Wing Review: Joe Mama's Bar & Grill
Name: Joe Mama's Bar & Grill
MKE Wings Crew Present: Frank, Jeremy
Review Date: April 24, 2023
Wing Specials (as of review date):
Sunday: $8.95 for 12 wings Monday: $7.95 for 12 wings
For today's review we venture out a bit to the unincorporated town of Lake Five, or Colgate as it will for the proper address. One could argue that this shouldn't be on "Milwaukee" Wings, but hey, it's 30 minutes by car, and I heard they had good food, and it's my website, I'll do what I want, ha! But seriously, I've heard about this place and their great food for a few years, but I've never really heard anyone talk much about their wings. But I figured if you're making good food, your wings should be pretty good. Let's put that theory to the test and see if it's worth making the trek to Colgate for wings!
The wing crew was a bit small that night, just Jeremy and I stopping in on a Monday evening. While their website listed a wing special, the price was merely posted as "market price." This made me nervous, somewhere wings became like fancy seafood and listing "MP" on the menu became okay for what used to be the cheapest part of the chicken. I mean, I get it, costs went up and restaurants have to make money, but doesn't mean I have to like paying too much for wings. However, I was completely gob smacked at the Monday night special price: $7.95 for 12 wings. That's just about $0.66/wing! I haven't seen a wing special this low in quite a while, simply astonishing! There was also a poster in the bar advertising a Sunday special for just a bit more, $8.95 for 12 wings. The regular menus price is also listed as "market price," and I thik was so exited by the special, I forgot ot ask what it was! *As always, prices/availability of menu items/prices and/or specials are subject to change at the sole discretion of the bar without the knowledge of Milwaukeewings.com and may not be updated accordingly.*
Whether it was the wing special or the Bucks game, this place was bumping on a Monday night. With a big bar, tons of TVs, and games, this place has something for everyone to stay entertained, but on to the wings! Doubling down on the special and the desire for leftovers, Jeremy and I each ordered 2 orders of 12 wings, with each order being split into two flavors/sauces. Some quick math shows we were able to order 12 sauces/flavors, a pretty good dent in their offering for just 2 people.
The wings themselves were generously sized, listed as 'jumbo' on the menu, and while I've seen bigger wings, I prefer this "large" size to some of the jumbo wings. Cooked perfectly with a crispy skin and juicy interior, the wings are then tossed in one of nearly 20 flavors! Flavors are listed hot to mild: Devil's Dust Dry Rub, Hurts Twice, Mama's Sassy Sauce, Hot Mama Buffalo, Buffalo Garlic, Hot, Spicy Smokey BBQ Dry Rub, Cajun Dry Rub, Mild, Sweet Chili, Dill Pickle Buffalo Dry Rub, Bacon BBQ, Honey BBQ, BBQ, Teriyaki, Garlic Parmesan, Honey Mustard.
Wings can also be served with carrots and/or celery and your choice of ranch or bleu cheese dressing (both dressings were fantastic). As noted, we were able to partake in 8 flavors that night:
Garlic Parm: a very buttery and rich garlic parm packed with a of garlic flavor. Not necessarily creamy, but did have a bit of tanginess of parmesan flavor. Solid entry for any garlic parm lovers.
Bacon BBQ: BBQ sauce on a wing is often hit or miss for me, and more often a miss than a hit. However, this was one of my favorites actually. A sweet, tangy and smoky BBQ sauce with chunks of bacon right in the sauce! Also seemed to have a tick of heat to it (granted that could have been some residual heat from another flavor). A solid option for someone looking for a unique BBQ offering.
Dill Pickle Buffalo Dry Rub: I was really excited for this one. After that dill pickle buffalo sauce as JD's a few months ago, I've been looking for another amazing pickle wing, but all have fallen a bit short, this one included. Not that it's bad per se, but dry rubs aren't often my thing. These wings were absolutely coated in dill giving you that cool, herby taste with a bit of tangy heat from the buffalo seasoning as well. I will say that a little dunk in some ranch brought this flavor out a little bit. Not bad, but I'd explorer other options next time.
Sweet Chili: sweet, tangy, a bit sour with a bit of heat, this sauce delivers that sweet and sticky Asian inspired flavor you're looking for in a sweet chili. I always find sweet chili a very solid sauce, but never really have found one that stands head and shoulders above the rest, a very tasty sauce nonetheless.
Cajun Dry Rub: Jeremy and I both agreed, this one was a bit bland. I had 2 of these and while the first had a bit of heat and that savory Cajun taste, the second one didn't deliver much. As noted earlier, dry rubs are often not my style, and this one didn't sway me from that opinion.
Spicy Smokey BBQ Dry Rub: Okay, I keep picking on dry rubs, and yet we ordered three of them. A little smoky, a little bit of heat, but mostly salty for my taste. This one didn't do it for me...but thankfully we've saved the best for last...
Buffalo Garlic: A true top notch garlic Buffalo sauce in my books. A tangy yet buttery cayenne pepper hot sauce with a metric ton of garlic flavor to punch you in the mouth and just a good kick of heat to balance it out. A good Buffalo Garlic will always be a winner for me, and this one was fantastic. I thought this was going to be my favorite by of the night, however...
Mama's Sassy Sauce: Wow. I still don't really know how to describe this sauce other than "Freaking Awesome." We ordered this solely on name alone, didn't even ask what it was, anything called Sassy sauce just has to be good, right? The best description I could come up with for this was a Teriyaki BBQ Habanero sauce...which sounds just crazy. The first thing you get when tasting this wing was a big blast of savory umami flavor, super savory, dark, and rich. This is followed by a quick rush of habanero pepper flavor, and you think things are going to get super spicy, but they oddly don't. I mean, the sauce has a good kick to it, but Jeremy (who is not a heat seeker at all) had no trouble with these, it was all habanero flavor, with only a fraction of the heat. This was truly the standout flavor for me and I want to go back for these, one to have them again, and two to further decipher the flavor!
The MKE Wings Crew's Favorites:
Frank: Mama's Sassy Sauce
Jeremy: Mama's Sassy Sauce
I've eaten a lot of wings over the years, so it's fun to find a sauce that is new and unique, and Mama's Sassy Sauce was just that! When looking for an overall grade for Joe Mama's, my love of that Sassy Sauce, Bacon BBQ, and Garlic Buffalo make me want to hand out a Hall of Fame badge, but those dry rubs that were a bit off the mark for me damper my enthusiasm a bit. Neverthe less, Joe Mama's Bar & Grill is definitely a Milwaukeewings Certified Wing Joint! Definitely want to return to try a few of the ones we didn't get to taste, notably the 'Hurts Twice' flavor. Also, side note, we sat at the bar right near the kitchen exit and saw several orders of what looked to be like the best nachos ever. If you're in the area, definitely stop in for some wings (and perhaps some nachos)!