These days, wing places are everywhere, and if a restaurant isn’t a wing place, they probably still serve chicken wings.
Although chicken wings may have become ubiquitous, the quality varies widely, as does the method of preparation. Run-of-the-mill wings are not only a disappointment but also a waste of money. The price of chicken wings has been soaring with their popularity, and what was once a waste part of the bird is now usually more expensive than boneless and skinless chicken breast.
Luckily, Macon has a homegrown wing joint that not only offers great chicken wings drenched in a wide selection of tasty sauces, but also sells them at a reasonable price. That place is Francar’s, owned and operated by Sharon and Carl Fambro.
Located in Mercer Village at 1365 Linden Avenue in Macon, Francar’s has been serving Macon for many years, from this location as well as their previous location at 4376 Log Cabin Drive. The store has a small, cozy dining room, decorated with all sorts of memorabilia from Macon and especially Mercer University, which gives the restaurant a nostalgic atmosphere.
Service can be abrupt at times, especially when Francar’s is busy, which is reflected in some reviews from out-of-town patrons on Yelp, but I have never had an unpleasant experience. They are not fast food, and they cook everything to order, so be sure to bear that in mind on wait times.
The highlight of Francar’s menu is the wings and especially the sauces. We didn’t count, but there are somewhere around 40 varieties of wing sauces, divided up by relative heat into four different levels. Level I is for those who like flavor but no burn. Level II is a medium level of heat. Anyone used to eating traditional buffalo wings could probably tolerate these with no problem. Level III is on the hot side for most people, but if you eat a lot of spicy food, this will be a comfortable level for you. Level IV is hot for anyone, and you definitely will need to mop your forehead of sweat from time to time as your body will become convinced that your head is on fire (but that won’t stop you from devouring the wings anyway).
From all their sauces, my first recommendation is the Level II Macon Gold, a buffalo sauce with a bit of mustard, strong but not overpowering. There is also a slight sweetness to the sauce, with a bit of tang that goes well with the flavor of the wings. Unless you have a strong aversion to mustard, this is an excellent sauce to try.
If you want something with a little more punch, Macon Heat is a good choice. Of the Level III sauces I have tried, this may be the mildest, but it has enough sizzle to please the palate without causing any discomfort. Be warned, though: this flavor is addictive, and it will be hard to stop eating these wings. Pace yourself if you are expecting to take home leftovers, and possibly separate some of the wings before you dig in because you will crave this heat.
In addition to wings, Francar’s also has a full selection of sides and other entrees. They have your customary crinkle cut fries, but I recommend the curly fries, especially in the large if you plan to share, although the portions are quite generous. The plate is huge and there are a lot more fries than you expect for the price (a family of four can share the large).
If crinkle or curly fries are not your thing, they also have okra, onion rings, salads, mac and cheese, potato salad, corn nuggets, collards, and coleslaw. If you don’t want wings, you can also select from burgers, chicken strips, BBQ, pork chops, shrimp, and fish. I always get wings, so I do not have a review of these items. There is also a brunch on Sunday, which includes chicken and waffles, among other favorites. If their other menu items are as flavorful as their house-made wing sauces, you will not be disappointed, no matter what you order.
According to their online menu, in May through August, Francar’s hours are 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. During the rest of the year, their hours are 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday with the Sunday times unchanged. If you want to support small, locally-owned businesses in Macon, Francar’s wings will stand up to and surpass any of the national chains, with more variety than most offer to boot. Give them a call (478) 741-3338 or FAX them at (478) 741-2012.