I asked readers which wings in town they consider the best. I got some very considered responses, with good arguments for this place or that. But I thought I'd see for myself, too. So the following is a short list of chicken wings that I tried and agree are especially good. I included only locally-owned restaurants. By the way, did you know that Frank's RedHot sauce, the quintessential sauce for Buffalo wings, originated in Cincinnati? It was made here by the Frank Tea and Spice Company, starting in 1920. Frank's sold it to Durkee Famous Foods in 1977 – 13 years after chicken wings were first dunked in a sauce of margarine and Frank's in Buffalo.
A locally owned mini-chain on the West Side, Mike's got lots of votes from readers. One thing they like is that there are seven kinds of sauces, which can be ordered at five heat levels. Since I let my readers' recommendations be my guide to what I ordered, I'm glad no one recommended the stupid-hot to me. Instead I tried the Mike's Mix at a medium. It was kind of fun, trying to taste what all was in it. It is ladled on generously, but even with all that sauce, the wings were nice and crisp. 4498 Harrison Ave., Green Township, 513-598-1616; 5043 Delhi Pike, Delhi, 513-451-9464; 7587 Bridgetown Road, Miami Heights, 513-467-9464
A by-the-book sports bar in Florence, with TVs and sports jerseys on the wall. It has been in business for 13 years, and the bartender and waitresses seemed to know every person who walked in. The wings were also by-the-book: nice and crisp, and hot with that vinegary edge that gives Buffalo wings their character. 7718 U.S. 42, Florence. 859-647-6458
This mini chain with three locations in Northern Kentucky serves wings Buffalo style, but also offers their own special twist. They call it Doc style, and it means they fry the wings, douse them with sauce, then fry them again. They are super crispy, the skin turning into something like chicken cracklings. They are dry on the outside - no pool of sauce at the bottom of the plate – but they manage to stay moist inside. A must for crispy wing lovers. 1073 Industrial Road, Cold Spring, 859-442-3400; 2642 Dixie Highway, Lakeside Park, 859-331-6633; 8544 U.S. 42, Florence, 859-371-4100
Country music was playing at this sports bar in Dent when I checked out the wings there. The lemon-pepper variety had been recommended, which were very buttery and lemony – also salty, so be prepared to drink plenty of beer. If you get the wing dinner, it comes with corn on the cob, which is deep-fried and soaked in butter: it tastes like delicious toasty cornbread with lots of butter on it. They also have hawg wings, which are chunks of pork on a skewer, served the same way as the chicken wings, but I'd stick with chicken. 6957 Harrison Ave., Dent. 513-353-9400
My own favorite wings were not of the authentic Buffalo variety. They were smoked and grilled and served with a variety of sauces at Oak Tavern in Oakley. Blackened in parts, crispy and smoky, I found them more interesting to eat than the standard deep-fried. They bring a six-pack of various sauces so you can add as much or little as you like. Lots of TVs in this loud and busy bar. 3089 Madison Road, Oakley. 513-321-6258
Smoked wings seem to be gaining on deep-fried wings in popularity. This barbecue pit in Newtown didn't start out doing wings except as part of a sampler, but news of how good they are caught on, and now they're on the menu. They are some of the best. They're grilled, then smoked over wood, with their tomato-mustard sauce cooked on. 6901 Valley Ave., Newtown and 975 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills. 513-271-6555
One reader mentioned that Arnold's wings are surprisingly good, and they are, especially for the person who wants to eat wings without the sports atmosphere. I got them straight-up Buffalo, and they are for those who like them fat and juicy, even at the expense of crispiness. My friend from Buffalo really liked them, so they've got that stamp of approval. I liked their blue cheese dressing the best of all I had. 210 E. 8th St., Downtown. 513-421-6234
For something completely different, try these Vietnamese wings atSong Long Vietnamese restaurant. They do both spicy sweet and sour and curry-style. The curried ones have an addictive deep-fried, sugary-hot crust. Not authentic exactly, but in the Vietnamese style. 1737 Section Road, Roselawn. 513-351-7631
Lots of votes for this place, where they smoke their wings, then grill them on a flat top, and toss with regular or barbecue sauce up to triple-x hot. I tried the slightly sweet pineapple barbecue, and though they were terribly messy – I must have gone through 10 napkins – these wings are quite tasty. Friendly, sports-y atmosphere. 10 W. 7th St., Downtown. 513-621-1000
These wings are unique, and I think delicious. They do them in a coal-burning pizza oven at a very high temperature, so they get a delicious crust. Then they toss them in one of two sauces and serve them with fajita-style onions and peppers. They are not doused in sauce, but have tons of flavor. 9321 Montgomery Road, Montgomery. 513-834-5460
Written by Polly Campbell, Food & Dining writer at Cincinnati Enquirer.