I've been waiting a long time to go to this place.
George's Deli & BBQ is one of those dive-y kinda places that I imagined had good food, but looks run down and has some shady characters. After rejecting a few other places, I decided I was going to get some chicken wing take-out and that George's was going to be the place.
It was around 8:30pm on a Saturday and the place was empty when I went in. There are actually two store fronts, one is George's Pizza, and the other is the Deli/BBQ. It looked like it was run by a 'Ma & Pa' elderly couple, with the man (was this George?) unloading the rotisseries and cooking in the back, and Ma dishing up and running the till.
Now I knew they had chicken wings. In the past doing research on George's I had seen an old menu uploaded (but now I can't find it) with it on. But when I went in, there was just the boards from the 1970's above the counter that had little on it. I started to panic . . . I mean the rotisserie chicken looked good, but I had my heart set on wings. I knew there was more than meets the eye, so I asked 'Ma' if they had a take-out menu . . . and they did. And it had wings. And all was good. Now you too can see their current (Winter 2012 ) menu.
I ordered my wings and stood and waited. There is a bit of counter seating, but this place is all about take-out and delivery. Soon after I ordered, 'Pa' came in and was unloading the rotisserie that sits in the window. I counted something like 10-15 chickens and this was 8:30 in the evening. I said to him "wow, how many chickens do you go through in a day?" and he replied "not nearly enough" with a smile and a laugh. I didn't get my answer, but he seemed like a nice guy.
It didn't take long for people to be coming in for chicken. One guy was ordering a couple of quarter chicken dinners, another a whole chicken, another chicken sandwiches. All were getting them with fries and requesting the gravy . . . which sounded like it was good.
I may be a little judgmental, but they looked a little sketchy. Ok a lot sketchy. But everyone seemed to know 'Ma & Pa' and all were friendly. This was a truly neighborhood favourite. I was also really surprised by the amount of people coming in for chicken at this time.
I watched 'Ma' take out my wings after frying for about 15 minutes, toss them in an old feta cheese bucket and pour a lot of Frank's hot sauce from the commercial sized jug. Into the Styrofoam container and into a bag and I was off. They smelled great, and I knew it wasn't just me because I overheard people on the streetcar and people in my building's elevator commenting to one another about the great "chicken smell" or "mmm something smells good."
I rushed up to my room, opened the container - and took a moment to take in the wonderfully orange-y/red colour, the warm steam rising up, the vinegary spicy smell. My senses were alive. But what about taste?
I was hungry and ordered a Double - 26 wings. It seemed like a good deal, but I feared that the 26 wings would be absolutely tiny.
The length of the wings ranged from small to medium - but the chicken meat was quite thick. The skin was crispy, the chicken tender.
As I mentioned, the sauce was straight out of the jug, but it was good. I'm curious how they do Medium or Mild sauces if Hot was straight up Frank's . . .
FINAL SCORE: This is a local place I will support again. I'm pretty sure this is my new go-to take-out wing joint. The price was reasonable, the service friendly. Yes the neighborhood is rough around the edges, I could see this place was popular for a reason. The wings themselves were slightly small, but big on meat. Crispy skin, lots of sauce - these were good Buffalo wings. At some point I will try the rest of the chicken besides the wings . . . 6/10
George's Deli & BBQ
254 Dundas Street East, Toronto ON