John’s Italian Restaurant

John's Italian Restaurant 3.28.17

Basic Information:

Location: 570 PA-590 Hamlin, PA 18427
Phone number: (570) 689-2659
Normal Wing Price: 10 for $8.95
Wing Night: Tuesday
Wing Night Price: $0.40 to $0.50 cents a wing, depending on wing sauce
Wing flavors: Mild, Medium, Hot, Mild Garlic, Medium Garlic, Hot Garlic, Garlic Parmesan, BBQ, Roasted Garlic Parmesan, Mango Habanero, Spicy Asian

Overall Rating: 71

Lynch’s Rating: 35 out of 50

Environment: 8
The Wing Men had a real classic mix-up on our visit to John’s Italian Restaurant. Usually, we’ll meet up first in order to drive together to a new wing place because we believe solidarity is key when it comes to wing reviews. For this trip, due to prior engagements, we had to take separate cars. Well, we ended up at two different restaurants named John’s Italian Restaurant in pretty close vicinity. After we both arrived at the correct John’s Italian Restaurant in Hamlin, we got to reviewing. The place is first and foremost a classic Italian Restaurant, which is not only apparent by the name but also obvious after looking at the large number of traditional Italian meals offered on their menu. There’s a very small bar area and an extremely large dining area for traditional family dining. John’s also has a small section up front to pay your bill and pick up and take-out you may have ordered. There were only a small number of people in the restaurant on our visit, but I did see a good amount of people arrive for take-out. Our waitress was very nice and our food arrived in a timely manner. There were no issues there. On top of that, we received some moist towelettes after our meal was complete, so that’s obviously a plus in our books.

Wing Size: 9
John’s Italian Restaurant has an interesting pricing strategy for their wings. The first set of wings cost 40 cents on wing night. This includes classic flavors such Mild, Hot, and Hot Garlic. The next tier, priced at 45 cents each, consisted of BBQ, Roasted Garlic Parmesan, and Mango Habanero. Finally, in a class of its own, the Spicy Asian wings were priced at 50 cents each. Regardless of your thoughts on this pricing strategy, which I’m sure Serniak will have some thoughts in his review, the wings were very large, even at the highest price. Honestly, 50 cents a wing is becoming the norm on wing night, and these Spicy Asian wings were massive at that price. They do require minimum orders of 10 on their wing night, and will not split orders with two different sauces.

Wing Flavors: 4
While John’s Italian Restaurant offers some unique sauces that could be harder to find at some other places, the overall wing menu is a bit lacking. In total, John’s lists 11 different sauces, but in reality, the majority of the sauces are just variations on the same sauce. I think they can really benefit by potentially adding Ranch, Caesar, or even some sort of Italian seasoning into the sauces generation. I understand that john’s Italian restaurant may not be known specifically for their wings, but I would love to see what they can do with other sauces, especially after trying some of the flavors that are outside of the norm.

Wing Taste (x2): 7
Since John’s only allows orders of ten, we split a couple orders to ensure we got the most band for our buck. The Hot was your standard, run-of-the-mill buffalo sauce. It succeeded in being a good representation of a classic Hot, but didn’t shine in any way. The Roasted Parmesan was a very thick, almost gravy-like whitish cream sauce, so I was definitely intrigued. It did a good job representing the roasted garlic flavor, but I think it could have benefited with more parmesan cheese, salt, or some other seasoning to really amplify the taste. Thinking back on it, I bet this sauce would be good if added to the traditional hot. The Mango Habanero was done right at John’s Italian Restaurant. The sauce was very much like a sweet and sour sauce with the right amount of habanero spice added. When I order a sauce with habanero in the wing, I want that great, spicy habanero taste, which John’s really brought to the table. Finally, the real shining star of the bunch was the Spicy Asian. These wings were fantastic. The wings were coated in a slight breading that was well seasoned and not over the top like breaded wings I have experienced in the past. The sauce was a tasty, sticky Teriyaki-like sauce with a great spice and flavor to it. Finally, the wings were sprinkled with Sesame seeds adding to the whole aesthetic appeal of these wings. These wings were awesome. I find it interesting that the best wings I had at John’s Italian Restaurant were those unique ones like Mango Habanero and Spicy Asian. I think that just goes to show that thinking outside the box and trying new things can result in some positive outcomes. That’s why I hope John’s Italian Restaurant continues trying new sauces and expands their wing menu.

