I moved into my house in Elkhart about 10 years ago. It took me a year to realize the building six blocks away was a bar. It was an old, run-down hole-in-the-wall called The Bulldog. Some of the longtime regulars there would still call it Joe and Eddie’s. If you had the privilege of chatting with those who had frequented the place for an even longer time, they’d tell you the bar used to be across the street by the river and that where you were sitting used to be its parking lot.
The Bulldog’s food had gone a little downhill from its glory days, but they had some good wings. They were jumbo-sized, with a hot barbecue sauce.
I remember one night when two of my friends and I watched an NFL playoff game at the bar and took out 50 of them. The bartender told me a couple of weeks later that someone had called the owner the next day to complain about the smell coming from the three guys at the bar. I could say the smell wasn’t from the wings themselves, but they were probably the main cause.
Well, a few years ago, The Bulldog’s owner decided to sell the place. Luckily for me, the building didn’t turn into a bank, cellphone store or pawn shop. It became another bar – Miles Lab. This place is more upscale in its food, beer and décor. The restaurant put in a bunch of flat screen TVs for watching games. The beer tap is larger than The Bulldog’s was and contains mostly microbrews.
With Miles Lab’s opening, the wings changed too – pretty much everything about them but their size. I always tell Miles Lab’s owner the place has the second best wings I have ever eaten.
The wings there are fried. They have a light breading, which is good because they really suck up the homemade sauce.
When you bite into the wings, the first taste you’ll get is of the Buffalo sauce. The taste is awesome, but it lacks heat. I’d give it a one out of four on the heat scale. “The Lab’s“ wings were huge, like The Bulldog’s, but I was never really enticed to order them, considering all the other good food offered at the restaurant.
That was until the restaurant introduced its habanero sauce.
I was first turned onto habanero during one of my Fantasy Football drafts, when a guy brought over habanero-flavored Doritos. Unfortunately, most wing sauces that use habanero rate a 4 on the heat scale, which kills the flavor of the pepper. I couldn’t enjoy the sauce on a wing until Miles Lab introduced theirs. Not only do the wings have that rich habanero taste, but they are only a three out of four on the heat scale, which allows you to enjoy both the heat and the flavor.
The price is set at $8.60 for a pound of wings, which could be between eight and 10 depending on the size that day. A P12 (price per wing when you buy 12) of 86 cents is a very square deal for wings. Factor in the quality, and you will be hard pressed to find a better deal at other places.
I’ll admit there are many, many good food choices to order at The Lab, but dedicating a dinner there to some spicy jumbo habanero wings is a must.