Friday, Aug 02 2013 04:43 PM

PETE TITTL: Kings Wings sure making the grade

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    By Autumn Parry / The Californian

    Gracie Rodriguez, 18, enjoys lemon pepper wings while talking with Dave Burdick at Kings Wings on Wednesday afternoon.

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    By Autumn Parry / The Californian

    Kings Wings offers an assortment of different dishes, including hot wings, left, cheese jalapeno fries, center, and garlic black pepper wings, right, at their location on Niles Street.

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    By Autumn Parry / The Californian

    Ramsey Farraj, owner of Kings Wings, poses for a portrait inside his restaurant on Wednesday afternoon.

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    By Autumn Parry / The Californian

    Ramsey Farraj serves Robert Voss, left, and George Masud, right, a combination of hot wings, lemon pepper wings and potato wedges at Kings Wings on Wednesday afternoon.

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BY PETE TITTL Contributing columnist pftittl@yahoo.com

I do like to get notes from restaurants that are so confident that they've got it going on that they invite scrutiny. Such an email came to me from Ramsey Farraj, manager of World Famous Kings Wings on Niles, though he didn't include the restaurant's full name in the request.

"I would love for you and your people to come try Kings Wings out ... We are a family-owned business and are confident you are going to love our wings and all of our other favorites. (best known for our wings though). We look forward to having you in our restaurant. We have only been open a few months but we have a loyal following of customers already."

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WORLD FAMOUS KING WINGS

1837 Niles St.

322-9464

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

Prices: Family meals, $25.99 to $75.99; wings only, $7.99 to $63.99; regular and boneless wing combos, $7.99 to $16.99; chicken-strip combos, $7.99 to $15.99; shrimp and fish, $6.49 to $9.29; child's plate, $3.49.

Payment: MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover accepted. Personal checks not accepted.

Dress: Casual

Amenities: Wheelchair accessible; beer and wine served soon; few vegetarian options.

Food: 3 stars

Atmosphere: 2 1/2 stars

Service: 2 1/2 stars

Value: 3 stars

Given that sort of confidence and our tendency to drive almost any distance for good chicken wings, we drove over to the restaurant, located just west of the intersection near Mount Vernon (where the Root Beer King is located -- this is apparently royal territory).

Kings Wings is located in a converted drive-in with a drive-through, two sturdy outdoor tables and a humble dining room complete with two flat-screen TVs.

The metal frame chairs are comfortable and the tile floor and tables are exceedingly clean. There's even a five-stool counter near the front windows.

You order at a counter and they cook it to order, like Wing Stop, so don't expect fast food.

I think the product here does justify Mr. Farraj's confidence, and I'll compare it to Wing Stop since that restaurant is always consistent and satisfying.

Prices are about the same, but the wings are a bit huskier here, reminding me of what Church's Chicken serves.

The usual flavors are there (though they've since debuted a new orange sesame flavor), but rather than go for lemon pepper and garlic parmesan, I opted to try garlic black pepper, something new to me. The combination works great, the butter holding a proportion of garlic that was not offensively overpowering, and the black pepper still pronounced.

The hot wings are spicy with Tabasco but not like the Lava version they offer, which should be listed as a toxic agent.

I guess there's a market for those scorchers, but I've never found one that satisfies except as a punishment or a dare.

Kings Wings is trying to tweak the menu to make sure there's something for everybody, with some new salads on the whiteboard, fish and shrimp baskets, even three different flavors of Kool-Aid.

Who can argue with that at this time of year?

Right now cherry limeade, grape and tropical punch are available. Beer should be available soon, possibly by the pitcher.

The fries are the standard crinkle-cut variety, but they also offer these with chili, cheese and jalapenos. Fried pickles are on the side order list.

The woman taking our order was pleasant enough, though she wasn't aware of the specials to give us the discount price on the 20 wings with fries ($14.99). That's a solid value, and I'd recommend that one. With or without Kool-Aid.

The day may come when Kings Wings indeed become World Famous. They've got a slick operation on the east side.

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