Overhearing such words as kamikaze, sonic boom, and bomber, you might think you’re on an Air Force base instead of in a chicken restaurant. But these are the names of Wild Wings ‘N Things’ wings, slathered in 10 zesty incarnations of sauce so named for their respective abilities to send taste buds soaring. The franchise has spent the last several years cropping up across Colorado and Mississippi like hot-sauce dollops on a crisp white napkin, with its Fort Carson location serving up bone-in and boneless wings in baskets of up to 100 pieces.
As patrons lounge amid the dining room's Tabasco-red walls, chefs in the kitchen construct buffalo and teriyaki sandwiches to pair with comfort foods such as okra, fried pickles, and deep-fried recliners. After two-handing a chili-smothered slopper burger, diners can question the counter person about the weekly offerings of NFL Sunday Ticket viewable on the eatery's many flat-screen TVs.
When owner Michael moved from his home in upstate New York to Colorado Springs, he brought along his most valued possessions, including his family's recipe for New York–style pizza. In 1997, Michael capitalized on his delicious knowledge and opened Back East Pizza & Wings, and the kitchen crew has been tossing savory pies since then.
Of course, the centerpiece of the eatery’s menu is the traditional New York pizza—a chewy thin-crust masterpiece that folds in just the right spot. Along with the pizzas, which come with red or white sauce, the kitchen also fires up wings tumbled in sauces ranging in heat from medium to dragon fire, and stopping just short of spontaneously combustive. Sandwiches complete the hand-held options, making it easy to clap with your free hand as live music from local bands fills the room on weekends.
At My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, cooks browse timeless Greek recipes before grilling, broiling, and baking the food that has powered the Hellenic Republic for generations. Although they source ingredients from local producers and grind their own beef in-house whenever possible, they also spotlight the region's iconic flavors by importing kasseri cheese and doling out draft pours of Greek beers.
After carving tender slices of lamb and beef off the towering rotisseries for gyros, the cooks spend their evenings roasting skewers of chicken, shrimp, and vegetables and baking meticulously layered pans of moussaka. Throughout mealtimes, the restaurant keeps diners immersed in the Mediterranean experience by playing a mixture of traditional and modern Greek music while dancers navigate the tables and fire blowers relight any out-of-reach chandeliers.
"Bar snacks at their best"—that's how The Gazette described TAPAteria when it opened in 2010. The raves haven't slowed since – the Colorado Springs Independent recently named TAPAteria the city's best spot for appetizers and tapas in 2013. Using local ingredients, the eatery's culinary team crafts nearly 35 authentic Spanish tapas, from chorizo-stuffed mushrooms to grilled shrimp with garlic. Each small plate is entirely gluten-free, while half the options are vegetarian. A quarter are even vegan, such as artichoke and pepper salad. No matter the dish, The Gazette calls TAPAteria's flavors "straight out of the streets of Madrid or Sevilla." Many of those flavors can be carried straight out of TAPAteria, too, in the forms of meats and cheeses from the restaurant's massive Spanish deli.
Though they established Mollica's Italian Market & Deli in 1987, Dom, Toni, and Jerry Mollica rely on recipes that date back much further, to a time before Julia Child invented cooking. After emigrating from the Italian city of Pescara in the 1800s, Tony DeAngelis—the father of Toni and grandfather of Jerry—devised his own recipe for sausage, which he later passed down to Toni and Jerry.
Each day at Mollica's, this same sausage still finds its way, unadulterated, onto the buns of sandwiches and doughy bases of thin-crust pizzas. Mollica's kitchen staff also stacks Italian rolls with cured meats and cheeses, crafts rustic lasagna and manicotti, and builds pizzas and calzones with ingredients such as artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto.
Borriello Brothers Pizza didn't just copy New York-style pizza—they imported it. Owned by New York natives, the pizza joint pays tribute to the city's staple, craftting their pizzas with attention to detail. Their sauce comes from California tomatoes, they only use 100% real whole milk mozzarella cheese, and they layer their pizzas with sausage made from prime cuts of pork. The result is a pie that grew out of original New York recipes, just as the city's skyscrapers sprout from cracks in the sidewalks. In addition to traditional NY-style pizzas, they serve Sicilian crust pizzas, and feature signature pies with toppings such as Genoa salami, sliced steak, and baked ziti. The menu also incorporates calzones, pastas, and other Italian specialties.