Jake Melnick’s – Wings Galore and More
The beauty of Chicago is that there’s always something new to do, somewhere new to go and always a great place to eat. With all of the food options in the city, it can get overwhelming trying to choose where to go. While there are plenty of options to choose from, sometimes getting pointed in the right direction can be a big help. But no worries, Chicago News is here to help.
After a fun weekend with friends exploring new places and restaurants, a friend of mine invited us out for wings. There are several wings spots that I go to on a usual basis, but I’m always on the lookout for a new place to eat. My friend suggested one place I had never heard of before – Jake Melnick’s.
My first impression of Jake Melnick’s was that it had a real tavern feel to it. In the heart of downtown Chicago on Superior, Melnick’s was like a little retreat from the city. We sat on the outside patio because of beautiful weather. To be honest, I was relieved because they had cranked the A/C up so high in the restaurant that it was too cold for me inside. The outdoor area was nice and I always appreciate people watching on the sidewalks while enjoying a meal.
Our waitress was friendly and helped explain any questions we had on the menu. I was a little confused about the wording on the menu. They offer a “wing combo,” but under the description it says “traditional buffalo and Poncho’s” flavors, making it look as though those are the only two flavor combinations allowed. Thankfully, that’s not the case. You can combine any two flavors with your wing order – something people like me really appreciate since I love lots of options.
While they have plenty of selections at Jake Melnick’s – burgers, pizza, fish and chips and more – I decided on getting the wings. All of the different wing flavors intrigued me, so I went for it – ordering a combination of the wing of the month special, charred orange bourbon maple and traditional BBQ and a basket of parmesan garlic fries.
All of the food came out at once, but for some reason the fries tasted off to me. There was a good amount of parmesan, but I felt like there should’ve been a garlic aioli dipping sauce instead of the ranch it came with. They just had a stale taste to them like they were sitting out too long. I was a little disappointed with the fries because I’ve had good parmesan garlic fries in my day and that was not one of them. Good thing we ordered so many wing flavors! Between my friends and I, we nearly ordered every flavor available, although I wouldn’t touch the XXX flavor in my life. Pretty much the hottest flavor you can get out there with habanero, ghost pepper and scorpion. I started with my two flavors, first the charred orange bourbon maple. It intrigued me because I like sweet and bold flavor combinations generally, so the orange with the bourbon and the sweetness of the maple sounded like it would be very good. To be honest, the orange flavor was a little overwhelming for me. It reminded me of an orange chicken flavor from a bad Chinese restaurant. Because of the overwhelming and unnatural tart-orange flavor, I couldn’t taste any of the bourbon flavor at all. There was sweetness from the maple, but it mostly tasted like orange chicken wings. Because I didn’t like the flavor, I drowned it in the ranch dipping sauce. Unfortunately, I only realized after I finished my orange wings and then looking over the menu that you’re supposed to get a rosemary ranch dressing for that flavor. I felt a little cheated, but I hadn’t known, so it was my bad that I didn’t ask for it when I had the chance.
There wasn’t anything spectacular or terrible about the traditional BBQ I ordered or the buffalo flavor I tried. They were fine as you’d expect, but I wasn’t impressed. The two standout flavors for me were the PB&J and firecracker wings. I know what you’re thinking, “PB&J wings, that can’t work!” But somehow it does! They fry the wings with a Thai peanut flavor, and instead of your traditional ranch or bleu cheese dressing, it comes with raspberry chipotle jelly to dip. The Thai peanut flavor was perfect with a little kick and the raspberry chipotle jelly had enough flavor of sweetness and a little heat from the chipotle. It was an excellent combination of flavors that I wasn’t expecting to work, but for me it did. If only I had been so bold as to order them myself! My other favorite that I’m disappointed I didn’t get for myself was the firecracker flavor. This sauce also had a bit of Asian influence with a sweet Thai chili sauce and sriracha. Again, the combination of sweet and spicy flavors really worked for me. It had some heat, but also the sweet chili sauce cut it just enough to work really well for me.
Overall, I had a pleasant dining experience at Jake Melnick’s. They have a ton of food options, even more beer selection and an interesting combination of wing flavors, which I respect. I think that the fries could have been better, so I’m disappointed I didn’t try one of their other options. I wish I had gotten a combo of the PB&J and firecracker for myself, but I’m glad to know they have tasty options available. If you’re feeling bold or up to trying new things I’d recommend paying Jake’s a visit.