Serniak’s Rating: 36 out of 50

Environment: 7
My experience at John’s Italian Restaurant in Hamlin starts at a very different location, at a place located around 10 miles away. At a place called John’s Italian Restaurant, in Greentown. Yep, that’s right. There are two John’s Italian Restaurants named John’s Italian Restaurant within 10ish miles apart in NEPA. As you could imagine, I was not at all thrilled with the idea that when I typed John’s Italian Restaurant into Google, that I was sent to a Johns Italian Restaurant that wasn’t the correct John’s Italian Restaurant. I felt duped and thought that once again the Universe decided to stop my momentum. But do you think I let a little anomaly like two restaurants being named the same exact name stop me from continuing my quest to eat wings? Gimme a Hello No! We did what we always do, we fought back and made the trek across the county/counties/continents and made it to Hamlin. As I approached the John’s Italian Restaurant in Hamlin, I immediately noticed how big it was. It was a real deal, fully sized for any situation restuarant. It had a bar area and huge dining area, so all ages and creeds can get involved. We were seated in the dining area. It was extremely clean and had the feeling of a place you bring your family on a friday night after a game. Probably a lot of pizza parties happen here. Also, gotta say it’s a bit of ballsy move for a place to specialize in Italian food be a place that touts their wings. This place has entered wing competitions and have won awards for their wings. So hats off to them for being versatile. I should’ve requested to sit at the bar area because at that time, there was only one other group of people in there and I’m starting to think that I’m more of a sit at the bar guy when it’s just me and one other person. Sitting at the bar opens the door for more interesting things to happen and be said and I’m a guy who likes to laugh at funny things strangers say. Our server, who I’m told is a hell of a frisbee thrower, was nice and diligent with us. She even gave us what might of been the royal treatment by giving us moist towelettes. I say it was a royal treatment but chances are everyone gets offered those. Either way, it made me feel good thinking that I was getting something that not everyone gets. Rule #36; appreciate the little things.

Wing Size: 7
I wrestled with this decision for this rating because the prices for wings on their wing night is a bit different than most. You can get mild,medium,hot,mild garlic,medium garlic,hot garlic for 40 cents. You can get garlic parm,bbq,roasted garlic parm,mango habanero for 45 cents and spicy asian for 50 cents. That’s pretty jumbled to me. Also, you have to order them in quantities of 10, not 5. I always prefer to get orders of 5 because that means I can get more flavors. I mean it’s not hard to read on a menu but I just want flavors to be all the same price. Essentially, I want life to be as easy as possible. Now like I’ve said in the past, I’ve never operated my own restaurant so I really have no idea what it takes to create mass amounts of sauces. But, I have been to many places for wings and the absolute majority don’t set up their sauces like this. I’m also a firm believer if ain’t broke don’t fix it. So if this has been working and generating more of that green, keep on keepin on. Now, the reason why I didn’t give them a 6 for this setup is because the wings are huge. Like Steel Force big. And getting all these wings for under 50 cents is a really good deal. I powered through my standard 20 NBD unlike some other Wingmen who only finished 13(not that I’m counting or mentioning any names) but trust me, if you get your typical order whatever that is, you’ll be full.

Wing Flavors: 6
John’s Italian Restaurant does a solid job of dishing out the essential wing flavors that you need to see on any wing list. They have your mild, medium and hot. They have garlic parm, bbq, mango habanero and even one called roasted garlic parm. They even have their award winning sauce, which is a spicy asian. There are 11 total flavors. But to me, these are mostly standard flavors that the majority of places have. And honestly, I know I’m giving them a rating of a 6, but I’m pretty sure this place’s specialty is Italian food. I would have been shocked if they were stocked with a huge variety of flavors. It be like going to a steakhouse and finding out that they have 45 different kinds of shrimp. Maybe John’s goes and creates more flavors? That be great. But I think they’re in a comfortable spot with the amount of flavors they have. Maybe add some ranch and sriracha into some flavors. Those are can’t miss.

