Longform

FOOD & DRINK

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Best Wings
Buffalo Bar and Restaurant
7095 E. Evans Ave.

Anyone can coat a bunch of wings in butter and Tabasco--and nearly everyone does. But the Buffalo knows better. Their birds are coated with a sauce that's sort of a cross between the original Buffalo-style and Southern barbecue, with a heat that sneaks up on you after the fifth or sixth wing. You can get these addictive little suckers by the pound, to take out or to eat in the Buffalo's spacious, casual dining room.

Readers' choice: Hooters

Best Funky Chicken Wings
Sadie's Caribbean Cafe
2334 Welton St.

Sadie's brings the welcome breezes--and flavors--of the Caribbean to this funky little joint just north of downtown Denver. And you'll need some fresh air after biting into one of Sadie's superb wings. Slathered in a fiery jerk marinade, the meat and skin practically caramelize in the cooking process, melting down into one blissfully sticky, sweet and spicy mess. If you happen to hit one of the chile flecks, hold on to your heat!

Best Fried Chicken
Duffy's Shamrock
1635 Court Pl.

Decent fried chicken is hard enough to find, let alone decent Southern-style. So, naturally, we discovered it at Duffy's, a venerable downtown place with an Irish name and Italian origins. Duffy's washes its half-bird in buttermilk, spices it up with herb-filled breadcrumbs and lots of black pepper, then deep-fries the whole mess for a tender, juicy, greasy finish. It comes with one of Duffy's homemade soups (try the New England clam chowder), a salad, a veggie, rolls and coffee or tea. At $8, that's something to crow about. The real clincher, though, is that Duffy's serves all this wonderful food until 1:30 a.m.

Readers' choice: KFC

Best Fried Catfish
Pierre's Supper Club
2157 Downing St.

While others swear by Pierre's wonderfully sloppy ribs and smoky links, we make no bones about being suckers for its fried catfish. The flavorful fillets are coated in a tasty batter (so good that Pierre's even sells it on the side), then fried a tantalizing golden brown. Meow.

Best Cornbread
Ethel's House of Soul
2622 Welton St.

Born in Mississippi, proprietress Ethel Allen honed her culinary skills in the South and in Chicago, where she got soul food down just right. And that includes the making of light, fluffy cornbread, a recipe she had to adjust for the altitude upon moving to Denver from the Windy City. The steaming squares--just the thing for mopping up the gravy left over from one of Miss Ethel's peppery smothered dishes or the juice from her heavenly yams--are served Southern-style with butter, raw white onion rings and jalapenos, all of which arrive at your table within minutes of sitting down. As if that weren't enough, a holler to the kitchen will bring forth seconds and thirds of the sweet bread.

Best Meatless Ribs
Wolfe's Barbeque
333 E. Colfax Ave.

Impossible, you say? Okay, what's lurking under that sauce is really tofu. But for those who can't or won't eat the real thing, Wolfe's smoked, grilled tofu strips dressed up in a perky, sweet sauce can satisfy otherwise insatiable barbecue cravings. Vegetarian baked beans and coleslaw round out a guilt-free dining experience.

Best Barbecue
The Links at City Park
2500 York St.

Sam Taylor's ribs are tender, meaty, sweet, just a little spicy--and absolutely addictive. We defy you not to lick your fingers between every bite. (Don't worry if you can't resist--just join the club.) But it's not just the ribs that the Links does right--it's anything Taylor touches, like the beef and pork sandwiches, with his signature smoke and sauce. Don't waste a drop--just grab a shred of Texas toast and have at it.

Best Cheap Steak
Teddy T's
6635 E. Evans Ave.

Teddy T's specializes in T-bones that'll put hair on your chest: beasty full-pounders for just $5, served in Teddy's intimate, bring-whomever-you're-having-an-affair-with lounge setting. It's the lowest cut of beef for the lowest price, but when you've got to have that cow and cash is tight, Teddy's is there for you. High rollers can move right on to the two-pounder for twice the price; either way, you'll get a baked potato, Texas toast, a dinner salad and soup for your trouble.

Readers' choice: Club 404

Best Cook-Your-Own Steaks
Minturn Country Club
131 Main St., Minturn

The chuck stops here. Also New York, porterhouse, salmon and swordfish steaks that you--yes, you--cook on one of two large grills in the middle of this casual clubhouse. Pick out your main course from a butcher's case, fill your plate at the all-you-can-eat salad bar and dig in. If you've got any complaints with this meal, you have only yourself to blame.

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