Raleigh, N.C. — Carolina Wing Co. took over the former Buffalo's location on Creedmoor Road in January, but has yet to hit its stride with the north Raleigh neighbors.
A dinner visit on a busy sports night – NCAA tournament games and Carolina Hurricanes hockey – found the dining area largely empty and most diners gathered in the bar.
The restaurant: The space is huge and includes three seating areas: large outdoor patio, dining room and bar. The interior has a fresh coat of paint and the standard neon and silly sports sign, but nothing to visually set it apart.
The location: The lack of permanent signage – on our visit a sagging banner covered the old Buffalo's sign – and the interior courtyard main entrance make this a challenge for those unfamiliar with the layout. There are many doors around the long, thin building and any will work. But to access the main entrance and host stand, park and walk between buildings past the Starbucks.
The meal: The theme is "first in flight" versions of traditional bar food. You'll find the expected wings, sandwiches, wraps and burgers and a few more ambitious entrees including pork chops and fish and chips.
The wings, tossed in your choice of sauce, come in multiples of 10, either traditional or boneless. The boneless are all-white meat and more than single-bite sized. An order of 20 easily sufficed as a shared appetizer for our group of three.
Sauces range from teriyaki to nuclear to cajun and Chesapeake Bay. We asked our server to recommend one where we could taste the sauce and spice without pain. His recommended "hot" sauce fit that bill, although we agreed it had less nuance than many places. It seemed to be Texas Pete with not much else.
The service: Drinks were refilled quickly and often, but we were not the only ones to notice that food seemed to come up slow on this night, despite a sparse crowd.
The verdict: Like many other sports bar variations around the Triangle, this one may have neighborhood fans. But there is nothing on the menu or in the atmosphere to set it apart from those competitors.