Wing Review: JD's Pub & Grill
Updated: Jul 5
Name: JD's Pub & Grill
MKE Wings Crew Present: Frank, Amber, Jeremy, Melissa, Ryan
Review Date: June 29, 2022
Wing Special (as of review date): $8 Wing Orders on Wednesdays
Yet again, here we are in West Allis. However, this just isn't any spot in West Allis, JD's Pub & Grill is located at the former location of Jonny Hammers. If you're unfamiliar with Jonny Hammers, in my opinion they were in the upper echelon of Milwaukee area wing joints. With help of the Internet Archive to peek at our old site, we reviewed them way back in 2010! Reading that review now, Hammers certainly improved as the years went on, adding new flavors and becoming one of my favorite spots for wings. Sadly, as OnMilwaukee reported the owner fell ill and decided to sell the bar in August 2021 after 25 years of ownership and a great run of serving up great wings! However, as that same OnMilwaukee article points out, the new bar, JD's Pub & Grill, inherited the Jonny Hammers wing recipes. While that's certainly great news, can JD's pull it off and serve up those great wings that I remember? Let's find out!
Walking in, JD's felt familiar, yet new. The fun double-sided bar was still there but it felt much brighter than I remembered. Five of us stopped in on a Wednesday night for some wings, and we weren't the only ones, it seemed everyone there was getting wings. The timing of our stop could not have been better, unknown to us as it not listed on their website or any social media, they run a wing special on Wednesdays, $8 for an order of 6 wings. Without the special, and order of 6 wings will run you $10.50, which is a bit steep, but wing prices being what they are right now, it is what it is. I was certainly happy to catch the special and save a few bucks though! *As always, prices/availability of menu items/prices and/or specials are subject to change at the sole discretion of the bar and this review may not be updated to reflect any pricing changes.
You can get your wings served in four ways: Traditional (fried), Grilled (fried, sauced, then grilled), Breaded, or Boneless. I encourage using this flexibility to mix and match flavors to cooking styles to suit your own tastes. Personally, I like dry rubs on breaded wings as the rub seems to stick the best, BBQ flavors go great on grilled wings, etc. The wings themselves were average to a bit above average in size. Most of the wings we ordered were traditional, just fried. However, we got one flavor in breaded, and another flavor they will only serve grilled. The traditional wings were cooked perfectly, tasty, juicy chicken with a nice crisp outside. The grilled ones added the nice taste and char of the grill, and the breaded wings added a nice crunch. All wings were tossed in the perfect amount of sauce (or rub), not too saucy, but not lacking in sauce either.
Possibly one of the biggest problems you'll have at JD's is picking a flavor, as you'll be picking from 21 sauces and 7 dry rubs. Combine that with 4 different cooking styles, that's 112 ways JD's could make you wings if I did my math right! Flavors are as follows:
Buffalo, Frank's Red Hot, Frank's Extra Hot, BBQ, BGTHM, Peanut Padang, Teriyaki, Spicy BBQ, Margarita Lime, Caribbean Jerk, Honey BBQ, Eric's Pineapple Habanero Express, Bourbon, Garlic Honey, Honey Sriracha, Citrus Chipotle, Honey Mustard, Spicy Pickle, Korean BBQ, General Tso, The Krankie
White Cheddar Jalapeno, Bacon Ranch, Lemon Pepper, Memphis, Garlic Parmesan, Spicy Don, Old Bay
Interestingly, while JD's inherited the Jonny Hammers recipes, I don't think it's exactly the same. While I recognize some flavors (cheddar jalapeno), I also recall a few flavors not on the current menu, notably the appropriately named 'Too Hot for Normal People' sauce. With five people in our group, we took on 11 flavors of wings that night, our notes one each:
BGTHM: I have no idea what this stands for, it was so busy that I didn't want to ask the bartender, ha! While I may not know what the acronym stands for, I can tell you that BGTHM is synonymous with super tasty in my book. This flavor is bit hard to describe, the best way I can describe this flavor is a spicy honey mustard, sweet on the front end with some spicy mustard flavor on the back end.
