Today I headed over to Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon in Apple Valley with Art, Joey and Kevin for lunch. I, like tens of thousands of other people based on my logs, have been anxiously awaiting the opening of Grizzly’s replacement. As you can see from the comments below (which I have moved over for history’s sake) some people have liked it and others have not been so impressed. Needing to know for myself whether it was worthy of the repeat business I never gave to Grizzly’s, I rounded up a few people and we headed over for a noon lunch–or so we thought.
Kevin and I arrived together at 11:45 and were greeted with a 35 minute wait. Kevin noted to the hostess that there were numerous empty tables inside and she replied that they were trying to allow the kitchen to catch up due to the busy breakfast (which is apparently $9.99 and based on the menu for it and what I saw later, wasn’t worth half that) service. Kevin argued that we should at least be permitted to sit at a table and wait, possibly with drinks, instead of having to crowd around each other in the foyer. He was overruled.
After finally being seated at 12:27 we placed our drink orders only to wait 15+ minutes more for our server (BTW, she was attractive but certainly not as hot as this commenter would like you to believe) to take our actual food orders. The menu is pretty basic and looks very similar to what you’re going to get at BW3. Based on the pricing, number of wing sauces (15), Tuesday night wing night (35c wings), and the fact that it’s a sports bar with tons of TVs and neon beer signs, this entire establishment’s purpose is to undercut every single thing that nearby Buffalo Wild Wings has to offer. We were there solely for wings (except for Joey who ordered the appetizer sampler) so between all of us we ordered 54 wings in 7 different sauces (I also tried the Parmesan Garlic which was purchased by my neighbor but that was pretty fucking tasteless and I don’t recommend it at all):
18 Wild Bill’s Scorching Buffalo Border Sauce
6 Jim Beam Buffalo
6 Cajun Ranch
6 Wild Bill’s Orange Sauce
6 Sesame Asian
6 Bourbon Teriyaki
6 Carolina Honey BBQ (boneless)
All of the wings come with complimentary bleu cheese or ranch and celery sticks (BW3 now charges you .60 for each cup of bleu cheese).
After waiting a total of 30 minutes (to the minute) from when we first were seated our wings came out (at 1 PM instead of 12 PM) with Joey’s sampler taking some extra time to arrive. We all shared the wings and Joey’s sampler so we all got a very good idea of many different sauces. To be perfectly honest both Art and I were concerned about the quality of the sauces going into this especially after our lackluster experience at sister restaurant Babe’s in Lakeville (they are owned by the same guy along with 4 other places) so we were apprehensive when the wings were first laid out in front of us.
These are definitely not the sauciest wings nor the meatiest but they aren’t too bad. The tables favorites were the Bourbon Teriyaki, Jim Beam Buffalo, and the Scorching Buffalo Border Sauce. None of the sauces were spicy enough for any of us with even Joey, who admits to preferring “medium” (also known as being a Spice Pussy (TM)), said that it wasn’t too hot for him. After eating 4 of them a pleasant pepper flavor was left on the tongue but they honestly need to either come up with a 16th wing sauce or bump the “Scorching” up about 15 notches to compete with BW3 for the hottest wings available in the South Metro.
The Bourbon Teriyaki was my favorite as it had a distinctive and pleasant flavor. If you’re not a spice fan and are looking for something tasty but not terribly sugary, this one is probably the one for you. Another one I appreciated was Wild Bill’s Orange Sauce. Too sugary for me but I could definitely see it being a favorite of those who aren’t much into Asian flavors but want something sweet. Kevin liked the Sesame Asian (I found it tasting mostly like sesame and little like anything Asian) and the Cajun Ranch even after later mentioning to me that he doesn’t much care for ranch usually. Art seemed to really enjoy the Jim Beam Buffalo.
Joey, the poor outsider being that he ordered a sampler instead, ended up with 6 of the Carolina Honey BBQ in the boneless variety. To me they tasted very tough and dry and the sauce could not help it out much. While the sauce was fine, the heavy breading and dry and tasteless chicken was just too much to make it a winner. The mozzarella sticks were fine and came with a fairly standard marinara sauce that I could have done without. It also came with chips and very basic Sysco-ish salsa that was pretty boring. The highlight were the crispy onion rings (not greasy and didn’t burn your whole mouth as if they came out dripping with bubbling oil) but even those I could definitely do without.
Art had ordered a side of fries which were seasoned but previously frozen. I believe that as soon as they were delivered he announced something about “good ‘ol Ore-Ida,” but I could be wrong on that one. I tried them and they were crisp but nothing to write home about. Another “eh” for me.
The bleu cheese was notable and came chunky (not like BW3′s runny and expensive salad dressing which comes with tiny little bubbles of cheese rather than hunks like it should) and tasty but the cheese could have been about 10x more sharp for me. Being that you don’t have to pay for them like you do at BW3, these are definitely a treat and went well with the celery and the chips which I spent quite a bit of time dipping in the leftovers.
Overall, definitely a place I’d return to eat wings and watch football at again. With 35c wings and 15 sauces, it’ll be a contender for wing night in Apple Valley. My sole suggestion to them at this point is to fix the serving issues (speed was a big problem here today but that’s easily fixable) and the completely underpowered spice levels. Any wing place worth its salt is going to have at least one wing that’s hot enough to make you break a sweat. Not a place I’d recommend traveling to from far and wide (or even Savage for that matter) but one that if you’re looking for mild and sugary wings with some interesting flavor combinations, then I’d suggest you stop in at to see what you think.
So, have you eaten at Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon in Apple Valley? If so, what did you think? What was your favorite wing sauce offered? Did you have something other than wings (my neighbor was there when we arrived and said their $1 burger special was good) and if so, what was it and how was it? Whatever you have to say about Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon in Apple Valley go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say!
Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon
15020 Glazier Ave
Apple Valley, MN 55124
See all the pictures from Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon on Flickr here.