If the sign out front is any indication, not much has changed at Buffalo Joe's beyond the soup du jour since 1996 ... when the new area codes were added. Located a few blocks west of the Red Line terminal at Howard, Buffalo Joe's still displays the (312) area code. Inside, by the walk-up counter, are framed newspaper clippings of Joe's original Evanston location, including an article that dates back to 1985.
Buffalo Joe's advertising suggested I check out the football game while I devour my wings. I envisioned a beer or two to chase my wingdings and the crowd to be livelier than the kitchen. Not so much. Tiled with checkerboard black and white, the eight-booth dining area was a bit of a let down. The TVs number two: One is small enough to be blocked out by a drumette held at arm's length, and another faces the line of loyal Rogers Park customers.
Wings come in single or double orders (10 or 20) and flavored as mild, spicy, barbecue or "Suicide." Though they weren't overly meaty and the wings outnumbered the drumettes, the spicy order had a zippy and sweet, albeit soft, side. My dining partner ordered a juicy Arizona chicken sandwich, overflowing with grilled onions, bacon and Joe's garlicky ranch, wing-dipping sauce. Ribs tips, chicken gumbo, corn on the cob and Cajun catfish dinners top off the popular picks. Entrees hover around $6 to $10.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Robert Duffer