February 18, 2016
A few years ago, I reviewed the area’s top chicken wing restaurants for our local NPR affiliate, WBOI. For years, I listened to people debate about which establishment served the best wings, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and see for myself. I did some crowdsourcing to identify the top six wing spots, and within the span of a month I visited them all. One was the clear winner: Tower Bar & Grill. I don’t know what the secret is, but visit on a Wednesday or Saturday night, which are 55 cent wing nights, and you’ll learn quickly that Tower wings are definitely in high demand. Since completing my wing review, I’ve been back over and over again to enjoy the wings, and I’ve ventured to sample other menu items as well.
While you could describe the fare as bar food – it’s not a fine dining establishment – the quality, consistency and taste make Tower an all-around winner in my book. My one complaint is service: it is pretty hit or miss, depending on which server you get, but with wings this good they can get away with it.
Here are a few of my favorites from the menu:
Cheesy Bread Sticks ($6.75) – Mozzarella-filled bread sticks, deep fried and served with marinara and cheese sauce. These are pure junk food, but pure goodness – a heaping plate of steaming, bubbling cheese bread. It’s a must try, but plan on sharing.
Wings ($8.25 for 10 daily or $0.55 each every Wednesday and Saturday) – Tower wings are tender, juicy and flavorful and are offered with a variety of sauces. The extra hot sauce is prepared in house with 10 peppers and packs a big punch, but unlike other hot sauces that are hot for hot’s sake and nothing else, this hot sauce is flavorful, too. Tower Grill is a rub, and it’s amazing – tangy with just the right amount of heat. Fajita Grill is also a rub, and it tastes just like a fajita – spicy, salty and tangy. Chipotle Citrus BBQ is very sweet with a smoky chipotle flavor. I typically order this one grilled, which means they throw them on the grill at the end for extra flavor and a bit of caramelizing. Mild actually carries some heat, with a subtle vinegar flavor. Hot Teriyaki is not too sweet or salty. It is simply a well balanced Asian flavor.
Hoosier Burger ($8) – A half-pound charbroiled burger with lettuce, tomato, bacon and American cheese, topped with a fried egg. Tower has a nice selection of burgers on the “Burger Bar” portion of their menu, but this is my favorite. For me, put a fried egg on almost anything and it’s bound to be my favorite item on the menu. Other than that, this is a classically good burger. There’s nothing fancy about it. It simply hits the spot when you need a cheeseburger. It is served with chips, or you can have fries for an additional $2, which I’d highly recommend. Tower fries are some of my favorite in town. They are perfectly crunchy and golden brown, seasoned just right with a little bit of salt.
Chicken Fajita Wrap ($7.50) – Grilled fajita chicken with peppers, onions, tomatoes and colby jack cheese, wrapped in a flour tortilla with salsa and southwestern ranch dressing. If you’re looking for something on the lighter side, this is a good choice. It is well seasoned with the fajita spices, peppers and onions. I especially like the southwestern ranch dressing; it adds a nice creamy texture, along with a tangy punch.
While the wings may be enough to drive you to Tower, you can’t go wrong with many of the other menu options as well. And while the ambiance is nothing special (it’s a big open room with high-top tables and larger low tables, with ample seating at the bar) there are plenty of TVs for watching your favorite sports teams. They also have daily lunch and dinner specials, which they post on their Facebook page. There’s good news for third shifters too! Tower opens at 7 a.m.
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