My husband Travis is not a picky eater. But when it comes to wings, he will only eat at Hackett Hot Wings.
He’s not the only one, either. Hackett’s has built a loyal following ever since Floyd and Jacqueline Hackett opened the restaurant in Joplin’s East Town in 2003, featuring hot wings inspired by the flavors of their home town of Memphis.
The restaurant quickly outgrew its space and moved downtown in 2008. Being on busy Main Street brought even more customers – and more fans.
In 2011, Hackett’s earned the top spot in 417 Magazine’s “5 Best Chicken Wings” article.
That’s the top spot in the region, not just in the city of Joplin.
And that’s impressive.
I recently joined Travis on a trip to Hackett’s during one of his hot-wing cravings. Personally, I prefer boneless white meat, like chicken breast, over wings, but guess what? Hackett’s accommodates people like me, too! You can order boneless chicken chunks or tenders prepared in the same way that you’d order chicken wings. So even if you don’t like wings, you can still experience the unique flavors of Hackett’s.
Although there’s parking available along Main Street, we parked in the lot behind the building and entered through the restaurant’s rear entrance. Since it was just me and Travis, we opted to sit in the sports room.
Had our kids been with us, we probably would have eaten in one of the two other dining rooms so they wouldn’t be distracted by all of the TV monitors and could actually focus on having a conversation with us.
But those TV monitors in the sports room sure come in handy during game days.
From nearly every vantage point, you can see a monitor, allowing you to keep up with your favorite team while visiting with your friends.
Travis and I each ordered a beer on tap to sip on while we looked through the menu. Hackett’s is a great place to visit for Happy Hour, as it offers a variety of draft and bottled beers, as well as cocktails and 14 signature drinks, including spiked lemonade (the non-alcoholic lemonade is tasty, too).
For an appetizer, we ordered the Fried Green Beans (you can order them prepared regular or spicy, and we ordered the spicy version). My daughter raves about these, so the plan was to taste a few and bring the rest home to her.
Things didn’t go according to plan.
Those fiery green beans dipped into the cool, creamy ranch dressing were so addicting that, by the time we took a break from stuffing ourselves, there were only three beans left; we figured that was too paltry a number to bring home, so we finished them off instead.
That decision did not earn us any points for Parents of the Year.
Yet we forged ahead and ordered our entrees. Travis ordered a combination of wings with the Season dry rub, and the Medium sauce, served with a side of crunchy carrots and celery tossed in flavorful spices.
There really are so many wing-eating options at Hackett’s. Do you like your wings dry? Wet? Mild? Hot? You can tailor your wing experience to your taste with Hackett’s five dry rub options (including the popular Lemon Pepper), and eight sauce options (the Hot & Honey is a favorite). If you find one you like, let Hackett’s know by voting for it here. If you’re out of town and hankering for a taste of Hackett’s you can shop online and have your favorite rub or sauce delivered to your door.
As for me, I wanted to capture the subtle fire of Hackett’s Medium sauce without ordering wings, so I opted for the chicken tender salad and I asked that the (enormous) tenders be tossed with the wing sauce.
Everyone’s happy, everyone wins.
And I mean everyone. If you’re not in the mood or chicken wings or tenders, order a burger, or the catfish dinner or pulled-pork dinner with a side of hushpuppies for a truly Southern experience.
While Hackett’s has a little something for everyone, for wing-lovers, Hackett’s has it all.
To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.