Sunday, January 13, 2008

If you can take the heat . . .

Ellee Pai Hong, weekend morning anchor of NBC-5 (Photo: NBC-5)

. . . get to Jake Melnick's Corner Tap (41 E. Superior St., 312-867-4908) and try the hottest wings in town. The lodge-like, Gold Coast sports bar is known for its delicious bar fare (burgers, nachos, Baby Back ribs), but now the Seriously. Ridiculously. Over-the-Top Hot Wings, made from the Guinness record-holding pepper Red Savina, are so hot that customers have to sign a waiver before they dig into them—due to the risks involved with direct consumption of the Red Savina (palate burning, eye damage and extreme discomfort, among them). Those who succeed in getting them down get a picture on their wall of fame.

One person who's certain to get her face on that space is NBC-5's weekend morning anchor Ellee Pai Hong, who chowed down on the super-spicy wings on her show Sunday morning during a segment with Jake Melnick's Chef d’Cuisine Robin Rosenberg. She ate several of the wings without batting an eye, while co-anchor Rob Elgas could barely get one down without gasping for breath and his eyes watering like mad.

Every order of the “Seriously. Ridiculously. Over-the-Top Hot Wings” is served with a personal fire alarm—a bell for the brave soul to keep on hand in case things get rocky. Jake Melnick’s staff has been trained to, at the sound of the alarm, come running with a full supply of tools for cooling off: sour cream, milk, ice cream, orange, sugar and white bread.

But, if you want to try those wings, you'll have to wait until Thursday, Jan. 17; Jake Melnick's is closed for renovations Jan. 14-16.

In the meantime, these places also offer some outstanding, but not that damn hot, wings:

Harold's Chicken Shack (1361 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-252-2424). The South Side sensation is known best for its sauces on the side. Order it HOT to really get the juices flowing.

Iggy's3 (800 N. Dearborn St., 312-573-070). The gourmet wings at the third version of this legendary lounge are just as good as ever.

McGee's Tavern (950 W. Webster Ave., 773-549-8200). Get a dozen
of the jumbo-sized wings in Original Spicy or Hot Devil. And every Tuesday, it's 10 cent wing night.

Yakzie's Bar & Grill. (3710 N. Clark St., 773-525-9200 or 506 W. Diversey Pkwy., 773-327-1717). Go for the "Oh My Gosh!" hot wings at these Lakeview spots; Diversey location is open until 4am.

Also, check out's 2007 poll results for "Best Hot Wings" in the city.

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