Boneless Sichuan Tingly Rub (courtesy photo)
By Kara Pearson
With most restaurant businesses forced to close doors to only offer pick-up and delivery options, Wingman Rodeo took a risk and launched their new concept built out of The Shop’s cloud kitchen at 730 N. Milpas Street. This new restaurant on the scene has made quite a wave of excitement in the community, being the first-ever wing restaurant to ever set foot in SB.
Only a month into operation and people are talking about their menu housing the best and most complex ingredients. As a collaborative effort, co-owners Colton Krueger, Dudley Michael (also the owner of The Shop Kitchen) and Ryan Patronyk (also the owner of Caje and Lab Social) set out to create the “best damn wings ever” and surely they did. Every dish on the menu is sure to wow and includes gluten-free, keto-friendly, and even vegetarian options for everyone to enjoy.
“We were originally supposed to launch in LA” said Krueger, “but decided to stay closer to home once the pandemic hit. It was the best decision we could’ve made. Santa Barbara is such a supportive community that feels like family.”
The Wingman Rodeo team worked closely with Krueger’s father-in-law Allen Seamans, a champion barbecuer that won California Rookie of The Year in 2014, to develop all the recipes, rubs and sauces in-house. The intricacy and innovation that this tag-team duo pours into every recipe, is astounding. The honey mustard sauce alone has 18 savory ingredients that spark your tastebuds with every bite. All of their dishes feature long lists of unique spices that you can’t find anywhere else. These two are meticulous down to the last detail when it comes to their wings.
When I found out that Santa Barbara was welcoming its first wing spot, I was downright ecstatic. Wingman Rodeo is something that we have never seen before in our beautiful city and its creators are pushing the boundaries of our hometown taste palette even further into spicy selections. I was intrigued and extremely impressed that this restaurant opened its doors in the height of a global pandemic. In spite of all fears and adversity, they launched the concept and set up shop to bring new tastings to us foodies on the American Riviera. So without further ado…let’s round up some of their hot, hot, hot selections that you can order to-go!
Keep it classic, go for Buffalo.
Wingman’s buffalo wings, a specialty that is sure to grace future Super Bowl parties, outdoor picnics, and backyard barbeques, are the must-try dish of the summer season. The spice instantly hits your tastebuds and you can’t help but shed a few tears from the heat. Or was I crying because it was so delicious? Probably both. You’ll want to make sure to pair this wing with their ranch to keep it cool.
A Tingly Sensation
The Sichuan Tingly Rub wings will have you question if your tastebuds decided to throw a dance party. The smell of these wings is intoxicating and the taste, electric. The mixture of spices starts to creep up with every bite you take due to the Sichuan peppercorn. This spice excites tactile sensors in our lips and mouths and in other words, you feel like your tongue got a mini electric shock that numbs your mouth ever so slightly. The taste might be surprising to most who are new to the sensation, but it is definitely worth trying! Especially with the Honey Mustard sauce.
Not just wings, but sandwiches too!
Is it just me, or can cauliflower do just about anything nowadays? Loaded with flavor, the Tempura Cauliflower Sandwich with Thai Peanut Sauce and Honey Mustard was the first dish I tried on their menu, and it definitely had me hooked with the first bite. Savory, tangy goodness that left my hunger completely satisfied. All their sandwiches pair excellently with a side of tater tots and an effervescent Topo Chico mineral water to sip on. I know I might offend a lot of LaCroix drinkers out there, but Topo Chico is the best mineral water I have ever tried and it’s rarely served in the SB area.
What’s great about Wingman Rodeo, is that their wings give us a sense of nostalgia and comfort during this time. Wings remind us of those great get-togethers that we previously had before the going got tough. The taste has this way of reminding us of family and friends gathered watching the Super Bowl halftime show and diving into a freshly made plate of wings.
These are the kind of memories that flashback when you try your first wing at Wingman Rodeo. I’m so glad this restaurant opened in Santa Barbara and that it is here to stay. It’ll quickly make a name for itself as the best wing in the city, I’m sure of it.
To view their full menu and pickup times, visit www.orderwingman.com
Kara Pearson is an avid foodie, creative writer, fashion stylist, and founder of Styled by Kara. She is passionate about highlighting local businesses and sharing her experiences. You can follow along with her story on Instagram at @styledbykara or by visiting her website www.styledbykara.com.
[Editor’s Note: Kara is a local editorial/blog writer. This was not a paid advertisement]