Great Wings from Chicago’s only Improv Theater.
After living in Chicago for over 4 years, I started to develop my favorite places to go. I had my favorite Restaurants, favorite Theaters, Bars, Buildings, Streets, the list goes on. One thing I hadn’t found, though, was that special “thing” that made me feel at home. Since I was born and raised in Buffalo, NY, I knew what I had to find. I had to go search for the Best Wings that Chicago had to offer.
Upon initially entering The Crowd Theater, the thought of food doesn’t even occur, and that’s probably what made it such a hit. “It was definitely a happy accident” Dillon Cassidy, Director of Operations tells me, as we dine on their famous Zac Saffron wings. “The four of us, when we first started, all had an appreciation for wings and we wanted to be able to provide a concession for the patrons…and it just took off from there”. Reviews of the wings on Yelp claim to have converted Vegetarians, and almost all of them praise the various flavors of wings that are available. “Honestly, I’m happy the wings are doing well, I wish people loved the shows as much as they like the wings” Dillon adds, “but If you get them coming back for the wings, that’s enough.” Ashley Victoria, Deputy Director of Justice, believes that The Crowd’s success stems from one thing in particular. “I think it’s the spirit of commitment” she adds, “We are all so committed to our wings and bringing the quality, freshness, and affordability to the people”. Commitment is one aspect of their success, but having a variety of over 20+ different flavors of wings doesn’t hurt either.
I enjoyed their classic Buffalo Wing, but was pleasantly surprised when I was handed a “Dessert” Wing that contained a peanut butter/chocolate batter that was fried to golden brown. The Crowd is also known for switching up the recipes and flavors from time to time, to keep things fresh. “We’ve actually had Chefs come in, and come up with something new for us… they want to try something new, this is the place to do it, that’s what we’re known for” Curating some of the best wings in Chicago has certainly garnished attention locally, too. “There wasn’t any competition in the immediate area until recently” Dillon explains “We just had Special Kudo, which is an international Chicken franchise, open their first store in Chicago right below us”. Ashley sees that as a good sign. “I feel like we’re on the way to making this little strip of Broadway the “Wingtown” of Chicago…maybe 12-15 wing places stacked on top of each other”. While Dillon did mention that they’re talking with the Uptown Chamber of Commerce to establish a wing festival, one of the more exciting changes to come in 2017 is a new “Bring Your Own Wings” night. Attendees to this show are encouraged to bring their own wing concoctions and battle it out for a chance to have their recipe featured on The Crowd’s secret menu. While their focus right now is on wings and performances, Dillon is still keeping an open mind about future food additions. “If we could have the best fries in the city, i’d love that.”
The future of the Crowd Theatre seems bright. With a great program in place for performing (The Co-op), Different, Inclusive Improv shows (Sex Positive Variety Show), or innovative ways to pay for their shows and rentals, (Check out their Patreon) they’ve managed to create a great atmosphere and community in the first year of their existence. For more info on their upcoming shows and menu choices, head over to their website.