My name is on the wall, and it's not for being a hoon
I must admit--I don't usually expect much from theme restaurants. Even more so for chain theme restaurants. There's a lot of effort being expended into things besides the food, and honestly, I'd just like to experience my food. Call me a curmudgeon, but you've got to go out of your way to grab my attention if you're going to expend a lot of effort on decorations and such that aren't directly related to filling my belly.
Enter the gearhead-themed Quaker Steak and Lube. You're going to hang what from the ceiling, now? And you're claiming to have wings so hot that I need to sign a waiver? Well then, that's worth a try.
One caveat: I'm a motorsports geek, but more of the squiggly line variety. Cars that turn in both directions. Crazy people who'll drive for 24 hours straight on some roads in France. Cars with engines in the trunk--where they belong! Total nutters with balls the size of Jupiter who'll race along dirt roads where trees or a cliff await them if they get it wrong. And of course, there's that funny little single-seater series that just ran around a nice, new, shiny squiggly line of pavement down in Austin. And, I, of course, can't freakin' wait to drive said new squiggly line. I am a geek. It's what I do.
So, with all the focus on Harleys and roundy-round cars, I'm probably not Quaker Steak and Lube's target audience. Regardless, I was still pleasantly surprised at the variety of stuff on the walls. An entire Legends car greets you when you walk in the door--hung upside-down from the ceiling. (It's so cute!) There are a billion TVs, making the bar a decent enough place to watch a game or two. At no point did I feel as if Ricky Bobby wanted to pick a fight with me for having made too many right turns in my life.
But of course, you can leave the walls bare for all I care as long as you get the food right. BWW's wings blow goats, so Waco's needed a good wings, beer, and TVs-type joint for quite some time.
Lo and behold, they've nailed it here. I tried the boneless triple atomic wings, and they were pretty tasty. The fry coating is just thick enough to hold the wings together while absorbing a fair amount of sauce, becoming a perfect, almost gelatinous mass of saucy batter goodness.
The bleu cheese that came with it could have been a little thicker and had larger chunks of bleu cheese, but it still tasted like tangy, cheesy deliciousness, so it did the job.
I could order carrots instead of celery, too, which was great because celery = ick.
There is a very lengthy list of sauces to choose from, which was awesome. The triple atomic sauce itself was more vinegary than most, which probably bumped up the heat a little. It was just a little sweet, like it may have been habanero or ghost chile based. Overall, it's not the spiciest sauce I've ever had, but loosened up my sinuses a bit and left me with a pleasant tingle in my mouth. And of course, signing the waiver apparently means I get my name on the wall. Tee hee.
I often get annoyed with wings places that try to dissuade me from trying their hottest sauces. "Yes, I'm sure I want the Nuclear Death Wings of Ultra Doom. No, I don't mind farting flames for the next week. Yes, I understand what I'm getting into." Here, I was actually grateful to be greeted with a waiver instead of a bunch o' whining. No attempts to dissuade me--just a waiver and my noms. Perfect.
I only had one dry spot on one wing, and it was in a bend where the chicken folded in on itself--chicken cleavage. That's hard to reach, so I'll give it a pass. The others were all adequately sauced without being soggy or drippy.
Not feeling up to fried food today? They'll sauce up grilled wings, too. I like that.
When it comes to washing down the wings, the beer selection wasn't expansive, but they have a handful of additional taps in addition to the usual suspects. Glasses come in regular, ludicrous, and 'MERCUUUUH! sizes.
Service lagged at times from the "EHMAHGERD A NEW RESTAURANT IN WACO" phenomenon, but I feel like they'll get it down in time. My wings came out pretty quickly after ordering, so that was good. (COCO HUNGRY.) The location next to I-35 is pretty dang convenient for those of us just passing through.
The entree names on the menu can be a tad groan-inducing. Madre de Vettel, we get it--YOU HAVE A THEME. But the wings are good, so they can name 'em "ninjacoco drives in funny shaped blobs like a weirdo foreigner" for all I care. Keep bringin' the spicy.