New Paradigm serves a different style of un-broken chicken wings with unique sauce

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By: Michael Tomko
miketomko@outlook.com

Mike Tomko

Down by the tracks in downtown Elkhart, there is a little bar called New Paradigm Brewing Company. It is located on the ground floor of the old Central Block Building that was built in 1888.

Yes, eighteen-freakin’-eighty-eight! That building is 126 years old. My great-grandparents weren’t even born yet when this building was built. People then were still 12 years away from worrying about the Y1.9K bug that could infect their slide rules and accounting ledgers.

Veterans from the Civil War probably helped build that building and maybe even enjoyed a beer while sitting in a bar on the first floor. (I’m just assuming there was a bar on the first floor.) This building is so old that the Cubs have actually won a World Series since it was built.

It just blows my mind that we have buildings this old just sitting downtown that people drive by every day and probably don’t even notice. From looking at old pictures of the downtown area, the place was the Hotel Golden in the early 1900s.

When I moved out here in the early 2000s there was a bar called Harrison’s Landing, but after changing ownership last year it became New Paradigm Brewing Company.

New Paradigm specializes in craft beers. They even brew their own beer and hope to be licensed to sell their beer to the public soon. It is an actual bar where they do not let in anyone under 21 years of age and have bands and parties on the weekends. They serve up some fresh food there too.

I ordered the half-pound lunch portion of wings and out came five golden un-broken whole wings next to a side of the house “Bitch Slap” sauce. I admit that I’m not a fan of un-broken wings, as I stated in my blog about Between the Buns. At least they came out with the sauce on the side, rather than on the wings, as it made the wing dis-assembly less messy.

The texture of the chicken was similar to Nelson’s Port-a-pit that you get at those fundraisers on the side of the road on weekends. It was really loose, almost fall-off-the-bone — more like chicken that was baked than deep fried. The skin was crisp, though, it tasted really good dipped in the sauce.

The sauce is where these wings really shine. New Paradigm has homemade sauces with unique names and flavors. There was no traditional Buffalo sauce so I went with the really, really hot “Bitch Slap” sauce. It was extremely hot, about a 4 out of 4 on the heat scale. I’m not sure what was in it or even how to describe the flavor, but it had a slightly sweet fragrant taste to it (in a good way).

It worked well with all that extra heat as most wings that are very spicy have no flavor because the heat drowns it all out. The burning even stayed with me through my ride from lunch back to the office.

The size of the wings are on the small side, but they don’t charge a whole lot for them. At lunch you get 5 whole wings for $5. When you separate each wing, the CPW is 50 cents. I think the price is a little higher at dinner when they are not on special, but for the size the price is still middle-of-the-road.

Although the sauce was superb, I can’t really say these are wings I would order again. I believe it’s more of a personal preference than a quality thing, though. The whole wing, loose chicken and small size just don’t appeal to me, but the next person might think they are the greatest thing in the world.

What I am really looking forward to in this place is tasting the house-brewed beer when they finally get it flowing through their own taps.

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