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Revved Up for Wings

August 31, 2009 - Phyllis Sigal
I love wings.

I know they're not the best things for me to eat on a regular basis.

But I love them, and just the other day, I had some of the best wings I've had in a long time, at the ORIGINAL Quaker Steak & Lube in Sharon, Pa.

And, beginning this week, I will only have to drive a few miles for those incredible wings, because The Highlands will be home to the newest Quaker Steak & Lube in the company.

Quaker Steak is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, having started in 1974 in a vacant automobile service station that was converted into a restaurant, according to Marla Pieton, senior director of marketing.

FYI, according to the beer glass, also in 1974, gasoline was 52 cents a gallon, the speed limit was 55 mph and streaking became a fad.

In those early days, guests were invited to cook their own steaks. The menu also included burgers, salads and baked potatoes. Wings were not introduced to the menu until 1976, and it was in 1988 that the wings were voted "Best Wings in the U.S.A."

And, along with the great food, it was the automotive memorabilia that captured everyone's attention.

Everywhere you look there's something fun to see! I loved the gas pumps that have been converted into something else useful; one held a small television screen, another became a beverage cooler.

Signs cover the walls — many were old tin signs from Quaker State. There are license plates, traffic signals, posters and photographs. Even the door handle is an old gas pump handle. And when you look up, there are more cars and motorcycles dangling from above.

But back to the food.

The "O-Ring Ontenna" is a signature offering of thick-cut onion rings breaded, deep fried and then stacked on their Baby Moon "Ontenna." It was served with the Louisiana Lickers sauce ... a barbecue sauce with a bit of a zing.

And the plump, juicy wings. Ummmmmmm. I'm getting a craving just thinking about them.

There are 21 choices of sauces, each listed by its Scoville Heat Unit. According to the menu, "In 1912 Wilbur Scoville developed this measurement for the heat level of chile peppers. A number was assigned to each chile pepper based on how much liquid was needed before you would no longer taste (feel) the heat!"

Ranch wings are 90 on the SHU meter while the Atomic wings measure 150,000 SHU. You must sign a release form to taste these, which are described on the menu this way: "One bite will set your pores a steamin', ears a hummin' and temples a throbbin', served with jalapenos to cool your palate." Oh, my.

I was pleased to see boneless wings and fresh steamed broccoli as a healthier alternative to the wings, burgers, fries and o-rings. Although, I did not go the healthy direction last week. But it's nice to know it exists. And there are salads, too. However, once I tried the Boneless Wing Salad and it did not satisfy that urge for real wings. The menu does note, however, that they cook in 100 percent cholesterol-free oil.

Already my mouth is beginning to water. I feel that urge for wings coming on again.

One order of the Golden Garlic for me, please!


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The original Quaker Steak & Lube in Sharon, Pa.


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