Deliciously Cheap: Wings and a Prayer

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Wings and a Prayer logo | Photo credit: Wings and a Prayer LLC

Daevan Mangalmurti, Editor

Happy New Year! Reader, if you read my last article (posted nearly six months ago), you know I said I was unlikely to ever update this column regularly. But even by my standards, half a year is far too long a break from the good work of spreading the gospel of deliciously cheap eats. In that spirit, I’ll aim to make up for my many long absences with a slightly more consistent schedule in the upcoming semester (my last at Obama)… maybe. 

With that over with, let’s grab a table at a destination that combines the Deliciously Cheap gospel with those of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Wings and a Prayer (Wings), newly located at 226 Shady Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206, provides both alimentary and spiritual sustenance in every meal. While it may at first glance appear just one of many fried chicken shacks to be found in Pittsburgh—albeit in the basement of an apartment building rather than a bustling main street—Wings is quite unique in a number of ways. 

First off, the fried chicken at Wings is different from what you might find at Bird on the Run or any number of other fried chicken-eries in the city. The emphasis on wings and wingdings is real: they’re as light as fried food can be, not at all oily, and fried so that the meat is firm without sticking to the bone. The skin is crunchy and flavorful, and you can easily sit back, relax, and enjoy the textures and flavors of the meat, the skin, and the house dry rub. Just in case you’re looking to spice things up a little, the restaurant offers four additional ways to do your wings: Barbecue, Buffalo, Cajun, and Sweet and Tangy. I haven’t had the chance to try the Buffalo, and the Barbecue is good though not exceptional. But the Sweet and Tangy sauce complements the texture of the wingdings perfectly, while the Cajun powder is a salty and simmering dry rub completely unlike the commodified Cajun cuisine you might be familiar with from establishments like Popeyes. The price of four wings is $5.99; six wingdings are $5.95. Both plates are filling. 

A spread of wings, wingdings, and sides at Wings and a Prayer | Photo credit: Daevan Mangalmurti

Second, the “prayer” in Wings and a Prayer has offered just as much as the wings on the two occasions I’ve visited. I don’t base this conclusion on the fish filet, nor the frankfurters, burgers, or ribs (which were tragically unavailable as of my last visit, 1/6); I base it on the sides. My twin favorites have to be the fresh yams and the fried cabbage. The yams arrive piping hot, softened from soaking in a potent mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon. The cabbage is surprisingly light for a fried dish (a running theme), and uses only the most basic of seasoning—salt and pepper—to create a richly satisfying dish. Both are simple, both are scrumptious. If you’re looking for more after those two epicurean delights, there are still chili cheese fries (thick-cut, draped in cheese, and sprinkled with paprika); fresh collard greens (cooked like the cabbage but with less pepper and a slightly less satisfying texture); baked mac n cheese (light yet strongly cheesy); onion rings (well-fried but ordinary); and green beans (as well-seasoned as the cabbage, with a soft yet firm texture) on offer. The yams, cabbage, greens, mac n cheese, and beans are all $3.95; the onion rings are $3.75; and the chili cheese fries are $5.95. 

The counter and tables a Wings and a Prayer | Photo credit: Daevan Mangalmurti

Third, I promised spiritual sustenance, and Wings delivers. Not just on my kind of spiritual sustenance—which is pretty much the same thing as my alimentary sustenance, if you catch my drift—but good-thoughts-prayer-card-with-your-meal kind of spiritual sustenance. If you’re not sure what I mean, here’s a picture.

I may not be a frequent churchgoer, but I’m more than fine with my steaming pile of wings and greens being accompanied by a set of good wishes from the house. The house, by the way, is run by a lovely couple who just about guarantee excellent service. 

Fly on over today.