The following is a profile of Mundelein’s Franks for the Memories. This is part four of a multi-media series, Jon & Parker’s Bi-weekly Bites, where The Forest Scout contributors Parker Bolton and Jon Day share their thoughts and experiences from local eateries. Bon Appétit!
Since the dawn of time, people have traveled great lengths for that perfect meal. That being said, you may be wondering why a Mundelein restaurant has made it on the list of restaurants worthy of a “local” Bi-weekly Bite’s review. Needless to say, if you are willing to make the short 20 minute jaunt west, you will quickly realize why Franks for the Memories is the perfect combination of history and simplicity, making it a popular afternoon trip for LFHS students.
Franks opened its doors in 1984 when Jim and Carol Schultz were missing some homemade cuisine from their hometown of Buffalo, New York. In fact, their renowned buffalo wings have quite an interesting history. Legend says that in 1964, a man by the name of Dominic Bellissimo was tending bar at his family’s restaurant in New York when a few of his friends came in looking for a late night snack. Dominic’s mother, Teressa, had the idea of serving them a quick snack of chicken wings (the part of the chicken usually thrown out or used in soup stock). She deep fried the meat, lathered them with a secret sauce, and voila! Little did she know she had just created one of the most popular snack foods in modern history. The experimental food was named Buffalo Wings and quickly became a huge sensation at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York and surrounding New York restaurants.
Today, Buffalo wings are seemingly a necessity at every restaurant or party. In fact, it has become the poster-meal and most consumed food item at Super Bowl parties in the United States. Franks for the Memories has stuck to the authentic, original recipe and has been proclaimed the “Best Wings in the World” by foodies, critics, and has even been recognized by the Anchor Bar itself. Franks is now run by Jim Schultz Jr. who is a proud second generation wing creator. He states, “Just as my parents did, we prepare our “Buffalo Wings” authentically! Large, meaty, crispy and most of all delicious! Select from Mild, Medium, Hot, or Extra Hot sauces, as well as several specialty sauces. Family owned and operated for over 31 years, our Buffalo style wings have been a Lake County favorite for generations”
Now down to business (the wings).
Authentic Franks wings are sold by the pound ($7.25/lb) and are served on the traditional hot scale (Mild, Medium, Hot, Extra Hot). Additionally, the wings can be lathered in a few specialty flavors such as BBQ, Golden, Teriyaki, Garlic, and Suicide. If you are going for the true authentic Buffalo chicken wing, compliment the sauce with a side of blue cheese and a few celery sticks. During our visit, we sampled an array of wing flavors. Since we both weren’t terribly hungry, we elected to eat them as they were first intended, as a snack. We’ve all been in the situation where your eyes are bigger than your stomach, and you end up over ordering. Our crew suggests ordering a pound and a half of wings as the perfect mid day snack. Although this is not listed on the menu, the staff will gladly oblige. Also, we have another pro tip we have for those of you who aren’t looking to get “lost in the sauce.” For Buffalo wings, sauce is everything, and Franks is very proud of their sauce options. In fact, they load their wings with a very healthy amount of sauce. If you are a first time customer, we suggest asking for your sauce on the side to avoid an unwanted drowning of your wings. Additionally, it opens additional doorways to different flavor combinations. For example, if you ask for your pound and a half of wings with sides of BBQ, Golden, and medium sauces, the possibilities for flavor are endless. While Jon is a huge BBQ fanatic, Parker elected to order the medium wings. While using our patented “sauce on the side” maneuver, we were able to create new flavors such as Golden BBQ, Garlic Teriyaki, and Medium BBQ. Both Parker and Jon were in agreement that the Medium BBQ combination was the best of the bunch. The tangy BBQ mixed with a slight medium kick turned out to be a great blend.
When it comes to cuisine, passion is everything. When you walk into the Mundelein store, it is like stepping into a Buffalo, New York wing hut. The walls are lined with New York sports memorabilia, especially highlighting the Buffalo Bills, of course, along with newspapers and pictures. Among the diverse collection of archives, you see awards–a lot of awards. The status “Best Buffalo wings” is not an arbitrary award. In fact, Franks has won awards for their wings such as the Readers Choice Award in the Daily Herald (2012-2015), and national competitions such as a 3rd place finish for traditional medium sauce and Chairman’s Award for Festival Spirit in 2011, along with 2nd place for their traditional hot sauce in 2012.
Whether you are looking for a late night snack, lunch, or are looking to enter a wing eating contest, look no further than Franks for the Memories. The 20 minute drive will fly by with the delcious taste of buffalo wings on your mind. As always, let their staff know that The Forest Scout’s Bi-Weekly Bites crew sent you!