Eugenians love their wings. Ever since Hot Mama’s opened in 2011 it has been a local fan favorite, but now there is a new kid in town. Toxic opened its doors in April this year, daring to steal the hearts and votes away from Mama’s wing lovers, but it’s not that easy. Folks are looking for the best finger lickin’ good ol’ chicken in town.
Let’s begin with the chicken preparation:
Toxic smokes its wings for several hours, giving a pinkish hue to the meat, before they fry them to-order so that they’re hot and crispy.
Mama’s is more of a traditionalist and sticks with the frying method. But, when it comes to the meat, most Eugenians are happier to eat happy chickens, and Mama’s is able to offer a free-range all natural product from Coleman Natural, where as Toxic currently offers Foster Farms chicken.
Now we need to address sauces:
Because Toxic smokes its wings, they are served naked with all sauces on the side. This might seem shocking at first, but the owners want the wings to “speak for themselves” and then customers can add sauce as they please.
Both Hot Mama’s and Toxic offer 16 different sauce options and, unless otherwise instructed, Mama’s wings will come sauced with ranch or bleu cheese on the side.
Both have daringly hot wings: Toxic or Kamikaze strength. Some of Toxic’s fan favorite flavors include Chili Maple Lime and Pineapple Jerk, and some Mama’s favorites include Bacon Bleu and Thai Peanut, although both offer a pretty dang good Raspberry Habañero.
As for the establishments:
Hot Mama’s has a small bar in back which cranks out mixed drinks and has 6 rotating beers on draft and Happy Hour 3 to 6 Monday though Friday with drinks and wing specials.
Toxic is currently trying to get their alcohol permit, but plans to offer adult beverages in the near future. Both restaurants have cool niche decor and great patio seating outside for the sunny months.
While Toxic offers a tasty product, the wings have a lustrous flavor reminiscent of rotisserie chicken that, without having them tossed in sauce, may get a little monotonous. However, patrons of Mama’s get down and dirty with their wings and many really appreciate the scrumptious sauces adhered to the them, especially when bacon is included. The service is also friendly at both places; Toxic offers counter service and Mama’s offers table service. It really seems like Toxic is trying to do something cool and different, but it may prove extremely difficult to compete with Hot Mama’s beloved saucy wings.
Hot Mama’s Wings
Location: 420 W. 13th Ave. Eugene, OR 97401
Toxic Wings & Fries
Location: 943 River Rd. Eugene, OR 97404