A funny thing happened while visiting the new Buffalo Wild Wings in Palm Bay… uh, or rather, make that West Melbourne. (Nothing like practically sitting on the city boundary to make locations confusing!) Located between the new Ross’ Store and Palm Bay Road, Buffalo Wild Wings is officially part of the Hammock Landing shopping plaza. They’re set to open on the 31st. We were there on the 29th. A show stopper? Not exactly.
Saturday was a day for my wife, daughter and granddaughter to be out running some errands, doing some shopping, when the subject of lunch came up.
“How about the new `Buffalo Wild Wings,” my wife suggested.
“Are they open yet?” I asked.
“I drove by there yesterday and the parking lot was packed. “
That seemed to decide it. As a rain squall moved overhead, we jumped in our cars and headed out.
The rain changed to a drizzle as we pulled into the new parking lot. The time: 10:55 am.
“They don’t look open to me,” I offered, noticing the five or six cars around us.
“There are people standing out front,” my wife pointed out. “The restaurant probably opens at 11 o’clock.”
Seemed logical. So we listened to the rain drum on the roof, as I unbuckled the grand girl from her car seat. In the next minutes we were dashing for the cover of the main entrance where we joined a variety of people waiting by the restaurant’s door which suddenly cracked open, a friendly woman’s face appearing.
“We’re almost ready,” she announced. “Just give us a couple more minutes.”
“Are you open for business?” my wife asked.
“Today is a VIP invitation only. We officially open two days from now. On the 31st,” she said, then closed the door once more.
The other people waiting around us gave us a quick look like we were from another planet. Which is actually true. You see, before our two suns went supernova, the planet Neptron originally was our … oh, never mind.
The rain suddenly increased, dark squall lines moved briskly across the sky. The Floridian cold front was making a grey appearance.
“There’s always Panera Bread,” I suggested.
Though Panera was literally next door to the West, we’d need to jump back in the car to cross the busy Norfolk Parkway intersection. We were mulling this over when the door opened again, the same woman addressed the waiting crowd.
“Just stay right here. Things are almost in place. We’ll get you all in.”
All? My family looked at each other as the VIP guests filed in first, a manager motioned for us next. I guess “all” does mean all.
In the next moments we were escorted in and asked if we preferred the bar or dining room. We choose the dining room and were taken to a booth with an army of Buffalo employees hustling around us.
“Lunch is on us today,” our friendly waiter, Jacob, explained. “We ask that at least one of you order the wings.”
That wasn’t hard, until I looked at the huge selection of flavorings. How would I ever decide?
“And if you’d like a sample of any of the sauces,” Jacob continued, “I’d be happy to bring them out.”
Well, that certainly made it easier. A minute or two later, Asian Zing arrived on a small cup lid, and my wing sauce was decided. Billed as, “Where sweet meets heat” it was just what the doctor ordered. My daughter ordered the Medium boneless chicken, my wife the Mild. French fries with Salt and Vinegar seasoning rounded out the lunch order.
“Would you like an appetizer too?” our waiter asked.
Sure! The chili queso dip — Fresh tortillas chips with a chili/cheese dunking bowl — arrived in short order.
“We are going to need to-go boxes today,” I announced.
Before long, another server stopped at our table.
“Would you like a sample of our flatbread? Flavored with our Spicy Garlic sauce?”
No argument from us. In fact, that had been a potential sauce candidate for my wings. The samples were quickly sampled. Delicious!
While we waited, several people came and checked in with us, refilling our Cokes, asking how we were, giving my granddaughter a paper princess crown. At one point, I made the suggestion that the background music was, well, a little too loud. The person agreed and moments later the decibel level backed off a bit making table conversation a whole lot easier.
There are also wireless table consoles that can be used to play various games displayed on flat panel screens scattered across the walls. Apparently you can create an account with Buffalo Wild Wings that allows you to keep an ongoing score in whatever game(s) you’re enjoying. I logged in as a guest and gave the “Texas Hold-em” game a try, losing around $1,300 in pretend money after several hands. (I just never know what to do with those pocket kings!)
When our main course arrived, my wings were cooked and seasoned to perfection. The fries – a treat, indeed. There was much discussion (and sampling) in determining if my daughter’s “Medium” sauce got swapped with my wife’s “Mild”. They had a very similar appearance, but after trying both I think they did get accidentally put in the wrong boxes. No big deal, and it gave me a taste of two additional flavors!
With full tummies, and to-go boxes filled, Jacob arrived back at our table.
“This is your bill, although I don’t know why I’m bringing it. You don’t owe anything,” he said with a laugh.
“Can we still tip you?” my wife asked.
“Certainly!” came the smiling, enthusiastic reply.
There’s plenty more offerings at the new Buffalo Wild Wings in Palm Bay. Uh… West Melbourne. And I can’t wait to try them. Check it out… as soon as they’re open that is.
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Buffalo Wild Wings
West Melbourne (#0328)
4325 Norfolk Parkway
West Melbourne, FL 32904
Mon-Thurs: 11AM to 1AM
Fri-Sat: 11AM to 2AM
Sun: 11AM to 12AM.