Peanut Padang: this reminded me a lot of a wing sauce I make at home. Sweet peanut buttery taste rounded out with some savory notes and just a touch of heat. Our resident peanut sauce expert is Jeremy, and he whole heartedly approved of this one.
Margarita Lime: super tart and citrus forward from the lime, with a bit of tequila kick at the end. Also, a fair amount of heat from what looked like some habanero peppers in this one, a fun drink inspired flavor.
Caribbean Jerk: a very good Caribbean Jerk flavor, sweet and savory with the warm spicy notes of cinnamon, all spice, and nutmeg you expect from a Jerk wing.
Citrus Chipotle: very smoky flavor as you'd expect in any sauce with chipotle peppers, balanced out with some sweet and tangy notes with a bright citrusy kick
Spicy Pickle: Looking at the menu online a few days before our visit, I was super excited for this one. I love pickles. I love dill. Clearly, I love wings. If this sauce could bring that all together, I would be one happy person. After tasting this one all I can say is, wow.... this was even better than I could have hoped. A zippy but not too spicy buffalo style hot sauce was ramped up with an extra vinegary punch along with the taste of dill. Unique and super flavorful, this is easily among the top ten flavors of wings I've had anywhere. Seriously, I freaking loved this one and can't wait to get it again.
Korean BBQ: sweet up front with the sweet, hot, salty flavors of Gojuchang on the back end, a nicely balanced Korean BBQ.
General Tso: want to combine a wing with the flavor of your favorite Chinese take out? then this one is for you! Sweet yet savory with just a hint of heat, a crowd pleasure for sure.
The Krankie: another flavor with a non-descript name that I had a bit of a hard time describing, best I can come up with is sweet and tangy. No real heat on this one, but I'd like to try this one again to figure this one out a bit more.
White Cheddar Jalapeno: Cheese flavored wings and I have a complex relationship. I feel I should like them, but often don't, probably stems from a terrible cheese flavored wing I had at the 2010 Wing Festival in Buffalo, NY. Thankfully however, this one is quite good. I certainly recommend this on a breaded wing to trap as much of the rub as you can, ours were absolutely coated and full of flavor. The almost powder like rub had a strong punch of cheddar flavor, with a bit of the taste (but not the heat) of jalapeno in there as well. A favorite amongst some of the crew that night, definitely give this one a shot if you're in the mood for something different.
Lemon Pepper: very lemony dry rub with a bright punch of citrus flavor. Our lemon pepper connoisseur Amber enjoyed this one a lot, as did Melissa.
Wings were served with ranch and/or bleu cheese dressings along with carrots and celery. Didn't need them much as none of our wings were overly spicy necessitating their use.
The MKE Wings Crew's Favorites: Frank: Spicy Pickle Amber: White Cheddar Jalapeno/Lemon Pepper Jeremy: Peanut Padang Melissa: White Cheddar Jalapeno/Lemon Pepper Ryan: Spicy Pickle
Overall Top Flavors: Spicy Pickle, White Cheddar Jalapeno, Lemon Pepper.
Caribbean Jerk, Peanut Padang, Citrus Chipotle
Top to bottom, every flavor we tried during that night was great. There were no duds, every flavor was bold, flavorful, and delicious. While all of us had our favorites, none of us could point to a flavor they didn't like or didn't want more of. Too often flavors can kind of meld together, where you're not sure which one you're eating, and that did not happen here, every single one stood out and you knew exactly which one it was.
Last year I was sad to hear that Jonny Hammers was closing. While that's still true, I am more than happy to know that JD's Pub and Grill has picked up where they left off and continue to be yet another amazing wing spot in West Allis and the greater Milwaukee area. Truly, these were great wings with an amazing line up of sauces. It is with pleasure I can put JD's Pub & Grill into the MilwaukeeWings.com Hall of Fame! Truly amazing wings, you have to try these!
Badges & Awards
A note on the great beer badge here. Does JD's have the best tap list around, no. Are they better than most other corner bars in West Allis, absolutely!