SOUTHINGTON - Groggy Frogg passed the test of taste at Monday nightâ€™s Wing Fest, reclaiming the title of best wings in Southington.
The event, organized by the Southington Chamber of Commerce, was held at Cadillac Ranch and drew flocks of wing hungry residents eager to sample the best of local eateries competing for recognition.
When the dust settled and votes were counted, best overall wings went to Groggy Frogg with Tavern 42 as runner up. Hottest wing was also claimed by Groggy Frogg and their â€śFU Hotâ€ť wing with Tipping Chair as runner up. Tipping Chair was also voted most original wings with their fried dough wing and Groggy Frogg was runner up in that category.
â€śYeah!â€ť cheered Groggy Frogg owner Mike Montana, surrounded by a huge team of employees. â€śBack on top!â€ť
Participants this year included Groggy Frogg, Tavern 42, Bread for Life (with chicken donated by Sysco), Chiliâ€™s, Blue Plate Tavern, David Alan Hospitality Group, Tipping Chair Tavern and Giovanniâ€™s.Â
Cadillac Ranch did not compete but let people sample their wings.
Jeff Christiance of Groggy Frogg said the bar had participated in Wing Fest for 11 years and had won six times.Â
â€śLast year we were one vote away from best overall,â€ť he said.Â
Groggy Frogg won hottest wings last year, too.
Joe Vitti, owner of Tipping Chair Tavern, said they dethroned Groggy Frogg last year with their house-made garlic buffalo wings, which made a return this year along with fried dough wings for their bid at most original.
Donna Ayer of Bread for Life said volunteers prepared the donated chicken and used the event to raise awareness of the services their nonprofit provides to the needy.
Tim Zettergren of Tavern 42 said the restaurant came to Wing Fest for the first time this year.
â€śIt seemed like a fun event to do to get people and their families to try out our wings and to spend some time with the community,â€ť he said.
Another newcomer, Becky Bobola, manager of Blue Plate Tavern, said she was excited to come to Wing Fest.
â€śWe heard it drew big crowds,â€ť she said.Â
Nina Zampino, a bartender at Chiliâ€™s, said it is a â€śfun night to be out in the community.â€ť
Â Weâ€™ve come for the past five years,â€ť she said.
Amanda Crawford, a waitress with Giovanniâ€™s, said her restaurant won best wings in 2015.Â
â€śThis year we have Moeâ€™s wings, which are fried and then baked. Theyâ€™re named after a customer who always ordered his wings that way. Eventually other people started asking for Moe style wings.â€ť
Several participants praised their favorite wings.
â€śThe eruption wings (Tavern 42) werenâ€™t kidding,â€ť said Doug Wachtel, of Winsted. â€śThis is my first time here and I want to try a bunch.â€ť
Joe Gurtowsky, of Torrington, enjoyed the coconut curry wings from David Alan Hospitality Group.
â€śTheir pumpkin spice wings arenâ€™t bad either,â€ť he said.
Tom Fusciello said Tipping Chairâ€™s fried dough wings were â€śphenomenal.â€ť
Cassie Sprague and Brian Greene, also first time participants, both liked the maple bacon wings at Tavern 42.
â€śThey were fantastic,â€ť said Sprague.Â
After trying everything, though, Greene said he liked Tipping Chair the best.
Steven Ollari said he was having an â€śexcellent timeâ€ť even if Groggy Froggâ€™s FU Hot wings made him cry and after eating Tipping Chairâ€™s eruption wings he said he was â€śdying.â€ť
â€śI only wish it was all you can eat,â€ť he said.
Mark DiDomizio, of Cromwell, said it was an overall â€śgreat outing.â€ť
â€śI wasnâ€™t expecting something this big,â€ť he said. â€śIâ€™ll be back next year.â€ť
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at or .