At Everett’s, time, brine and custom sauces make the chicken wings stand out

reviewed by Sarah Baker Hansen
March 14, 2024

It’s a few minutes after six on a Wednesday, and Everett’s — one of the top spots in the city where Omahans suggested I should try chicken wings — is packed.

We scribble our name on the big chalkboard on the front wall and head next door to Brokedown Palace, the neighboring dive bar where the staff suggested we hang out with a beer until our names get called; we happily obliged. In spite of the crowd, a seat opened quickly.

Everett’s has the look and feel of your average Omaha neighborhood bar and grill, but a petite menu — wings, a few burgers, pulled chicken or pork sandwiches, a few appetizers and desserts — is surprisingly well executed, with high-quality ingredients and most everything, including all the wing sauces and hand-cut French fries, made in house.

It just happened to be “S’wing Wednesday,” which our server explained as a weekly special where diners can get ten smaller sized wings for ten bucks. The restaurant’s usual wing baskets come in a variety of sizes and include larger-sized wings; all those are also still available.

I later learned from co-owner Tyler Thiesen that the “S’wing” in “S’wing Wednesday” means “small wing.” The special came about, he said, because Everett’s takes the time to sort through all its wings by hand, separating them by size before brining them in a secret blend of spices mixed with apple cider vinegar and brown sugar for a little over 12 hours every night.

The smaller wings, still a satisfying size in my book, get sorted out and only served on Wednesdays to avoid food waste. And boy, is S’wing Wednesday ever popular.

We went for the special, ordering two baskets with the two sauces readers told me to try: Saucy Rossy and Bubba. The wings, as advertised, turned out to be pretty fantastic.

The Saucy Rossy, named after Ross Koley, the owner of Brokedown Palace and a close friend of Thiesen, is made with two thirds of the restaurant’s medium hot sauce and one third of its barbecue sauce, leading to a wing that’s a sort of sweet and spicy, with a rich undertone and vinegary burn that builds with each wing you consume.

“I have Ross saved in my phone as “Saucy Rossy,” and that’s where we got the name” Thiesen said.

The Bubba, another saucy hybrid, is named after the restaurant’s first customer, a neighborhood regular who has since died, but was known for calling everyone he met “bubba.”

The kitchen tosses the wings in medium hot sauce, grills them — aka “char buff” style — then dips the wings a second time in a chunky garlic parmesan sauce.

The result is deeply savory with plenty of garlic, cheese and fresh herbaceous flavor. I have to say, of what we tried, this wing was probably my favorite, one I’d return for.

Thiesen told me another thing the restaurant does differently with its wings is cook each batch from raw versus par cooking them ahead of time.

“They stay nice and tender right off the jump,” he said, “and stay really crispy.”

We had yet to try Everett’s classic hot wings, and though this review is certainly wing-centric, I was curious about the rest of the menu.

The Brussels sprouts on the appetizer menu might be one of the unhealthiest vegetables I have ever tried — and I mean that as a compliment. Fried to a brittle crunch, the lacy-edged sprouts are then tossed in a sweet-spicy honey glaze and topped with a savory, citrusy bacon and lime crema. I thought I was fairly over Brussels sprouts, but this dish made me like them once again.

The classic burger is solid. A thin ground chuck patty comes served sizzling hot with a slice of melted cheddar and a warm, brioche bun. Lettuce and tomato on the side are standard, but I appreciated the pickled onions, an elevated touch.

Let’s talk French fries for a moment: Everett’s hand cuts theirs, and the time and care is evident in each hot, crisp bite. Just fantastic.

The pulled meat sandwiches come with a choice of shredded pork or chicken, and Matthew ordered pork. A big pile of tender meat came topped with a crisp, crunchy slaw, a nice temperature contrast.

Thiesen said the pork gets braised in the oven overnight. Slaw is made to order so it stays crunchy versus going soggy.

“The size of our menu — smaller — allows us to put the focus on quality,” he said.

A final note on a basket of a half dozen classic wings with medium hot sauce: they aren’t as creative as the rest of the wings we tried at Everett’s. But they’re hard to argue with in almost every way: tender meat, spicy sauce, crisp edges, plenty of flavor.

“We like to think of it as chef-inspired, elevated pub food,” Thiesen said.

I get it.

Everett’s earns points across the board for creativity. The quality is high. The sauces are singular. The fries are fantastic.

But above all, their food (not just their wings) is made with care. For this writer, that’s always a standout.

Everett’s
https://everettsmaple.com

8807 Maple St.

402-237-7820

Hours:
Weds – Sun: 11a – 8p
Closed: Mon & Tues

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