Walking into Hurricane Wings & Grill will transport you to a tiki hut on a Florida Beach, complete with surfboards, flip-flop paraphernalia, life rafts, pastel benches, driftwood decor, and palm trees.
It's a laid-back, umbrella-in-your-beverage kind of vibe. If you let the fluorescent glow of the overhead lights lull you to sleep, then you might dream that you've landed on the North Shore - until a tennis shoed server trots up to your table and asks you what you'd like to order.
As someone who's lived in Florida for over 20 years, it's fair to say I like hurricanes. I actually look forward to them - as long as no one gets hurt and not too much property gets damaged. But there is actually a less destructive type of hurricane I also look forward to - one that includes 35 flavors of wing sauce.
Hurricane Grill is a franchise that started in Fort Peirce, FL and seems to be primarily in Florida with some other locations scattered around New York and a few other states.
About the Wings
The wings are just ok. To be honest, the Buffalo Wild Wings Classic Hot Wings or Mango Habanero is my real go-to. Those always come doused in sauce and have a good amount of meat.
Hurricane's wings are a bit smaller, there's usually less sauce (even if you request them wet), and the sauce itself (insofar as the ones I've sampled) isn't that exciting. The classic buffalo is ok. Do NOT try the Cyclone sauce on the wings. Uck. I think I've had the garlic parm, and that's really hard to go wrong.
The fries are good. If you want to try something a little different, the Hurricane Nachos come with chili and make a pretty decent entree. But the very very best thing on the menu is Broccoli.
The broccoli comes dunked in butter with pepper and parmesan on top. It is the tastiest broccoli side I have ever encountered. The firecracker shrimp is pretty good. My friend Doug often orders the Steak Philly. My other friend named Doug would get the Beachside Chicken complete with bacon and two heaping chicken breasts.
When you play weekly trivia somewhere, you really get to know that restaurant's menu. "Smarter Than a Fourth Grader" used to take no prisoners at this particular wing joint on Wednesday nights. For months, we would be contenders getting more than our fair share of trophy photo ops. Only downside was splitting the $50 gift card between 6 players. You'd be lucky to have half of next week's meal paid for.
Trivia night sometimes goes for two-plus hours, and that is a lot of Diet Coke refills. The servers at the location at Baymeadows/295 were always fantastic. Sadly, with that location closed we have to venture further out to Bartram Park for a Hurricane wing night date.
Good Drinks & Good Vibes
The bar has an excellent beer selection, complete with local craft brews, some lighter lagers, Landshark and Sweetwater, and Dukes if you really want something that'll put hair on your chest. They have a smattering of frou-frou drinks, but I've never really explored that list, since when you go you're not actually at the beach and planning to drift away to Margaritaville. RIP Jimmy Buffet.
Overall, the bar is a family-friendly environment. A great place to sink into one of the patio chairs and share a Bavarian pretzel dunked in beer cheese.
Sip on some Leinenkugal wheat beer and take in whatever activity the bar has going on.
It might be trivia. It might be live music. Our family likes to catch Joe Downing when he plays at the Durbin Park location. I suggest you catch one of his shows. And try some more of the wing sauces, and tell me which one is the best. I may just be missing out on the secret sauce.