Wings are an integral part of the Penn State diet. I have seen dozens of disputes about the two most popular wing spots in State College: Zen Wings & Things and Wings Over Happy Valley. I took it upon myself to put this battle to rest by inviting 10 of my hungriest friends over to help me crown the winner. And eat a lot of wings. Below I have outlined the steps we took to declare a winner.


Step 1:

Choose wisely. We picked similar flavors from each restaurant for easy comparison. We got 16 flavors (spicy teriyaki x2), about 10 lbs, and it came to a startling $135.

Zen Flavors: Suicidal, Hot Garlic, mild buffalo, chipotle, Kickin’ Ranch, Kickin’ Cajun, spicy teriyaki and Seriously Spicy.
Wings Over Flavors: After Burner, garlic parmesan, Wimpy Buffalo, sweet chili, Mustang Ranch, Kickin’ BBQ, Cajun blackened, spicy teriyaki and Jamaican Jerk.

Photo by Hannah Burks

Step 2:

Watch the boys flock as the wings start piling up. Take a step back to admire the sheer size of your order. Also notice the Spoon drawing on the second box (as per requested, thanks Zen!)

IMG_6789 closed layout

Photo by Hannah Burks

Step 3:

Open all of the boxes, take a big whiff and fight everyone off so you can take pictures.
Note: Zen is in white boxes, nicely separated and labeled; Wings Over is in the black boxes, kindly separated by wax paper to prevent flavor-mixing (at the demand of a very adamant critic….).

IMG_6794 dat spread

Photo by Hannah Burks

Step 4:

Appreciate the beauty.


Photo by Bari Blanga

Step 5:

Open the gates. Go through each set of comparable flavors–the first we tried were Zen’s Suicidal vs. Wings Over’s After Burner Buffalo. Suicidal won by a landslide. After Burner was basically tarred and feathered.


Photo by Hannah Burks

Step 6:

Admire all your hard work and wash it down with a beer or two. Let’s get to the reviews.

IMG_6811 the damage

Photo by Hannah Burks

And the winner is… ZEN WINGS & THINGS!

Zen took the W in nearly every flavor. While Wings Over has great chicken, especially bone-in, Zen’s sauces take the cake across the board. The most favored flavors were Zen’s Hot Garlic, Suicidal and Kickin’ Ranch. The least favorite were Wings Over Mustang Ranch (“tastes like a Cool Ranch Dorito”) and After Burner (“waste of time”).

Try these places out for yourself to see which are worth your money and heartburn. Don’t forget napkins!

Zen Wings & Things


Location: 433 E. Beaver Ave, State College, PA 16801
Hours of operation: Mon-Tues: 5 pm-  2:30 am, Wed -Fri: 5 pm – 3 am, Sat: 12:30 pm – 3 am, Sun: 12:30 pm – 1 am

Wings Over Happy Valley


Location: 244 W. Hamilton Ave, State College, PA 16801
Hours of operation: Mon-Fri: 4 pm- 1 am, Sat- Sun: 11 am – 3:30 pm


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