Gator's Wing Shack gears up for Super Bowl

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Hungry Hound: Gator's Wing Shack, Grill & Pizzeria (WLS)

Next weekend's Super Bowl means plenty of people will be planning their parties this week.

For most, it's a combination of vegetable platter, sandwiches and chicken wings. Fortunately, Hungry Hound Steve Dolinsky has done the heavy lifting - he's found some of the best chicken wings in the region, and they're ramping up to do a lot of takeout this week.

It is literally crunch time back in the kitchen at Gator's Wing Shack in Palatine. Some cooks are cutting up jumbo wings while others make sauce and coat cooked ones, all in an attempt to meet demand for game day.

"Our wings are fresh jumbo whole wings. We cut 'em, we lightly dust 'em with flour, we make our sauce fresh throughout the day," said Neil Jolcover, the co-owner of Gator's.

When an order comes in, the wings are dusted in flour, then immediately dropped into fryer baskets and deep-fried in vegetable oil until golden, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, the buffalo sauce is readied - it's essentially fiery hot sauce and a boatload of salted butter - heated ever-so-gently until the sauce is silky, rich and yet still tangy. The wings are tossed well, and they also offer some other flavors, including garlic or jalapeno.

"We add fresh ingredients, so our garlic buffalo wings is our original buffalo sauce, tossed with fresh, chopped garlic; our jalapeno buffalo wings is the same thing - original buffalo sauce tossed with fresh chopped jalapenos," Jolcover said.

That freshness makes a huge difference. No surprise then, to see how many competition trophies they've won over the years. But all those awards don't mean a thing unless they can crank out enough wings to meet demand over the next week.

"This is it, this is it. Other than the Stanley Cup, which is our mini-Super Bowl," he said.

Neil says if it's a typical Super Bowl, they will produce and sell somewhere between 10,000-13,000 wings in one day. So best advice? Order now.

It's imperative to call immediately if you have large orders. But you should be fine ordering in, if you can find a seat. Even if you don't feel like wings, they also make their own pizzas.

Gator's Wing Shack, Grill & Pizzeria
1719 Rand Road, Palatine

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