill was a lively ruckus. You wouldn’t be surprised to see your neighbor there noshing on a burger.
The staff and patrons all contributed to the exuberant energy of the establishment, which was complemented by a live band on the Saturday afternoon when we visited.
The space was perfect for our large group, whose members were ready to share an even larger order of wings. The sauce selection was good — nothing fancy.
The wings came out well-cooked and juicy, but the skins were not crispy. Overall, the wings are classic in every way and will hit the spot if you need a fix, but the best part of the Gin Mill is the atmosphere.
Skip takeout night, and dine in when you visit.
Bethune Grill of Stetson DeLand
595 E. International Speedway Blvd., DeLand, at Sunshine Bowling Center
Earlier this year, Bethune Grill — whose Daytona Beach location has been open since 1997 — took over the old Johnny Rockets location connected to DeLand’s Sunshine Bowling Center.
The space has a 1950s-diner feel, with bright-red booths and a stylish jukebox.
The wings are Goldilocks-sized, which gives way to them being cooked well: crispy outside and juicy inside, with the meat coming easily off the bone.
Bethune’s is famous for “Hot Honey” sauce, which is a mix of sweet and just enough spice that even Grandma would find appealing.
They also have some more classic sauces like Buffalo and BBQ, all of which are perfectly predictable and well-executed.
Typical bowling-alley food is only ever good for 7-year-old birthday parties, but Bethune’s wings bowled a strike for us.
New fame for DeLand?
While we stopped at only four places, we were riddled with suggestions about other formidable wings at other local restaurants, and may have to venture out soon for Wings Crawl No. 2. Email The Beacon with your favorite wings joint: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“DeLand chicken wings” might soon find their fame like the #DeLandWings mural.
— Tamm is a financial adviser with Edward Jones. He and his wife, Paige, live in DeLand’s Northwest Historic District, and Sean Tamm’s office is in Downtown DeLand at 138 W. New York Ave., Suite 5. Email him at email@example.com.