Food trucks shake up the 2022 Kickin Chicken Wingfest and take best wing, sauce, side, and dessert. Read on to find out who won and why!
I was happy to return to the judges table for Kickin Chicken Wingfest. After a 2-year hiatus much has changed. Covid prevented the 2020 event from happening, and 2021 saw food trucks enter the competition for the first time. It’s no secret that restaurants are struggling to attract workers, and many don’t have large enough crews to run an outside event in addition to their restaurants, so adding food trucks keeps lines manageable and visitors well fed.
Amy Zahora, Director of the Miami Valley Restaurant Association brought us the inaugural Wingfest in 2011 and for the first 9 years, only MVRA member restaurants entered the competition. Unfortunately, some past winners like McGillicutty's, Cadillac Jacks, and Paradise Key have closed their doors.
Other past winners: Giovanni’s, Amber Rose, Brixx Ice Company, Basil’s, The Dock, and Dewberry 1850 still welcome you to dine in or carry-out during normal operating hours. Archer’s, El Meson, Nick’s, Pies & Pints, and Romer’s came this year and have one or more locations.
Adding food trucks has expanded the footprint of the festival as several of them park on Lincoln Park Blvd, opening up much more of the shady grass for visitors to stop and enjoy the company, food, and entertainment. Although official attendance isn’t in yet, the event’s organizer and I both believe this was a record-setting crowd.
Eleven of twelve participants entered items in the contests. There are six food categories and each vendor can enter the categories of their choice. Thankfully, they all didn’t enter every category, or I’d have had to be wheeled away from Fraze. I’m embarrassed to admit that I took very few photos (my fingers were way too sticky).
Peoples Choice for Best Damn Wing: Nick's Restaurant has extended its streak to 11 years. Will anyone challenge them next year?
Best Decorated Booth: Pies & Pints brought their “P” game with helium balloons, garland, and more.
Served warm, this soft, chewy cookie was heaven sent. JA & Sweet-umms Banana Pudding was a close 2nd. When you get the chance to try either of these, say YES!
If you’re too chicken to try them, I’ll take yours. Cooked to perfection, they are the perfect companion for BBQ. (Worth noting, Dewberry 1850 won best side in 2018 with Collard Greens.) Romer’s Turkey Balls are runner-ups and a summer taste of Thanksgiving comfort (did someone say gravy?!?!?)
This boneless chicken chunk was tender and tasty. Best boneless was added to the contest in 2013 and Romer’s earned best in 2015 and 2022.
This category was updated to add “with flavor”, so the award didn’t go to the “hottest” this year. Nick’s produced a hot wing that didn’t take your breath away, but sneaks up on you. If you’re looking for a wing that will peel paint, Romer’s is your wing.
This sweet, tangy sauce from Rolling Indulgence food truck was served on a deep-fried breaded wing topped with dill pickle shreds. The not too sweet sauce was a welcome change from traditional buffalo style or sweet and sour sauces. I want to try this sauce on “best wing”.
This smoked, grilled wing from Smokin’ Inferno BBQ & Catering was amazing. Seasoned just right the smoky flavor was a welcome change from fried wings. I seriously want to try “best sauce” on these wings! Pies & Pints grilled wings are 4-time Best Wing winners and gave the judges cause for discussion.