Winging It: William Penn Tavern in Shadyside

By: Saúl Berríos-Thomas  |  Layout Editor

Claire Murray (Asst. Photo Editor) - Hot, garlic butter with Parmesan and Kitchen Sink wings at   William Penn Tavern in Shadyside.
Claire Murray (Asst. Photo Editor) – Hot, garlic butter with Parmesan and Kitchen Sink wings at William Penn Tavern in Shadyside.

William Penn Tavern is a small bar and restaurant, nestled in the heart of Shadyside. It sits a half block away from the thriving business district that is Walnut Street at 739 Bellefonte St. and also the next stop in the search for the best chicken wings in Pittsburgh.

After I climbed a few steps I entered the large bar area. There were about 15 TVs that face the bar and allow the customers to catch sporting events. Along the left wall headed towards the back of the restaurant is a line of tables that can fit two to four people. The kitchen is very small and it is right behind the bar. Tons of Pittsburgh sport memorabilia hangs between the TVs on the wall.

My dining companion and I were greeted quickly and the server was very good at making sure we were taken care of. She even got the Miami Heat game, my choice, switched on to the TV closest to us.

The tavern has a wide variety of sauces so we decided to order three flavors to formulate an accurate picture of the strengths of their wings. We ordered 12 hot, six garlic butter with Parmesan and six Kitchen Sink, which is their specialty.

The meat was fresh although the quality of the actual chicken was not the best I have had this semester. They may have been frozen wings, but they were cooked to order and the size of the wings was above average.
The cook on the wing was ok, but not perfect. They did not have the crunch that a wing cooked to perfection might. They were cooked all the way through and were the perfect temperature when they made their way to the table.

Regardless of the actual chicken, the sauces are what really won me over. The garlic butter with Parmesan was really impressive. The butter really made the flavor of the wings shine. The balance of garlic was just right and the Parmesan really topped it off, although the Parmesan was not fresh like at other places like Burgh’s.

The hot wings were a huge surprise. The spiciness was perfect, because it was hot enough to catch your attention but it did not drown out the flavor. They were pretty spicy but the sauce still offered flavor. There were even bits of red pepper on top that really made the flavor pop.

The best choice was the Kitchen Sink wings. This delicious sauce is exactly what the name suggests. It is a combination of the spicier sauces along with the buffalo and honey. It may not sound like much, but this sauce was incredible. The sweetness and spice were harmonious to create a masterpiece.

We lucked out because it was “Wing Day” and that lowered the cost a bit as the 24 wings cost me $12. The normal price according to their website is 10 wings for $8.50 so the price was a bargain either way.

While William Penn Tavern didn’t have the best quality meat, they made up for it in the sauces that coated the wings. That combined with the price make it a can’t miss meal for wing lovers.