At Tracks, carefully crafted chicken wings keep regulars coming back

reviewed by Sarah Baker Hansen
March 28, 2024

At Tracks Lounge, chicken wings might be the main attraction.

You would be hard pressed to walk past the handful of patio tables or the regulars holding up the bar and not see a basket of extra large, charred, saucy wings in front of them, along with a beer and a pile of crumpled napkins.

Count me and eight of my friends and four kids among them one recent Tuesday night, when we gathered over no fewer than a half dozen baskets of wings of all flavors, many beers and many, many napkins.

I’ve eaten wings at four destinations over the past few weeks, and I can tell you this: Tracks are some of the best that I’ve tried.

“I’ve worked in the industry my whole adult life, and one thing that sets us apart,” said co-owner Mark Pogge when I talked to him later, “is that all our sauces are made from scratch, not just Frank’s Red Hot and butter.”

That and the fact that every wing at Tracks goes straight “from the fridge right to the fryer,” Pogge said. There’s no par cooking and no frozen chicken. That, he said, makes a difference in the texture and taste of the final product.

We found large, juicy wings across the board with plenty of different styles of sauce. Probably my favorite was the mild Buffalo char buffed and then re-dipped in Parmesan garlic sauce. Similar to the wings I most liked at Everett’s, this combination in particular is killer. If you prefer more heat, you can also get this combination with the hot Buffalo sauce, which we did, and which had a significant jump in terms of spiciness.

Pogge said combining different sauces is something Tracks has been doing for years, and now other wing places have followed suit.

“We have regulars that mix and match three sauces and want me to name (the combination) after them,” he said, chuckling.

Another thing Pogge and his co-owners — his brother Justin Pogge and friend Dylan Foster — have seen since they took over Tracks last June is customers crazy for “Hot Ones” style super spicy wings.

One of my friends ordered Tracks super spicy “Twisted” wing and found it, well, super hot. I think he came close to eating half the wings in his basket, and took the rest to go. I definitely saw some sweat on his brow, not gonna lie.

Tracks uses Ghost pepper sourced from Bellevue-based Volcanic Peppers in its hottest sauce, among other secret ingredients.

“We have a couple regulars that get the Twisted wings double dipped and then bring their own hot sauces because it’s not enough,” Pogge said.

Back in the day, when it opened in 1965, Tracks was known for its broasted chicken, and Pogge said it’s still on the menu today, one of just a handful of Omaha spots still serving it. Though chicken wings weren’t on those early menus, chicken was, and it’s always been a staple.

I will admit I didn’t try those super spicy wings — I get heartburn, friends — but I did enjoy an order of the milder Guinness infused honey barbecue wings topped with chopped fresh jalapeno. (Tracks offers jalapenos, extra homemade ranch or extra homemade blue cheese for an additional $.50.)

The Guinness brings a pleasant, almost savory nuttiness to the sauce that’s balanced by the pure, rich sweetness of honey. I liked the kicky crunch the jalapenos added, and that’s an add on I would try again. My friend ordered the Thai peanut — one of two new sauces the new owners added to the menu, along with mango habanero.

She described it as “very peanutty, and great for kids.” I was too full of char buffed wings to try it by the time her order arrived, but I did appreciate the clever topping of chopped peanuts, a-la pad Thai.

Tracks is, at its heart, a neighborhood dive bar that just happens to serve some of the best, most thoughtfully crafted chicken wings around. I’ll be back, not just for the friendly service and fun atmosphere, but yes, for the chicken, too.

Tracks Lounge
https://www.trackslounge.com/
1506 S. 60th St.
402-905-0102
Hours:
Sun-Thurs: noon to midnight
Fri & Sat: noon to 2 a.m.

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