Buffalo, Honey Mustard, Hot Honey Mustard, BBQ, Honey BBQ, Hot Ranch, Hot Blue, Teriyaki, Butter and Garlic
Tuesday and Thursday wing nights are from 5-10 PM.
Sunday wing day occurs between 1-7 PM from September 1 through April 1.
Making our Way back to AJ’s - 02/27/18
Overall Rating: 67Lynch Serniak
Lynch's Rating: 32 out of 50Environment: 7
It’s been quite a while since we’ve made a visit to AJ’s in Carbondale. Since our last visit, they’ve made a number of changes, most likely a result of the new ownership. Walking in, you can definitely tell they are focusing a lot more on wings. The sign for the place had on it “Best Wings this side of the Lackawanna” and they had a display that said “AJ’s Wings – It’s why God made chickens”. They now offer wings every night, with wing nights being every Tuesday and Thursday from 5-10 PM. They also offer Sunday wing days between 1-7 PM from September 1 through April 1. You may notice that pretty much aligns with football season, which is great if you want to watch a couple games, eat some wings, and drink some beer. From what I can remember from our first visit, they only served wings one night a week. I’m definitely happy about this change. AJ’s added a side room with a couple booths for sit down dining if that’s something you like. It definitely gives you more space to stretch your arms and really take down some wings. Don’t worry though, they still have pool tables and, unfortunately, smoking. Honestly, I don’t mind smoking bars too much, and I know there is a market out there for it, but if you do come here for some wings, be fully prepared to smell the smoke on your clothes until your next wash. Our waitress was very nice and super friendly, answering any questions we had about wing night (you can get orders of 5) and flavors. The owner even stopped by and gave us the inside scoop regarding the size of the wings, which leads us right into Size.
Wing Size: 4
AJ’s has increased the price of their wing since our last visit to 70 cents a wing. Granted, it was over two years since our last visit, and the wing economy as a whole is causing the price of wings to go up, but this is definitely towards the higher end for wing night. I think eventually all wing places will reach this prize, so I guess AJ’s can be considered trail blazers in this category. Apparently, AJ’s offers the option of large or small wings. Personally, I’ll take the larger wing every time. It’s interesting that they offer this option without changing the price. I guess the smaller wing could just mean a crispier wing. Either way, the owner (I believe it was the owner) stopped by our table and told us the most recent order of wings was smaller than usual due to the high demand of wings for the Super Bowl. I will say that these wings weren’t all that bad. Yeah, they were a bit on the smaller side, but you can still feel full with your usual amount.
Wing Flavors: 7
AJ’s offers plenty of choices for all your wing needs. You have your classics like Buffalo, Butter Garlic, and Honey Mustard. They also have a number of mixed options like Hot Ranch Parm and Hot Honey Bar-B-Q. Plus, they have some different sauces if you’re feeling adventurous. These are the types of wings the Wing Men love to try to see how each place handles them. These are sauces like Old Bay, Porketta, and Teriyaki. When we see wings like these, we are more than likely going to eat the hell out of them.
Wing Taste (x2): 7
It’s been a while since we’ve gone for wings, so I eased myself back into the wing game by ordering three orders of five wings. The X-Hot Buffalo was right where I wanted it to be in spice level. It had a good Buffalo flavor with a strong vinegar and spicy kick, but not an overwhelming level of heat. The Teriyaki had a great, salty flavor that I really look for in this type of sauce, but it was a bit too thin for my liking. Don’t get me wrong, I know Teriyaki is generally a runnier sauce. The problem was that most of the sauce ran off the wing so I was really mopping up whatever I could from the bottom of the plate. I wish they would thicken the sauce a bit so you can enjoy more of it on the wing. Finally, the Hot Ranch Parm was my favorite of the bunch. It was fantastic combination of the Buffalo, ranch, and parmesan cheese. The balance was on point, creating a truly tasty wing.
