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Noted Fish and Fowl of Beaver County

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Some say The Creator endowed chickens with wings so that they may fly. Nonsense. The truth of the matter is that the Divine One has a thing for deep-fried comestibles, particularly when they are smothered in sauce.

Adherents of the Church of the Supreme Wing are directed to a house of worship called Zooky's Sports Tavern. Situated in Fallston, a little blip on the Beaver County map adjacent to the big burg of New Brighton, Zooky's has been serving up wings, beer and televised sporting events for 35 years.

And speaking of events, what of that heavenly trick that magically multiplied loaves and fishes? A bush-league prelude, it turns out, to the plentiful, beer-battered piscine pleasure that is the Back Door Tavern's immodestly large fish sandwich.

The fishy faithful are directed to the Back Door, a half-mile or so from Zooky's. Family-run, the place has expanded significantly since opening in the mid-1990s. One thing that hasn't changed one whit is the fish, the highlight of a solid bar-food menu.

Logic suggests that the quality of fried fish and fried chicken parts really ought not to vary much from place to place. With relatively clean cooking oil and relatively fresh source materials, it shouldn't be a particularly difficult task to serve up tasty wings and fish.

However, there's something special about the wings and fish served up at Zooky's and the Back Door.

In Zooky's case, it seems that the proprietors have succeeded in their quest to find the largest chicken wings known to mankind. For $7 a dozen, patrons have the right to expect gargantuan wings, slathered in one of Zooky's 25 sauces. And they take some time. The menu advises wing customers to expect to wait 20 minutes before being served. And that's a good thing, because it means the wings haven't been previously par-fried. In the interim, one can shoot pool, play darts or watch one of the couple dozen televisions.

The cozy Back Door Tavern offers more than 100 beers. One of them is the secret to the beer batter that makes the tavern's fish transcendent: Old Milwaukee.

It's easy to tut-tut at fried food, but when it's good, it's good. And in Beaver County, Zooky's and the Back Door are two worthy way stations on the trail of great grease.

Back Door Tavern
128 Beaver St.
New Brighton
724-843-4918

Zooky's Sports Tavern
450 Constitution Blvd.
New Brighton
724-843-WING

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