The fourth and final neighborhood bracket of the tournament, encompassing the Southside, Univeristy Hill, and Westcott neighborhoods, pits Swallow's against Dorian's Gourmet Pizza & Deli and Varsity Pizza against Chuck's Cafe.
South Side/SU Hill Opening Round: Game 1
(1) Swallow's "Hot" wings: 5 points
(4) Dorian's Gourmet Pizza & Deli's "Hot" wings: 1 point
This match-up featured two much-anticipated wing joints going head-to-head. Swallow's, a small tavern on South Avenue that many people (including myself) may have heard of but have never before ventured to, brought some serious competition with their hot wings. The standout, without a doubt, is their signature hot sauce which blends a bit of peppery spice, garlic, classic Buffalo sauce, and even a hint of an Asian chili sauce mixed in. Not only were they substantially hot, but it's a sauce I had never tasted before and was certainly a welcomed surprise. Dorian's wings, on the other hand, were a slight let down. Although the meaty wings were a good size and packed a punch in the heat department, the classic hot sauce flavor lacked depth, and more critically, their extremely soggy skins made them unappetizing after about half a dozen. While the tangy and chunky blue cheese and crispy celery was some of the best in the tournament, the wings themselves were no match for Swallow's. My mouth may have remained on fire and the sauce may not be classified as Buffalo (despite looking like it was), but Swallow's easily took the match-up with tender wings, perfectly crispy skins, and a surprisingly bold and original flavor.
South Side/SU Hill Opening Round: Game 2
(2) Varsity Pizza's "Hot" wings: 4 points
(3) Chuck's Cafe's "Hot" wings: 3 points
Next up was Varsity Pizza taking on Chuck's Cafe in what would turn out to be a less than exhilarating match-up. Chuck's hot wings didn't have much going for them: a thin skin with no crunch, no heat (some of the mildest sauce in the tournament), and a flavor that seemed nonexistent. While the one redeeming quality was the jumbo-sized wings, Varsity's wings were able to pick up points where Chuck's could not with good chicken meat and a medium heat. Despite Varsity winning 4 to 3, I wasn't too keen on the flavor of the sauce, which was a bit thicker than typical Buffalo sauce, and they also suffered the same fate as Dorian's with a slight sponginess to them. Both Varsity and Chuck's were underwhelming, but Varsity was able to move forward and take on Swallow's in the championship game.