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First bite: Pluckers Wing Bar in Fort Worth

Posted 6:49pm on Wednesday, Jul. 09, 2014

My vegetarian wife is pretty open-minded about going to meat palaces, as long as the menu finds a place for something meatless. But apparently no amount of kale could get her into a place called Pluckers Wing Bar.

Not that kale is on the menu, but there are a few meatless appetizers, and a rep told me that the new Alliance Town Center location -- the first in Fort Worth (way north Fort Worth) -- will have a veggie sandwich on the menu. This is probably cold comfort to non-meat-eaters entering a place where some servers wear T-shirts that say “We proudly serve animals that once ate vegetables.”

But, yeah, who goes to a wing bar to not eat meat? You can order up to 100 wings, bone-in or boneless, and choose from nearly 20 sauces. You can get a burger or some other kind of meat sandwich if wings aren’t your thing. You can spot a TV practically anywhere you look -- 66 LED flat-screens, which Pluckers says is a record for the Austin-based chain (there are six other Pluckers in DFW, including ones in Arlington and Grapevine). There are also two 110-inch video walls.

The Alliance location throws down a gauntlet, surrounded as it is by locations of Chili’s, Fuzzy’s, Mi Cocina, Houlihan’s and Olive Garden -- and those are just the restaurants you can see from the Pluckers parking lot in the ever-growing center. But it’s a short walk from the Cinemark Alliance theater, where the parking lot is nearly always packed, so if you’re craving wings after Transformers: Age of Extinction or something like that, this is a decent bet.

The restaurant features an indoor-outdoor patio, partly open and partly sunroom-esque; a main dining room; a bar and a room that’s more like an enclosed patio. Servers on Monday, the first preview night, were helpful and knowledgeable, at least in the cases of the ones I encountered, which was pretty impressive since the place was packed, with a line that started around 5:30 p.m. and didn’t really diminish till almost 8.

Seated at the bar, I ordered a boneless wing basket -- four large, fat wings -- with the bartender-recommended spicy lemon pepper sauce. Rated two flames on the menu (on a five-flame scale, with only the “Fire in the Hole” sauce getting five flames), the sauce had an OK hint of lemon and was respectably spicy, but hard-core fire eaters might want to go for the three-flame Buffalo hot or go all the way with the Fire in the Hole (”Eat 25 and get on the Wall of Flame!”). Baskets come with one side; the macaroni and cheese came to the bar creamy and flavorful, but cooled quickly, diminishing some of the creaminess.

The mac and cheese was not the Holy Macaroni appetizer, described with “At Pluckers we fry everything, even macaroni and cheese.” They also fry Oreos and, at this location, Twinkies, two of them, with a baseball-size scoop of vanilla ice cream atop, everything drizzled with chocolate syrup. Compared with some of the fried food options at the State Fair of Texas, that’s pretty prosaic, and the frying in this case made the Twinkie filling less impressive than in a straight-up ... er, raw Twinkie. The dessert’s bigger than you might expect, though. I needed a long walk afterward.

Pluckers also has an extensive beer menu, including several choices from North Texas craft breweries, and a cocktail menu including margaritas and something called a Psychedelic Frog: four liqueurs and three mixes, which give it an accurately described neon green color that might come in handy during a power failure.

The Alliance location’s official address is 9229 Rain Lily Trail; the official grand opening is July 15. For more on Pluckers, visit http://www.pluckers.com, like Pluckers on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

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