Wing Taste (x2): 8

The wings were all cooked very well. A very nice crispness was what John’s brought with every wing. First off, we got the hot. Nothing out of the ordinary here, just a very tasty wing that was much more than just putting Frank’s Red Hot on wings. Though we weren’t in the valley, they had a buttery valley like flavor to them. I could’ve used more spice but flavor the sauce is what stuck out. Next were the mango habanero. I’d say there was more sweetness from the mango than heat from the habanero but it was still balanced pretty damn well. It started with an initial sweetness but then was backed up quickly with the heat. Wonderful stuff. It’s nice to see mango habanero becoming more of a staple in today’s society. Who said we weren’t progressing as a people? Then comes the roasted garlic parm. Such a lovely display these were. Had a real cream colored creamy garlic sauce. It wasn’t what I expected. It was a real thick sauce pure garlic sauce. Not just garlic and parm sprinkled on them. It was a legit sauce and man was there a ton of it. These guys don’t skimp on sauce. Fact. If you’re a garlic freak, like myself, then you need to order this. Lastly, we got the reason why we were brought here and that was the award winning spicy asian. Now, these wings were even larger than the other and I think I know why. I also think I know why this particular flavor won an award. I feel like Tom Hanks cracking the Da Vinci Code with this revelation. Not saying that there’s devine intervention in this flavor but I’m also not not saying that either. These wings have a breading coating them and it’s excellent. It’s excellent because they’re cooked so well. So crispy. The sauce is also on point. It emcompasses everythnig that a spicy asian sauce should have. It’s got the sweetness from a sesame sauce but the bite from all the spices you’d expect from a General Tso sauce. It also walked a real tightrope between a thick and thin sauce that it might of invented a whole new state of matter.

 

PS- There has to be a story why there are 2 John’s Italian Restaurants. There just has to be. I can’t live in a world where this just happened by accident. I’ll eat my arms if this is just a coincidence. Maybe it takes a guy like me who thinks he might be Tom Hanks from the Da Vinci Code to crack this mystery. Or, maybe it just takes someone who actually knows the backstory to explain this to me. Either way is fine.

Hot Wings: The Most American Food

Hot Wings are the most American food! Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into the brass tacks.

The first Hot Wing (also called chicken wings or Buffalo wings) came into this world in 1964 from the fantastic city of Buffalo, New York, United States of America. The origin story goes like this: Dominic Bellissimo arrived at his parent’s bar, the Anchor Bar, late one night with several college friends looking for some food. In order to create a quick and easy meal, Dominic’s mother, Teressa, threw chicken wings into a deep fryer, tossed the cooked wings in cayenne hot sauce, and served up the legendary food we now call hot wings.

So, hot wings were born in America. That’s a pretty good start to be considered American. But what makes it the ‘Most American Food’? A hot wing is thrown into a giant vat of oil and fried at a high temperature for a short amount of time. It is then smothered in sauce (or dry rub) and devoured quickly. That sounds pretty badass, and therefore, American.

Still not convinced? How about this? Hot wings come in all sorts of sizes and sauces. You can have big meaty wings and small crispy wings. You can have traditional sauces like buffalo and mild, or you can have crazy flavors inspired by all different cultures like Teriyaki and Sriracha. In a way, hot wings are the melting pot of the food world. You know what else is often called a melting pot? That’s right: America!

That not doing it for you? Try this one on for size. More Americans watch the Super Bowl each year than any other televised broadcast in the United States. And do you know what food is a must-have at every Super Bowl party? Hot wings. The answer is hot wings. In fact, it is estimated that 1.3 billion wings are consumed while watching the Super Bowl. That’s enough to feed every man, woman, and child in America 4 wings each. These aren’t alternative facts here people.

“Hold on!” you say. “There are plenty of other foods that are more American than hot wings!”

Yeah, let’s take a look at these so-called “American foods”.


Hot Dogs

Hot Dogs are a favorite of ballparks and cookouts – synonymous with America’s favorite pastime and the Fourth of July. You can’t beat a good hot dog slathered in mustard, ketchup, and relish. Do you know where the name comes from? It was literally named hot dog because it looked like a dog that is known for being long, specifically, a Dachshund – a German dog! In fact, hot dogs originated from the frankfurter, which was created in Frankfurt, Germany. I don’t know about you, but Germany doesn’t sound very American to me.