Serniak's Rating: 35 out of 50Environment: 8
boysmen are back to doing what we do and that’s consume wings like we wish it was our actual jobs. This week we went to AJs Bar and Grill located in what might be the grit capital of the world, Carbondale. We haven’t been to AJs in years but we’ve been told by several people that the wings were the best in the world and I thought to myself; who knew that in this little area of NEPA that you’d have the 2nd best wings in the world at the Windsor in Jermyn while also having the world’s best wings only a few miles away? Kind of makes me think that my hometown of Mayfield is really not putting forth a great effort when it comes to wings. Anyways, it’s nice to be surrounded by that kind of quality. We were also told that there were new owners and management of the place and I think one of the owners came up to us and talked about the wing shortage epidemic and was generally curious about how our experience at AJs was going. The guy was really nice and seemed very genuine about everything he said and about how we were doing. I love that. I love when people, who I believe to be the higher-ups of a place, walk around and mix it up with the people that step inside their place. I think his great hospitality is a staple there because our server was super nice. She was very diligent with us, making sure we always had enough to drink. Also, she was very helpful in explaining their wing sizes and prices, which I’ll get into later. The atmosphere of AJs is that of one of a place where folks get out of a tough day of work and just want to go somewhere to relax, maybe shoot a game of pool, crack some jokes and get a bite to eat. real salt of the Earth type folks. It’s worth noting that the place wasn’t intimidating meaning when we walked in, the record didn’t skip and I didn’t have to pull an Otter and say “we are gonna die” because people know we don’t frequent there. Always nice when that’s the case. Basically, if you’re cool, then everyone is cool. The area that we sat in was a new addition to the place. It was kind around a corner. A nice little nook on the side. AJs is a place that allows smoking but honestly, where we sat in the nice little nook, it wasn’t an issue for me. If smoking bars aren’t your thing, that’s fine. But I’ve never not went to a place because they allow smoking. Just something I’m not going to let ruin my time. There were however some A+ subtle aspects of the place. Such as this
I love when places do funny things like this. Makes me think that they have a good sense of humor about things and just want people to know that they’re coming to a loose environment where some shenanigans are encouraged. Also, on the bathrooms, which were pristine, the way they were labeled was Cool Dudes and Hot Chicks. Again, simple but funny and shows an attempt to be different. An aspect that I’ve never seen before that AJs did was that they gave moist towelettes before the wings came out. If we get them at all, they come after the meal. This time they came before. I thought that was nice.
Wing Size: 4
Our server was excellent partly because she did good on explaining their wing size options. They apparently have a small or large sized wings to choose from. Unfortunately, due to a major wing shortage since the Super Bowl, they were out of the large wings. The owner who came up to us explained us the situation that’s plaguing the wing industry and we understood. It’s a real thing and I hate it. The wings we got I’d say were medium size and were 70 cents a wing. I know, that sounds preposterous and I don’t love it but this seems like where things are heading when it comes to wing places. Like I’ve said many times, the days of 10 cent or 25 cent wing nights are long gone and are not coming back. Celery and blue cheese was an additional 50 cents if you want that. I really won’t be surprised if we start seeing the average of wings on a wing night, which we believe is around 50 cents, get closer to 55 cents or more. I wish I can stop it, but I am only one man.
Wing Flavors: 7
AJs has 19 flavors to choose from. Granted, there’s a lot of similarities with some of flavors by just adding parmesan cheese, garlic or honey but you can plainly see that the flavor list is always looking for more flavors to be added. The “more to come” part on the menu is something I’ve never seen before. Once again, that’s a nice simple touch that shows you’re always looking to add new stuff. Some suggestions I would love to see added is any flavor with sriracha like a sriracha ranch, honey sriracha with lime juice, cajun, caesar and of course bacon is always a winner. AJs does have a few dry rubs with the old bay and porketta. I wouldn’t hate seeing a few more of those like a lemon pepper or cajun dry rubs. Those always work out.
Wing Taste (x2): 8
I got my usual 20. First I had just the plain buffalo or hot in my mind. They were very flavorful. They weren’t just Frank’s Red Hot. There was some other notes going in there. Definitely a fair amount of vinegar going on in there. They weren’t crazy hot or anything but they weren’t heatless either. Personally, I always want my “hot” wings to be a bit more hot then they usually are. Fortunately, Lynch got the next level X-Hot Buffalo and they scratched that itch. Next, I had the hot ranch parm. Just a classic who’s a candidate for the wing flavor hall of fame. Pretty self-explanatory. It was their hot mixed with ranch topped with parm cheese. As a can’t miss flavor as it gets. Fact: anytime you add ranch to anything it enhances your flavor. The heat from the hot and the gentle breeze that is the ranch is a tremendous duo. Then you sprinkle a bit of parm cheese on it and you have yourself a wonderful trifecta. Moving on to the dry rubs. I got the porketta and they were fantastic. An excellent amount of porketta seasoning but also not to much. Yes you can have to much seasoning on dry rubs. I’ve had it happen before where there’s to much seasoning and and you can’t taste the chicken. To much of a party in the mouth is a bad thing. Lastly, and the best I had was the old bay. Again, just enough seasoning. Every bite on both sides of the wings, something that gets often overlooked, was what I got to enjoy. Old bay is even trickier than porketta in my opinion when it comes to achieving balance and not having to much. AJs did a great job at the subtle dance that is the just right amount of seasoning on dry rubs. What mad these wings so good was that they were cooked so well. They were crispy, but I didn’t have to ask for that. That’s just standard operating procedure. You could definitely experience peak cookedness with the dry rubs.
