Hackett Hot Wings

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.

 

Hands down.

 

Hackett Hot Wings is located at 520 South Main in Joplin. Click here to visit its website, and click here to follow it on Facebook.

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.

Social BTB

It’s Friday night, and the first floor of Joplin’s historic Gryphon building is buzzing with activity. Groups of friends and families gather at tables and booths, catching up on each other’s day over a shared meal.

 

This concept, this idea of a gathering place, is a simple one. But it works.

 

social btb gryphon

This gathering place is called Social BTB. Although I consistently – and mistakenly – call it Social TBT (because I’ve been so deeply programmed by Throwback Thursday posts on social media), the BTB here standing for Burgers, Tenders, and Beer, the three things that this restaurant specializes in. Just like the concept, the menu is also simple. And it works.

 

social btb logo

It works because the wizard behind Social BTB is none other than successful local restaurateur George Michalopoulos. George introduced Joplin to his Mediterranean-inspired recipes when he opened Mythos in 2004, a restaurant which continues to be a favorite among local diners as well as visitors.  When I heard that George was opening a new restaurant, I knew I had to try it, and I knew it would be good.

 

And it was.

 

 

Ordering

The first thing you’ll see when you walk into Social BTB is the menu counter. Actually, you’ll probably zero in on your favorite sports teams playing on one of the 16 flat screen TVs hanging in the restaurant, but walk past those and proceed to the menu counter to place your food order. I promise there will be time to watch the games once you’re seated.

 

social btb menu

The menu features burgers, chicken tenders, salads, and sandwiches (including vegetarian options like the Grilled Cheese, and the Veggie, a black bean chipotle patty. There aren’t a gazillion choices on the menu, and that’s refreshing. Again, simple is what works here.

 

social btb interior

Once you place your food and soft drink order, you’ll get a number to take with you to a table or booth of your choice in the dining room. At your booth or table, you’ll notice this magical button.

 

social btb buzz bar

If you’d like something stronger than a soft drink, all you do is press this button, and someone will appear at your table to take your order.

 

In addition to a fully stocked bar, Social BTB offers over 30 types of bottled beers and over a dozen beers on tap.

 

social btb beer

I opted for this refreshing Hefeweizen from KC while my husband Travis chose a draft beer.

 

 

The Food

Sticking with the BTB theme, Travis ordered a burger and I ordered tenders. We also ordered the house-made Onion Strings. I could have eaten those tasty seasoned strings all by themselves!

 

The Onion Strings arrived with Travis’ dinner. He’d also ordered a side of House Fries with his burger (which he’d customized to his liking). The beef patties here are fresh, not frozen, which makes for juicy burgers.

 

social btb burger

I ordered the BTB (3pc) Plate (you can also choose a 4- or a 5-piece plate), which comes with hand-breaded tenders, garlic house toast, and one dipping sauce.

 

social btb tenders meal

Because I like to try different flavors, I added two more sauces for a small charge, which allowed me to sample the Bleu cheese, garlic Parmesan, and BTB house (a sweet-and-sour Polynesian-type sauce). There are about five more sauces that I want to try the next time I order tenders here.

 

Let me take a moment and focus on the tenders.

 

social btb tenders

These babies are huge and plump and perfectly seasoned. They filled me up so much that I only had room to try a couple of the yummy Sweet Potato Fries I’d ordered as a side before boxing them up to bring home. (Social BTB also offers Salt & Vinegar Fries, which I want to try next time).

 

 

The Gathering Place

After eating, Travis and I walked around to see the rest of Social BTB, which is more like a complex than a restaurant. In addition to the dining room, where we’d eaten, there’s also a bar…

 

social btb bar

…and a couch lounge.

 

social btb lounge 1

 

social btb lounge 2

The couch lounge is a great place to watch football games with friends. Visit on Wristband Sunday when you can buy a wristband for $3, choose a team, and every time that team scores, you get a free bar favor.

 

Throughout Social TBT, you’ll find murals of animals with cheeky sayings painted above them. For example, take this animal exchange (which reminds me of the Chick-fil-A cow/chicken rivalry):

 

social btb cow

 

social btb chicken

Another feature that Social TBT offers is outdoor seating.

 

social btb outdoor view

I love eating outdoors whenever possible, and I’m always searching for restaurants that have this option.

 

social btb outdoor seating

Not only can you eat outside, but you can also play games! Spend a balmy summer night hanging out on the patio with friends or family (or both) while playing corn hole, jumbo Jenga, jumbo cup pong, or outdoor bowling.

 

social btb corn hole

Afterwards, treat yourself to some ice cream at Caroline’s, located just down the hall from Social BTB, on the Main Street side of the Gryphon Building.

 

Open seven days a week, Social BTB offers good food, plentiful drinks, and a casual space where people of all ages can gather together to socialize.

 

 

Social BTB is located at 1027 South Main Street, inside the Gryphon Building. Click here to visit its website, and here to see its Facebook page.

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.