Although it would probably be unfair to call Wendell's Pub in Norton a culinary one-trick pony (or is it one-trick chicken?), for most people, there is one reason, and one reason only, to come to this rather rough-around-the-edges dining and drinking spot on Route 123, and that is for their absolutely spectacular Buffalo-style chicken wings. Yes, there are a few other items on the menu that are supposedly decent, and yes, their boneless tenders are second to none in taste and texture, but the bottom line is that it's all about the wings at Wendell's Pub. And you may have heard some people say that their wings may be the best in Eastern Massachusetts if not in all of New England. Is this indeed the case? Well, it's all subjective, but let's just say that it would be tough to find a better spot for them than at this place.
Wendell's Pub is one of those places that you might find in the woods of Northern New England or the Adirondacks of New York, located in a house that looks more like a roadhouse or a honky tonk than a restaurant not too far from Boston. The interior is a bit stark and plain-looking, with a somewhat strange setup in which tables are lined up against the sides of the dining room with a somewhat empty space in the middle. A small bar is located in the back, and off to the side are rest rooms that, to be honest, have seen better days. For those who like dive bars and neighborhood watering holes, the space is somewhat appealing in a way, but if you like classy-looking restaurants with upscale touches, you're certainly not going to find it here,
What Wendell's lacks in atmosphere, however, it more than makes up for with its wings; they come with several options for sauce, ranging from sissy to double dare (which is something you really want to think hard about before ordering). The mid-level 3.5 sauce is plenty hot, and a good place to start for newcomers to Wendell's, while the slightly milder sassy and the even more mild--but still with some heat--sissy suicidal are popular options as well. A good gauge to consider is, the milder you go, the more buttery and garlicky the sauces taste, while the hotter the sauce, the more masked the butter and garlic tastes become. The wings themselves are remarkable, as they are very crispy (unlike the wings at so many other places) and as fresh as you can get, and for those who don't like traditional wings, the boneless tenders are fabulous, with a coating that has a rough texture and really soaks up the sauce.
So there you have it....If you are looking for a restaurant to go to on a first date, forget Wendell's (unless your date is a food nerd who loves chicken); if you are wearing an Izod shirt and a pair of expensive khakis, perhaps you should keep going (more for the mess you'll make of your clothes than anything); and if you are looking for an "in" place where the beautiful people go, definitely drive on. But if you want what could be the best wings east of Buffalo, Wendell's Pub is definitely your place. Norton may seem a tad far from Boston for a meal, but when there's no traffic, it really isn't that bad of a drive, and for those who are big fans of wings, the time spent driving here really doesn't matter all that much considering what will await them when they arrive.
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