First Visit to AJs - 04/18/13
Overall Rating: 57Lynch Serniak
Lynch's Rating: 31 out of 50Environment: 5
itself is pretty small, with very limited seating arrangements. In fact, they have no reason to have seating arrangements. The only time they serve food is on Tuesday from 5-8 PM, which is when they have their wing night. It is the oddest thing I have ever heard. Since this is the only night they serve food, it was bound to be super busy, and it most definitely was. It took us about an hour to get our food. They do have plenty of things to keep you busy during that time. The place had darts, music, pool table, arcade games, and gambling games. It was a pretty nice day out, so they had the front and side door open for fresh air. It still did not stop my clothes from reeking of cigarette smoke when I left. Since it was so packed, we had to sit on a side bar area, just facing the wall. We had to go up to the bar to order our food and drinks, which is understandable in such a busy time. You are only allowed to place orders of 6, but that is still better than some places that make you get a minimum of 10.
Wing Size: 6
For $0.40, this wasn’t a bad price on wings. They weren’t gargantuan, but they were decent enough to leave me satisfied at the end of my meal. I completed my 18 with no struggle.
Wing Flavors: 6
I was very surprised by the amount of flavors at AJs. There isn’t a crazy amount of flavors, but there are enough to keep you satisfied. On the bottom of the menu was something that stated you could have mixture of flavors you requested. Unfortunately, this was crossed out on all the menus. This would have greatly expanded the number of options available.
Wing Taste (x2): 7
I ordered the Buffalo, Hot Ranch, and Teriyaki. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect with these wings. I was thinking they would be horrible as who would care about making wings only one night a week. I also thought, maybe the person treated this as their one moment to shine for the week as the leading wing chef of Carbondale. Maybe they thought, “Well, this is my one chance to show the world what I’m made off. I’m going to use this 3 hour window to truly make people believe that I can be one hell of a cook.” Needless to say, the wings were pretty tasty. The Buffalo were good and spicy. I’ve been complaining of people advertising hot wings when really they serve up some wimpy wings. These were spicy and tasty. The Hot Ranch were pretty good as well. They were very similar to the Hot Blue, with not really a difference in taste, but they were good nonetheless. They were a good mixture of their spicy Buffalo sauce and ranch dressing. The Teriyaki were pretty decent. It was more of a sweet sauce then the saltiness that I have come to love out of a Teriyaki. They weren’t necessary bad, but I would put them more along the lines of an Asian Sesame than a Teriyaki.
Serniak's Rating: 26 out of 50Environment: 5
The atmosphere at Aj’s in Carbondale is one that you wouldn’t necessarily put up to that of the atmosphere you found at the Double Deuce in the movie Road House before Dalton took over but it isn’t one that that far away either. The crowd is a working man’s crowd where people who just got off work congregate for a few bottles of suds. The subtle rowdiness should keep you on your toes while you are there. Playing pool is an option and chances are whoever is running the table will challenge to a game where the loser has to buy shots. If you are looking for a delicate place inside, you have made a bad choice. When ordering wings you need to do so at the bar and I must say the woman who was taking our orders was very nice. I will say that if you are planning on eating wings there get there early. We ordered at 6:45 and didn’t eat until 7:40.
Wing Size: 5
At 40 cents a wing for wing night, you won’t be breaking any banks but the size of wing leaves much to be desired. They weren’t the smallest ever but walked away not entirely full and I ordered 20.
Wing Flavors: 6
I was actually surprised at the number of flavors there were. There were only about 8 or so but I was still surprised. They had hot, mild, bbq, honey mustard, butter/garlic hot ranch, hot bleu and teriyaki. Some different flavors compared to the standard hot, bbq and honey mustard.
Wing Taste (x2): 5
With a descent selection to choose from I was hoping for a more impressionable taste. But that did not happen. The hot were fine but did not have any long lasting characteristics other than not being very hot. The honey mustard was descent. The honey was more dominant than the mustard and that jived well. The butter and garlic were a big letdown. They only had garlic on the side that the sprinkled the garlic on and I found some of the wings to be dry and lacking of butter on them. Finally, I got the hot ranch. I’ve had some real good hot ranch wings lately and Aj’s version wasn’t bad but that particular wing was only above average. I would still order them if I were you.