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Tony Sacco’s Coal Oven Pizza serves up Italian-style, roasted onion and garlic chicken wings

Purdue football had a bye week a few Saturdays ago, so I decided to take my family out to Tony Sacco’s Coal Oven Pizza in Granger for lunch. Someone suggested trying the roasted onion and garlic wings in a comment under one of my previous blog posts.

Tony Sacco’s is a small chain. It was started in Florida, and most of its restaurants are in Michigan. The local place is a little north of the Grape Road commercial district, in a newer development called Heritage Square. Heritage Square has a grocery store, condos, a hotel, a gym and a few restaurants. It’s kind of like a super-mall, but it’s all outside.

I haven’t spent a lot of time in the Heritage Square. My wife would drag me along to the scrapbooking store when it was located there. That place was huge. She could spend hours looking around at all the supplies. They really needed a husband/boyfriends area in there – just a small area with a TV and a few chairs. Maybe a mini-fridge, or a regular fridge, stocked with beer. If they had something like that, the place may still be there today.

The pizza at Tony Sacco’s is New York-style, which means it is very, very thin. As I’m from the Chicago area, it is not my preferred type, although the kids sure gobbled it up.

But we are not here to talk about the pizza.

The “Italian Style – Roasted Onions and Garlic” wings are good here, I’m not going to argue that. They taste like rotisserie chicken you would get at the grocery store, but with the flavor increased 100-fold. The onion, garlic and oil intensely flavor the wings, which come straight out of the coal oven. It is similar to one of my favorite chicken dishes, Chicken Vesuvio, but without the olive oil flavor.

For cooking wings in an oven, they really do a good job, but there are still pitfalls from not having them not fried. The crispiness of the skin is not there, and the chicken is a little dried out, especially the smaller pieces.

There is, of course, no heat on these wings, giving them a 1 out of 4 on the heat scale. They do have a buffalo sauce, but the server said it was nothing unique, so I didn’t bother tasting it on this visit.

The big negative I have with these wings is the price. You can get 12 for $13.90. That is a whopping CPW (cost per wing) of 116 cents. With the number of wings I eat, I would have to take out a loan to supply my culinary habit. Heritage Square is an upper-class type of development, and it probably caters to the Notre Dame alumni who stay in the hotel seven times a year. There is big money rolling around there to create the nice establishments that populate the super-mall, but that is way too much for anyone to be paying for small pieces of chicken.

Would I get chicken wings here again? Probably not. But, I would recommend them to people who don’t like the spicy, crispy, pepper flavor of a typical buffalo wing…and who carry a large wallet around.

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