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Taste These Broken Wings: Good wings and bowling at Wawasee Bowl

Reluctantly crouched behind the foul line. Muscles burning and rolling in time. The green light flashes, the guard goes up. Rolling and bowling, he yearns for the strike. The ball hits the head-pin, but misses the three. A perfect roll was never meant to be. The seven hits the rack with momentum of a king. It becomes the messenger that secures the ring.

Few have gone the distance in bowling, but many try three times a night once a week for three quarters of the year at their local alley. It is a time-honored tradition in many towns to join a local bowling team. I do it, my father did it and my grandfather did it. Even my kids love hanging out at the alleys every once in a while on the weekends where it makes a great family night. You won’t see me on TV anytime soon, but I’ve flirted with the 300 a couple times in the last 12 years.

With a wife and two small kids, you might wonder how I get to go out one night a week for nine months. Luckily, I have been doing this before I even met my wife, so I consider the night “grandfathered” in. I dare not sit out a year as I would have to lobby and give something else up in order to secure so much time away.

I got an email from a reporter at The Elkhart Truth that Wawasee Bowl in Syracuse has some great wings and an even greater deal on Saturdays. I packed up the family in the Subaru and we headed out to the city by Wawasee Lake to bowl and check out these wings on a Saturday.

The bowling was fun. Everything was updated to today’s standards with having automatic scoring and a plethora of color coded house balls for the casual bowler. There were even bumpers for when the kids roll to prevent the ever-frustrating gutter ball.

After a couple of games, we sat up at a table to order some food. The wings that day were 50 cents, so I ordered myself up a dozen. I got the hot buffalo and also tried a couple of the Asian ginger. I would say for a bowling alley, they were some pretty good wings, but really for any restaurant they were some pretty good wings.

They were a decent size and came out piping hot. I can’t say there was anything unique about the wings. The hot buffalo was just your typical Frank’s sauce with a little kick (2 out of 4 on the heat scale). The Asian ginger was sweet, but very similar to any other barbecue sauce. The chicken inside was nice and juicy and I didn’t get any of that “frozen” taste, leading me to believe these were fresh.

Looking around as the evening came, I noticed people were starting to populate the tables behind the alleys without renting shoes and picking out bowling balls. To locals, it is considered another place to eat — a good one, as there wasn’t a spare table when we left.

My feelings about the wings? Well, as they say, “The Dude Abides.” Just don’t eat them while you are in the middle of bowling. Especially if you use a house ball.

I have, to date, sampled the wings in a good portion of Michiana. There are still new places to go, but the choices have started to dwindle. I’ve decided to start adding in other “gimmicky” themes to this blog from time to time. They will still be under the Taste These Broken Wings banner, but under a “presents” heading. Inspired by Wawasee Bowl and the collection of goodies down at the Maple City, the first of these will be featuring the different food and snacks you can get at the bowling alleys across the area. So keep an eye out for those blog posts coming in the near future. In the meantime, I will be getting back to weekly features of the best (and not so best) wings around.

For more commentary on the chicken wings of Michiana from Tomko, sign up for the Taste These Broken Wings email newsletter. You can also follow his adventures on Facebook by following the Taste These Broken Wings page.

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