Best Wings: The Tap House |

Best Wings: The Tap House

— Pressed for how many chicken wings The Tap House Sports Grill might go through in a year, owner Melissa Baker hammers at an adding machine, adding up pounds by the day, the week and the month.

Finally, exasperated, she settles on the only answer she can.

“A lot,” she says.

Indeed, The Tap House goes through a lot of wings, each dipped in one of 12 special sauces. After nearly two decades of frying up wings by the baker’s dozen, The Tap House was again selected as the top spot in Steamboat to enjoy them.

It was close. Carl’s Tavern came exactly two votes shy of The Tap House in this year’s voting, but again it’s the Lincoln Street sports haven that’s standing on top.

Baker says it’s taken plenty of focus to stay at the top of the heap now for five consecutive years. One of the keys, she adds, is those sauces, a dozen that pack variety into the menu.

Years ago, they were largely supplied by local sauce manufacturer Wing Time Buffalo Wing Sauce, but when Wing Time was bought out by a larger company in 2013 The Tap House decided to try its own hand at sauce production.

Now, all its sauces are made in house.

There are the basic options, of course, your mild, medium and hot varieties. And there are fun derivatives, like Jamaican jerk and Sriracha honey — two of Baker’s own favorites. Then there are varieties that are different, yet popular with the local crowd, like spicy garlic parmesan. And then there are the ones that prompt quizzical looks, like the peanut butter and jelly sauce.

“You either love those or hate them,” Baker says. “I get emails from people saying they crave them and they want me to send them some of the sauce, but they’re not really my favorite. There’s not usually a middle of the road.”

Customers have given plenty of them a try. On Tuesdays’ weekly Wing Night, when wings are just fifty cents, the restaurant can go through more than 800 pounds and 5,000 wings. So while Baker has a hard time adding it all up, it all adds up to another place on the podium for Steamboat’s favorite place to get wings.

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