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After a year’s absence, Wing Wars V brings the poultry party back to Golden Nugget

After a year’s absence, Wing Wars V brings the poultry party back to Golden Nugget

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One of the most disappointing things about the early era of the pandemic was the outright cancelation of just about every fun festival and major event that was set to take place in the foreseeable future. And while we were sad to see all of them go, perhaps none hurt us more than the loss of Atlantic City Weekly’s annual poultry party, Wing Wars.

It’s not hard to understand why: This beloved event is a winter tradition, tucked between the last week of the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl, it gave everyone a chance to celebrate and scarf down this most cherished of American apps during an otherwise dull and freezing cold weekend. And suddenly, it was gone.

But that was then, and this is now, and the great news is Wing Wars is back baby!

From 1 to 4 p.m. — noon for VIPs — Saturday, Feb. 5, Wing Wars V will take place in the Grand Ballroom at Golden Nugget Atlantic City. Local restaurants will go head-to-head in competition to see who has the tastiest wings and the most amazing dipping sauces!

Tickets are $30 for general admission, $40 for VIP, which will include one hour early admission to the event.

To purchase tickets, go to

Wondering what to expect this year? Read on.

The Wings

Whether you like ’em spicy, saucy, sweet or somewhere in between, you can count on a truckload of chicken wings in all shapes and styles being there for the tasting at Wing Wars V. You’ll find traditional buffalo style in some spots, along with outrageous unexpected flavors from others. In the end it’s all about the taste – and there will be plenty to go around!

The Dipping Sauces

A great chicken wing deserves an equally great dipping sauce. Such was initially discovered decades ago when the first buffalo wing was purposefully dunked into blue cheese, but at Wing Wars the dipping sauces are as unique and delicious as the wings themselves. You might find twisted up takes on ranch and blue cheese sauces, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to taking the edge off those hot wings. We’ve seen everything from traditional to avocado blue cheese to a roasted poblano aioli and more. What sauces will be there this year? You’ll just have to wait to find out.

The Restaurants

One of the most fun aspects of Wing Wars is watching a bunch of different chefs from a bunch of different restaurants all throwing down their best wings. The list of competitors changes every year – and this year’s lineup is still in the process of being completed, but here’s a little sneak peak of the spots that have signed on so far:

Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall

Essl’s Dugout


Chelsea Five Gastropub at Tropicana Atlantic City

Michael Patrick’s Brasserie at Golden Nugget Atlantic City

Bills Bar & Burger at Golden Nugget Atlantic City

Lillie’s at Golden Nugget Atlantic City

Vagabond Kitchen & Tap House

OSHI Modern Kitchen at Harrah’s Resort

Villain & Saint at Ocean Casino Resort

Water Dog at Bally’s Atlantic City

Deauville Inn

South 9 Bar & Grille in Cape May Court House,

Costello’s Pizzeria & Wings/McGettigan’s 19th Hole,

Renault Winery 

Atlantic City Eatery (ACE) at Showboat

Surf Dog Bar & Grill 

Laureldale Pub and Grill

Root Cellar Tavern

“I can’t wait. This is the first year where I am just a competitor versus having to set it all up, since I no longer work for the Nugget,” says Bobby Hettmansperger, owner of Essl’s Dugout and former Executive Chef for Golden Nugget.

Hettmansperger and the rest of the team at Essl’s took home the “I Can’t Feel My Face” award at Wing Wars IV back in 2020 and are looking to repeat.

“We are coming back strong to hold on to our title,” he says.

The Party

Yeah, the focus is on wings, but at its heart, Wing Wars V is a big party! And as is the case for any successful party, you need some great music and some great drinks. Luckily both will be on hand, as the bar lies front and center as you walk in the ballroom, offering a killer lineup of craft beers and cocktails along with various specials throughout the course of the event.

And to help keep the vibe rocking all afternoon, classic rockers Robert’s Basement will be on stage blazing through a mix of all your favorite songs to eat wings to!

The Contests

If you were at the last Wing Wars event, you surely won’t forget the contests, as they made for some of the most memorable — and hysterical — moments of the day. And, this year we’re bringing them back. First, competitors will go head to head to see who can eat the most super hot wings in the shortest amount of time. There will be a 10-minute time limit, and each competitor will have 10 wings. No drinks of any kind, nor dipping sauces allowed. Can you stand the heat?

After that will be the messiest and arguably the most fun part of the day – the Bobbing for Wings contest! Giant bowls filled with blue cheese dressing will be loaded up with wings. And all you’ve got to do is use your face to pull out as many wings as possible before the time expires!

There will be prizes awarded to the winners of each contest – stay tuned for details.

The Judging

For everyone who attends, Wing Wars V, the day will mostly be about scarfing down wings, knocking back a few drinks and rocking out to the band, but we must not forget that there is also an important task at hand – to crown the winners!

Each restaurant at Wing Wars V will be competing with one another to see who puts out the best wing and dipping sauce in South Jersey, and the competition gets hotter and more intense each year. Attendees will have the chance to vote for their favorites in the People’s Choice categories, and there will also be a panel of professional judges handing out their own picks. In addition to that, Atlantic City Weekly’s own Fat Boy Munch Club – Director of Entertainment Publications Scott Cronick and Associate Editor Ryan Loughlin – will have their own list of unique awards to hand out. Who will win top honors this year and be crowned king of the wing? You’ll just have to buy a ticket and find out …



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