Hot Wings Bracket, Round 1: Don Don’s vs. Crumpy’s

Posted by Holly Whitfield | March 22nd 2012 2643 0

It's time for the final match up of the first round of the Best Hotwings in Memphis Bracket: Don Don's vs. Crumpy's.

Here's how the first round works: I ate wings at both Crumpy's and Don Don's.

I’ll lay out my thoughts on each offering, and you guys will have 24 hours to vote in the poll at the bottom of the post. I’ll cast my vote, too, and the winner will move on to the next round. You can only vote once in each match up.

Let's meet the contenders:

Don Don's

3620 Austin Peay Highway
Memphis, TN 38128
(901) 377-7007

Don Don's Hot Wings on Urbanspoon

Order: 5 whole honey hot wings, about $7

Don Don's Hot Wings, Memphis, Tenn.

I'm not a big fan of whole wings (the kind where the drummie part and the skinny part are connected) – they're so much harder to eat then the cut up kind. The wings at Don Don's come whole and are fried until they're crispy without being dry.

The wings weren't ginormously plump, but there was plenty of meat on the bones. The honey hot sauce has a nice vinegary sting to it that makes it more tangy and spicy than cloyingly sweet.

As a sidenote, though Don Don's was pretty empty when I stopped by, they had "Basketball Wives" on the TV and crushed ice in the cups.

Napkin rating: too many to count, mostly because the things that pass for napkins at Don Don's are closer to Kleenex.

Don Don's Napkins

And in the other corner:


220 S Claybrook St.
Memphis, TN 38104

Crumpy's Hot Wings on Urbanspoon

Order: the $5 special: three whole wings, fries and a drink.

Crumpy's wings, Memphis, Tenn.

Crumpy's was completely packed when I stopped by for lunch, so I had a lot of time to study the menu while I waited in line. They've got the normal varieties of wings – hot, super hot, suicide, seasoned, honey gold, lemon pepper and jerk – but there wasn't an exact honey hot sauce to taste against the wings from Don Don's.

Instead, I went with the lemon pepper wings, thinking that they'd be the right combination of sweet and tangy. It was a good decision – the whole wings were crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and had a serious citrusy bite.

They were definitely worth the long wait, but next time, I'll probably call my order in.

Napkin rating: A lone paper towel

You know what to do now. Cast your vote for which wings will go on to face Alex's Tavern in the second round. You've got 24 hours to get your vote in.

Please vote in the comments – I had to pull the poll because it was causing problems with the site. As of 7:45 a.m. on Friday, March 23, Don Don's had 18 votes and Crumpy's had 19 votes. Comment voting is open until 3 p.m. today.

Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

Show Comments


  1. Memphis says:

    Sorry but anyone who says, "I'm not a big fan of whole wings (the kind where the drummie part and the skinny part are connected)" has absolutely no business conducting a hot wing bracket. Same goes for anyone who includes wings from Mexican and BBQ restaurants as examples of what Memphis has to offer.

  2. Daniel says:

    don dons for the win please

  3. Jeff says:

    I'm thinking you can't rate hot wings when you get a different flavor each time.  I'd suggest you go with one flavor like "hot" and stick with it wherever you go.  Compare apples to apples so to speak.

  4. Jay says:

    Umm… I must agree with the first comment above. I'm a bit of a wing connoisseur and if you think there is something wrong with whole wings, this may not be the best showdown for you to play judge.
    But more importantly… this is a ridiculous pairing. Don Don's and Crumpy's are essentially the same establishment. Started as Crumpy's by Don Crump, the Don Don's name was given to the stores he named after his son Don, Jr.
    … and if one of these two doesn't win the whole bracket, something is terribly wrong. Crumpy's/Don don's have the best wings I have eaten anywhere… not just Memphis. I just moved to Birmingham, and haven't found a decent wing joint yet- 3 down, and none compare to the best of Memphis.

  5. Tammy Crump says:

    My dad is the owner of Crumpy's and Don Don's.  They are not different.  We just named a few stores after my little brother.  So yes they both taste A.. B.. C.. DELICIOUS. 🙂

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