Omaha Wing Challenge — Pipeline Tavern
Hit That Dive

Omaha Wing Challenge — Pipeline Tavern

1300 South 72nd Street
Omaha NE 698124

I’ll be fair to start this one off, I actually like the food at the Pipeline Tavern…but until last night I had never ordered the wings. Let’s get to the moral of this entire story…if you’re here on a Saturday…order the pretty awesome burger and fries for $5. Now, about these wings. Oy vey…where to begin?
Oh, I know, I’ll start with something pleasant.  I was at the Pipeline in the first place to catch up with Bob Bruce to see how his colonoscopy went from a few days ago. Yeah…this is the pleasant part. For those that don’t know…Bob Bruce and the BBRE can be heard Monday-Friday on the Mighty 1290 KOIL with yours truly joining the fun every Friday from 5-6. 
Keep in mind that I actually like this bar.
Now, let’s review some wings. 
How It Works: Wings are rated in five categories for a total potential perfect score of 50. The current reigning champion (by virtue of a committee vote) is The Pheasant with a total score of 48. 
And, for shits and giggles (mostly to get the shits) the worst score has been the severed toe wings at LaVista Keno which flatlined at a 2. Just click right here to get the complete list of HitThatDive wings reviews. Even the ones that I’d rather not remember. 
First Impressions: I knew there was going to be a problem when, in a completely empty bar, an order of wings came out of the kitchen in less than 8ish minutes. Why is that a problem you ask? 
Well, I figured since the cook literally had nothing to do, it would have been the perfect time to throw some wings in a fryer and watch them sizzle for the appropriate amount of time of …12 to 15 minutes. It would at least beat watching the paint in the kitchen dry. 
But son of a gun, here they are in the blink of an eye.  And at least from initial impression…they were indeed steaming hot. I just know that something seems “fishy” with these wings (and boy was I right…you’ll see why in just a bit). Something seemed off with the sauce too, but I think there’s an actual section in the wing reviews that addresses that topic…but it’s been awhile since I wrote one of these so I can’t seen to remember. 
SCORE: 5 out of 10


Sauce: A ha! I do write about the sauce. I knew it!  You can order the wings here with three pretty bland-sounding sauces. The closest I assumed to Buffalo sauce said something to the effect of “Frank’s Hot Sauce” as one of the options…so I went with that. 
In something I had never seen before, it was like the wings were coated with Rain-X and the chicken literally seemed to be repelling the “sauce”.  Which actually, was neither here nor there because so far the stuff masquerading at Frank’s Hot Sauce is as uninspired as everything about this order of wings. In fact, the sauce was so bland and uninteresting I never even made a note about it. 
Since it practically was invisible, I’d like to make a suggestion to rename the stuff so they have their own signature wing flavor. So next time I order wings at the Pipeline, I would like to have the “Claude Rains Sauce” as one of my options. Ask for it by name. 

I’ll have mine with an extra side of Claude, please
Score: 2 out of 10 
Crispy:  Here’s my guess as to  how they could pump out an order of wings in eight minutes. These wings gave off a distinct baked flavor, so I’m guessing that they bake up a whole batch, keep them in the refrigerator and then wait for some unsuspecting sucker to order them.  
Once ordered, a few of the baked (and cold) wings get tossed into a fryer for a minute or so, then get slapped into a bowl with some Claude Rains sauce, hustled onto a plate and brought out faster than you can say “pass the Tums.”  
Not only were they not crispy, in the least, they had the same slimy consistency of swallowing a raw oyster…remember I said something seemed a little fishy (ZING!). Not to mention that they were slightly undercooked and suddenly you have a rather unremarkable plate of $7.95 wings that there was no chance I was going to eat all of. 
It repels sauce
Score: 0 out of 10  

Size: This is a direct quote from the HTD Facebook page that I could not agree more with. “I can only imagine what they even did to make a chicken that big…I wouldn’t eat if even if it were cooked properly.”  And that’s  the problem,  far too often anymore, bars are serving GIANT mutant wings and they have no idea how to cook them properly. 
When you take a nearly cooked pterodactyl wing, let it cool, and then toss it in they fryer for a bit, there is no chance that it’s going to be remotely close to being cooked properly. It might technically be “done”…but this isn’t horseshoes. Close does not come close to cutting it. 
I was not surprised in the least when I bit into one of the biggest of the Solomon Grundy-looking chicken toes to find that it was cold on the inside. Not frozen like some of the ones I’ve had recently…but still. Cold chicken that came to the bar with steam coming off of it?  How do you even pull that one off? Oh wait, I think I just did figure that out. 
Score: 3 out of 10

Oyster anyone?

Extras: Oh, you know, I have to immediately deduct five points for no celery. But other than that, I guess I don’t have much to bitch about on this one. Extra napkins? Check. Not horrible blue cheese? Check. All the other food I’ve ever had here before. Usually great. So I’m not going to nit-pick too much here.
Score: 5 out of 10

Final Score: 15 out of 50

Stick to burgers

Every now and then I’ll offer my suggestions on how to improve things in the places that I write about. And, I feel that I need to do that with the wings at the Pipeline. So here it goes…just take them off the menu! Please. 
Places that make great wings care about every aspect of the wings they serve to their customers. That clearly is not the case here. Wings are not a priority, and that’s fine, focus on the food that you do make well and leave the wing making to to places that give a damn.  
That being said, I’ll be back here soon (I’ll never order the wings again) but the burgers are great and it’s a fun bar to kickback in and have a few beers.  Just do us all a favor, get a Sharpie and cross any reference to your sad and uninteresting wings off them menu…the world will be a happier place when you do. 

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