Apple Pie

I’m sure we have all heard the saying, “As American as Apple Pie.” Scoop some ice cream on it (or a slice of cheddar cheese, if you’re into that sort of thing), and you’ve got yourself a delicious treat. Well, first of all, the apples used in Apple Pie aren’t even native to American soil. They were first brought over as trees, and then didn’t even produce much until we brought over European bees to pollinate. On top of that, the English were making Apple pies since the late 1300s. So, Apple Pies – Delicious? Absolutely. American? Not really.

Pizza

There’s nothing like a good pizza. Whether you’re a fan of New York style or Chicago Deep Dish, there’s no denying that Americans love their pizza. I think you know where this is going, though. There are forms of pizza from thousands of years ago from places like Sardinia, Greece, and Persia. But, it was made truly famous in Italy back in the 16th – 17th century, where it grew into the food we love today. Besides, I think most people agree that Pizza is more Italian, not American.


Now, don’t get me wrong. Those foods are all great. But Hot Wings were created in America; they are primarily served in America; and they are absolutely enjoyed by all Americans. In fact, have someone eat a hot wing. If they don’t like it, well, they’re not American. Honestly, that’s all that should be done for a citizenship test.

So we should all pledge allegiance to the almighty Hot Wing as the Most American Food in the United States of America!

Jak’s – Updated Review!

Jaks 2.22.17

Basic Information:

Location: 410 4th Ave, Jessup, PA 18434
Phone number: (570) 489-1600
Normal Wing Price: 10 for $8.95
Wing Night: Wednesday
Wing Night Price: $0.45 cents a wing
Wing flavors: Classic Buffalo, Garlic*, Garlic Parm*, Garlic Honey*, Caesar*, Caesar Parm, Caesar Garlic Parm, Butter & Garlic, Bellucci, Jak-Off*, Porketta, Buffalo Porketta*, Carolina, Carolina Blue, Honey Blue, Honey BBQ*, Honey Mustard*, Hot Honet, Sesame Teriyaki, Tangy Teriyaki, Boom Boom, Ghost Pepper, BBQ Bourbon
*- Available in hot or mild

Overall Rating: 78

Lynch’s Rating: 41 out of 50

Environment: 10
Jak’s Pub & Eatery is a favorite bar of ours located right off of Church Street in Jessup. We’ve been to Jak’s a number of times in the past, even when it was known as Johhny D’s under previous ownership. With the new owner came a remodeled bar with new food options, including some delicious wings. They also offer some pretty good craft beer options on draft if you’re into that sort of thing. The interior itself is a bit on the smaller side, which is usually full on our visits, but never too packed. The service has always been great and this visit was no different. Our waitress was very friendly and the food was extremely fast. In fact, I’d be surprised if the wings took even 10 minutes to arrive. It was awesome. On top of that, the food came out very warm and well cooked. You couldn’t beat it. Oh, and not to mention that they give you moist towelettes with your wings. Do we, perhaps unnecessarily, make a big deal about moist towelettes? Yeah, but it’s a nice little touch that is perfect when you finish your wings.

Wing Size: 8
On their Wednesday Wing Night, Jak’s offers wings at 45 cents each, which is slowly becoming harder and harder to find in the area. The wings are pretty large and in charge while managing to be crispy at the same time. A large and crispy wing is a rare thing in the wing world, but Jak’s pulls it off nicely. They also offer orders of five on their wing night. We are big fans of the smaller orders because it gives us an opportunity to try as many flavors as possible.

Wing Flavors: 7
Jak’s Pub & Eatery doesn’t offer the biggest selection of wings, but they do provide you with some pretty interesting options. In addition to the classic flavors like Buffalo, Honey Mustard, and Butter & Garlic, Jak’s spruces up a couple flavors to give you something unique and even offers some sauces you probably have never seen before. For example, the Bellucci is an awesome combination of spices, including Butter, Garlic, Old Bay, and Parmesan Cheese. The Jak-Off kicks it up a notch by adding some Buffalo sauce to the mix. The Carolina Blue is an interesting mixture of BBQ, Honey Mustard and Blue cheese. It’s these subtle changes to already delicious flavors that make the options at Jak’s stand out.

