The quality of Craven Wings is worth the price
Craven Wings has two locations in Knoxville, one in Seymour and the other way, way, way, South Northshore Drive exit In fact, when The Grub Spouse and I visited this last store a few weeks ago, I had officially traveled farther Northshore than I’ve ever been. We found the restaurant in a micro-commercial oasis set amongst residential developments and pastures.
Didn’t realize it was a full service operation with a bar and all. I had imagined it to be a counter service restaurant, so we were pleasantly surprised when a hostess escorted us to a booth. We passed the drinks from the bar and instead sat down with our glasses of water and started scanning the menu.
It’s not a monster at all, although it does include half a dozen daily specials, most of which are also available for dinner at higher prices and, presumably, somewhat larger portions.
Appetizers include fried mushrooms, pickles and cheese sticks as well as short ribs, spicy cheese curds and buffalo cauliflower. We had planned to do something for dessert, so we passed on the applications. If you’re interested in something in a salad, look for the chef’s salad as well as greens topped with grilled or crispy chicken.
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Another section offers burgers (beef and plant-based), sandwiches and more. For example, we spotted a Spicy BBQ Bacon Sandwich, Cajun Quesadilla, and Chicken Wrap. Spouse ordered Melissa’s homemade chicken salad sandwich, which alone costs $11.99. We upgraded to a basket, which includes a standard side dish for an additional $1.99. However, The Spouse chose a premium side, sweet potato fries, which are still $1.99.
This let me take Craven’s signature element, the wings. The wings are available, with or without bone, in quantities ranging from six pieces to 40. They also have breaded chicken fingers in quantities ranging from three to 20 pieces. A section called Family Specials has options for ordering larger quantities of wings, fingers, or both.
I decided to try the Combo Special – five wings and three fingers for $13.99. For the wings, I opted for the traditional bone-in and asked for the hot sauce from their list of 16 varieties. These range from barbecue on the tame side to “The Grim Reaper” on the fiery end of the spectrum. I also asked for Honey Buffalo sauce on the side to dip my chicken fingers. I upgraded the Combo Special to a basket for $1.99 and chose onion rings as the standard side. A premium side would have cost $1.99 more.
Other standard sides include a salad, spiral fries and Craven beans. High-end sides include potato salad, fried okra, and pepper salad.
I was quite impressed with everything we ordered. The wings were warm and tender, and the Honey Buffalo sauce epitomized both namesake flavors. The bone-in wings, which included bits of drumstick, were quite meaty and the hot sauce slathered on the outside was visibly tangy without being painful. The breaded onion rings were crunchy and fat flavorful.
The spouse’s chicken salad sandwich was unique. The recipe included chopped onions and celery along with chunks of grapes, but there was also a noticeable curry flavor in the mix. Spouse isn’t normally big on the Indian spice palate, but there was no objection to this recipe. The mixture had texture and crunch, just like the toast it was served on. Interestingly, the sweet potato fries had a hint of cinnamon flavor.
I have no complaints about the pricing, other than the cart, combo, and premium side upgrades can significantly increase your tab ($6 in our case). But the quality of our meal, which ended with a delicious slice of homemade coconut cream pie (courtesy of a local vendor), was enough for the Craven Wings to leave us with a pleasant taste. in the mouth.
Address: 12350 S. Northshore Drive
Full bar service
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Monday to Sunday
This chicken-centric restaurant has two locations in the Knoxville area, both serving delicious versions of wings, fingers, sandwiches and more.