After hearing so much about the Buffalo Wild Wings franchise, I went down to their RI location in Warwick (400 Bald Hill Road) to see what the fuss was about. If decor was on the menu I would give that dish a thumbs up as the atmosphere was spacious and accommodating even though they were very busy. There is plenty of room with the layout of tables so you don't feel packed in like sardines. Everywhere you sit has a clear view of one of about 30 large flat screen monitors playing all the games you want to see.
The staff are mostly young women (out front anyway) and eager to please, with an enthusiastic presence that (combined with athletic apparel featuring the number 82) are very ready to serve. However, for a sports bar theme it seems geared for family and casual date night dining as well. So, as far as atmosphere goes, I would say the words "fun" and "energetic" would aptly describe the experience.
Now to the food itself. The menu is divided into seven main categories; wings, sharable, more eats (salads, wraps and tenders), burgers and sandwiches, beverages, kid menu and dessert. It's a large menu and it would take a few trips to explore the offerings but suffice it to say if you don't enjoy deep fried party food or your looking for a steak, your in the wrong place.
With the main attraction being the chicken, aside from an appetizer of large soft pretzels and some beers to wash the sodium down, our order concentrated on the wings (traditional and boneless white meat). Then there is the 22 plus sauces that range form mild to raging hot (Blazin') which you are allowed to mix with your order in devided increments.
I went for the 15 piece on the bone order split among three sauces: Teriyaki (on the mild end of the spectrum), Roasted garlic and Parmesan sauce with Italian herbs and their trademark Buffalo which has just a touch of heat. The wings themselves are good sized with some real meat on the bone.
Now for the sad part. Buffalo Wild Wings is a chain, and like any large food outlet the quality of the output lacks soul. The wings feel like they come in frozen and are either reheated or shocked at high temp and consist of a slightly rubbery texture that doesn't fall off the bone. I'd also like to see the ingredients of the sticky sauces which don't seem to be any better than the sauce you would get at a Mickey D's. My garlic and parmesan was inedible after trying just one wing. The sauces taste like they have an extreme amount of fructose (or a similar concentrate) that made me wonder if the plain rubbed wings would have been a better choice.
What can I say, it's not gourmet but then I don't think that is the mission of Buffalo Wild Wings. This is a place you can take your softball team after a game, or perhaps an after hours office party. A family can eat a good portion of food for a reasonable price and as their motto says,"you have to be here" to get the true experience.