Wing Taste (x2): 8
As I mentioned earlier, the wings at Jak’s are cooked to perfection by combining a big, meaty wing with a great level of crispiness. On top of the well-made wings, the sauces are all delicious. The Hot Honey Garlic is a very tasty wing that takes a great Buffalo sauce base, adds a hint of sweetness with the honey, and increases flavors with tiny pieces of garlic. I think my wings could have used a bit more garlic, but I was still very happy with it overall. The Hot Caesar is a classic combination that I always enjoy. At Jak’s, that amazing Buffalo base is balanced perfectly with the Caesar to make a well-rounded and fantastic wing. The Buffalo Porketta was an interesting take on the traditional dry rub porketta that you see at other places. Jak’s allows you to mix the buffalo sauce, either hot or mild, with Porketta seasoning to give you a wet sauce that is truly unique. The sauce looked like it contained slightly different seasonings than a traditional porketta rub with some chunks of garlic mixed in. I really liked the flavor, but wish the sauce upped the amount of that delicious spice mixture just a little. Finally, I ordered one of my favorite wings from this place – the Jak-Off. For those familiar with Aww Shucks corn from Dorney Park and other Allentown places, this wing has a very similar combination of seasonings with buffalo wing sauce added. I love the mixture of the parmesan cheese, old bay, hot sauce, garlic and butter; It just works really well together. Unlike past visits, I felt like the Jak-off sauce lacked a tiny bit with the Old Bay, which is the spice I look forward to the most on these wings. I still took the wings down without a second thought, though.

Serniak’s Rating: 37 out of 50

Environment: 8
Jaks is the epitome of your classic corner bar because it has that welcoming vibe you’d expect out of your grandmother’s house if your grandmother was in the business of pouring you a shot of Jack(you like that). And Jaks is located on a corner so it all comes together to make for a relaxing experience. Not the biggest place in the world but they’ve recentlyish have added a backroom. It has a real secret room feel to it. The kind of place that you need to pull a book on a bookshelf or hit a particular note on a piano to gain access too. I only hope that’s the case. The place is very clean and has a decent selection of brew to order. Our waitress was extremely nice. She answered all of our questions we had, was diligent about refilling our drinks and went along with our banter. It’s always cool when our server can chime in with a couple lines to add to our conversation. Nothing like a 3rd voice to get to the bottom of things. Something that Jaks had that I don’t think I saw anywhere else was that they had paper towel rolls on each of the tables. Genius move. Hope that idea takes off all over the area.

Wing Size: 7
Coming in at 45 cents a wing, which seems like that puts them under the average of 50 cents a wing for most wing nights, is always a good thing. Can’t say it enough, but the days of 10 cent and even 25 cent wing nights are but a distant memory. Love hearing stories of simpler times when people would go for wings with 4 dollars and eat and drink like kings. If I could time travel, I’d go back and hit up one of those 10 cent wing joints. #Goals

Wing Flavors: 8
Since the last time we did a WRITE-UP on Jaks, a lot of work,thought and creativity has been put into their flavors list. I think the first time we ever went there was less than 7. Feel free to fact check me on that. Now, Jaks is up to 22 flavors. Some of them are natural offshoots of each other like caesar to caesar parm to caesar garlic parm. Nothing wrong with that. Like I said, that’s natural. If you’re going to have caesar as a flavor, it just makes sense to add garlic and parm to to it. But then, they have unique flavors such as Bellucci, which is interesting because he always seemed like a burger guy, that consists of butter/garlic mixed with secret spices and parmesan cheese. Another flavor called their Jak-Off, which can only be a reference to the creature the Jakovasaur from Southpark, that consists of secret spices, parmesan and their hot or mild sauce. I’m sure wings like that exist elsewhere. But when you give a flavor a name, and here’s a pro-tip, it makes it special and interesting. Interesting enough for me to try it. Other not oftenly seen flavors are Carolina Blue, honey blue, buffalo porketta, tangy teriyaki and boom boom lead me to believe that the creativity is flowing well at Jaks. I’m hoping it continues.

