Between The Buns and its un-broken wings

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By: Michael Tomko
miketomko@outlook.com

Michael Tomko

Between the Buns is a small sports bar chain here in Michiana. They have a restaurant in Osceola and South Bend and added an Elkhart location in the old Matterhorn restaurant a few years after I moved out here.

Back in the day, the Osceola location was a “happening place.” They would have Murder Mystery Nights and Speed Dating. I used to hang out at the South Bend place a lot and do the karaoke there.

These days, Between the Buns has grown up and is pretty much just a restaurant and bar. They do still do some live trivia on selected nights.

This place does have the most extensive sports décor of any place I have seen. Every table has a theme to it and contains various pictures and artifacts of a sports team. There is also a pattern of pennants or flags of some league hanging on the walls.

Between the Buns is also famous for having individual TVs at each of the booths. This can come in handy if you have a group of people wanting to watch a certain game that they might not put on the giant TVs scattered around the place.

I have eaten here many times and can say that their wings are very good, but I almost never order them and here is why: They don’t separate the wing before cooking. (This blog is about broken wings, not intact wings.)

But before I get into detail on that bad, I’ll tell you about the good.

The sauce is awesome. I get the “Hotter than Hot” which is a 3 out of 4 on the heat scale. It is very buttery. It’s got only a slight vinegary tang, but the sweetness of the butter gives you that “yum” factor without the sugary mess of a barbecue sauce. The heat also sneaks up on you (which I like). At first bite it will taste weak, but you will get that tingle that will stay in your mouth long after you quench your thirst with a beer.

The chicken is unbreaded and comes out hot on your plate. Cost is also really good here. Six for $8 seems high, but when you factor in that you actually get two “wings” per wing you get a CPW of 67 cents.

Now for the bad.

A chicken wing has three parts. First there is the drummie, which looks like a drumstick. It has one bone and most of the meat is on one side of the bone. Then there is the wing. There are two small bones with most of the chicken in between them and it is covered with skin. Last, there is the nubbin. No one eats the nubbin and it is usually cut off and discarded.

Here, they serve the whole wing — all three parts intact. This causes a problem, as it is really hard to eat. You have to either separate the three parts yourself, which is very hard to do without a sharp knife, or you just pull the drummie and wing apart and eat around the whole wing.

This is usually very messy, as the other part you are not eating off of can brush against your face, getting sauce on it. You also handle the wing a lot more which puts more sauce on your fingers instead of in your mouth.

Then you got the nubbin, which just gets in the way. You can’t really eat it. Well, you could suck on it and get all the sauce off, but no one wants to see that.

The full wing does look good on a plate though. If you look at the picture, you can see how large the intact wings are — it looks like you are eating a real piece of chicken. Some people may love it this way, but I prefer my wings broken.

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