The Laurel Mountain Inn was the next scene for the Wing Wars, and it brought me back to my old stomping grounds. In the late ’70′s and early ’80′s this was THE local hangout for Hidden Valley employees. It probably still is, but it has changed from a small local bar with home-style specials to a large restaurant and banquet facility specializing in “prime” rib. Unfortunately the size of the bar area is insufficient and I rarely manage to get a seat in the bar. I wouldn’t be too bothered by this fact if the bar was filled with diners enjoying the wings, but instead it is filled with locals nursing cheap beer and monopolizing the time of the bartenders to the detriment of the service. So, I was seated in the restaurant area, alone at a table, and began to study the menu.
When the server finally arrived, she never mentioned it was wing night (Monday) and I had to ask her if that special was still in effect. Having had previous experience with the lack of urgency displayed by the servers, I ordered my wings along with my first beer. Choosing the wings didn’t take much time as they only offer four heat levels of the standard Buffalo sauce and three other varieties, a pretty paltry selection. The menu didn’t display a description of the three non-Buffalo varieties, but did manage to find the space on the menu to differentiate between mild, “a little warm” and hot, “a little warmer”. Duh? I soon drained my beer and sat with nothing in front of me until the wings arrived. I ordered a refill on the beer and started on the whole wings. I was through the first three when my refill arrived. Apparently the server had as hard of a time getting served in the bar as I usually do. The wings were overcooked but not quite to the “jerky” stage. Unfortunately they were not as hot on the inside as outside, indicating precooking. The major problem was the unmistakeable taste of cooking oil past it’s prime. The price of $1.10 per wing brought the cost of six to $6.60 including celery and dressing. The overall impression is that of a restaurant and staff that is tired, past it’s prime and simply going through the motions.
Cooking: The wings were over cooked and tasted of stale oil. 4
Varieties: Only 7 varieties (4 of them Buffalo) is pretty lame and there was not a single “house” recipe. 3
Value: $6.60 per 6 is a “normal” price in this area and no wing night bargain. 3
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Enjoyment: Mediocre wings and service, and sitting by myself in a room decorated in “early double wide” style is not my idea of a good time. 2