Wing Taste (x2): 7

Solid work all the around with everything I ordered. First up, there’s the tangy teriyaki. This sauce is exactly that. You pretty much know what you’re getting when you get teriyaki. Not exactly sure what makes them tangy other than teriyaki sauce being naturally tangy, to me at least. Next I had Carolina, which is a BBQ and mustard mix. Always a big fan of this flavor when I get it and this was no different. The smokiness of the BBQ added with the twang of the mustard is always a positive thing. Moving on to the boom boom, a flavor I feel that is on the rise, was very good. Tons of different spices are at play here ranging from paprika and garlic to cayenne and shallots. All that comes full circle to make a creamy orange sauce that will really get your engine going. Finally, I got the Bellucci. Tons of different flavors showing up together, partying and swinging with each other. The butter/garlic and parm are heavily caked on this wing. Always the way to go. Then you have the different spices, which is probably pepper, chili powder and a host of others. An excellent blend indeed.

The Wing Men Present Elite Eat

We have teamed up with The Woodlands Experience to help choose a new wing sauce for Crescenzo’s!

On March 26, 2017, from 3-7 PM , head to Crezcenzo’s within The Woodlands to sample three new wing flavors and vote on your favorite. The wing sauce with the most votes will be featured on Crecenzo’s upcoming new menu. The best part: it’s completely free to sample the new wings sauces and vote!!

 

 

Parker House Podcast Review 2

Parker House 2.8.17

We have another podcast for you from another place we haven’t been to in a while. This time, we made the short trip to Parker House to gorge on some wings. Check out our Podcast Review at the bottom of this post!

We have to say, every visit we have made to Parker House has been better than the last, with this really putting icing on the cake. They have added some new flavors to the menu with some really interesting options that were truly delicious. Plus, we got to try some secret sauces not on the menu. Give the podcast a listen so you could potentially order them on your next visit to the Parker House! Oh, and see if you can count all the references to The Social Network in this one.

If you want to check out our previous visits to Parker House, head over to the Parker House Review Page, where we have our first visit as a written review and our last visit as another podcast.

Parker House Wingcast

Grande Pizza Podcast Review 2

grande-wings-1-31-17

Wow! Can you believe it’s been nearly three whole years since we made our last visit to Grande Pizza in Dunmore? It’s been too long and we sure were happy to make a return trip.  Check out our podcast review of our most recent visit at the bottom of this post.

In this podcast, we talk about the changes to Grande Pizza since our last visit. And let us just say, they have changed a lot. Grande Pizza has expanded their wing options a bit and moved into a completely new building across the street. Thing are much different than they used to be, that’s for sure. Also, as The Wing Men often do, we got a little bit off topic. We may have spent a little bit of time talking about the limitations of human evolution. As they say, nothing goes together better than hot wings and the destruction of planet Earth as we know it.

Once again, this podcast was sponsored by Condron Media, so definitely give it a listen if you’re a local, small business that wants some free services.

Oh, and head over to the Grande Pizza Review Page to check out our previous visits at the old location. Enjoy the podcast!

Grande Pizza Wingcast

Saints and Sinners – Fourth Visit

saints-and-sinners-1-26-17

It’s very difficult for us to stay away from Saints and Sinners for too long because they have such delicious wings. So, obviously, we made another trip. Check out the bottom of this post to listen to the podcast review of our latest visit.

One awesome thing about Saints and Sinners is that they allow you to mix and match any flavor combination on the menu. Well, our creative juices were really flowing on this trip and we stretched our imaginations on the sauces we crafted. Oh, and we have a brief discussion on what a bizarro-world Lynch and Serniak would be like. You know, normal, everyday conversation stuff.

Also, if you’re a local business, you’ll definitely want to check out this podcast to take advantage of an awesome deal for Condron Media offered exclusively through the Wingcast. We’ll give you a hint, it’s free stuff. You can’t beat that.

Finally, if you want to check out all our previous visits to this lovely place, head to the Saints and Sinner Review Page.

Saints and Sinner Wingcast