Ever since moving to Jacksonville back in May 2007, I’ve been seeking far and wide to find a buffalo wing restaurant to call my own.
Because I’m a boring old man in my late 30’s, I’ve established a pseudo-tradition of going buck wild every Sunday, sitting in a wing restaurant, sucking on chicken bones and leisurely leafing through the ample Sunday paper to check on the latest prices for hearing aids & Depends. And I wanted to continue this rebel lifestyle in my new hometown.
Everybody serves wings, and some even claim to be “legendary” or “world-famous” wings, but I’ve yet to find a single restaurant that truly excels at the art of the chicken wing, and certainly none that come close to my favorite wing-haunt back in Tallahassee (Hobbit Hoagies on Shannon Lakes Drive).
And while I’ve tried around with hit-or-miss results, and I’ll keep searching, there is one wing restaurant I’ve found that stands head and shoulders above the rest as by far being the most worthless shit-hole in Duval County: Dick’s Wings.
I first went to Dick’s a few days after I first moved to Jax, based entirely on the name. I’d love to tell people, “I’ll see you at Dick’s,” “I had lunch at Dick’s,” or even the wildly hilarious “I’m gonna go gobble up some Dick’s,” but even on my first encounter I could tell it wasn’t going to go well. Everything was gong fair until my wings arrived and I found the ranch dressing, which every good American knows is used to dip one’s hot wings into, was served in a little pre-sealed coffee creamer-esque plastic cup which was too narrow to fit a chicken wing into. And things have just been downhill from there.
Not one to easily dismiss a restaurant with such great humorous name potential (waitresses wear t-shirts reading, “I don’t like Hooters, I prefer Dick’s”), I returned a couple more times to sort of give them an opportunity to impress me, but each time I was met with ordinary food and slightly above average prices and so-so service.
So having recently driven by and seeing the “under new management” sign outside the joint, today I gathered up the Sunday paper and my family and boldly stated, “Let’s go give Dick’s one last try.” (See, even that sounded funny.)
We arrived around 12:30 and it wasn’t really very busy, and a member of the wait staff encouraged us to “Sit anywhere you like,” which we did, and thus began the downhill plunge into dissatisfaction. Rather than drag this out into a long-winded bit of witty prose about my problems, I’m instead going to treat you to long-winded list of witty bullet points describing my experience.
- Alerted waitress that this was Dick’s “last chance” to win my business, which was met with apathy and “Do you know what you want to drink?”
- Lost 50 cents in Ms. Pac-Man machine
- Waitress who watched me lose 50 cents in Ms. Pac-Man machine, and whom I asked for a refund, never responded to my problem (and was docked 50 cents from her tip)
- “20 Piece Wings for Two” meal, which includes two drinks and two side items, cannot be split into two different flavors, no matter what, not even for an additional charge
- But you can get the “20 Piece Wings for Two” meal naked (no sauce on them) and be given two different sides of buffalo sauce
- Price for “20 Piece Wings for Two” meal: $17.99
- Price for two “10 Piece Wings” meals: $19.98
- Difference between the two choices: Two different sauces in 10-wing increments
- Side order of steak fries was comprised of 12 french fries in a basket
- Ketchup bottle was empty
- Ketchup bottle I stole from next table was also empty
- Cole slaw was in small plastic cup, was runny and bland
- One of the 20 chicken wings appeared to be nothing more than a mangled bit of deep-fried chicken skin clinging to bone
As you can see, there’s no huge glaring thing that was technically “wrong” that might warrant the swearing off of Dick’s, but cumulatively these things add up to a miserable dining experience, and one that was the straw breaking the proverbial camel’s back.
And while I’m certain hordes of “Go Jags!” mouth-breathing ass-hats will continue to brainlessly moo through the doors of Dick’s and bask in the glory of indifferent, bland mediocrity, they will never see another penny of my hard-earned (nor ill-gotten) money ever, ever again.