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AROUND R.I.

Football season is finally here. Now let’s eat some chicken wings, Rhode Island-style

An order from Wings on 5 in Johnston.
An order from Wings on 5 in Johnston.Dan McGowan

Every Thursday we’ll highlight an interesting aspect of life in Rhode Island, from dining to parks to museums to shopping and more. Tell us what you’d like us to check out by sending an e-mail to RInews@globe.com.

NEXT WEEK: Amanda Milkovits checks out the interactive outdoor exhibit of historic postcards spread around Roger Williams Park in Providence. (“Weather is here; wish you were beautiful.”)

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The New England Patriots kick off their first season without Tom Brady as their starting quarterback in nearly two decades on Sunday, which could mean one thing: For the first time in a while, you might be more interested in what you’re going to eat and drink than actually watching the game.

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Rather than drowning your sorrows – or celebrating Cam Newton’s return to glory – with that fifth IPA, you might want to turn your attention to your chicken wing options (they’re somewhat healthier than alcohol, and the worst thing that can happen is you’ll wake up with sauce on the couch).

But not all chicken wings are created equal, so it’s vital that you have a smart strategy heading into the first big football weekend of the year. Luckily, I’m an expert on these sorts of things, so here’s a Rhode Island guide to your local chicken wing options for every scenario.

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Thursday night football wings

It’s almost the end of the work week, so it’s perfectly acceptable to let loose with a few cheap beers and a large plate of wings while you watch the first half of a game that you probably care nothing about. This requires a wide array of size options and the possibility of going boneless for those who don’t enjoy going home with orange fingers.

Best bets

Snookers 53 Ashburton St., Providence

Arooga’s 615 Greenwich Ave., Warwick

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The Abbey 686 Admiral St., Providence

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Sunday fun day wings

There are two distinct ways to do football on Sundays: One is to have a bunch of friends over to watch the Patriots or NFL RedZone (like your frat days), and the other is to ignore all of your friends' requests to hang out and order as many wings as possible all for yourself. If you’re hosting, you’ll need to select an establishment that can fulfill large orders (everyone in your group will send nasty text messages about you if you run out).

Best bets

Wings over Providence 725 Hope St., Providence

Boneheads Wing Bar 131 Washington St., West Warwick

Tomato City Pizza 1041 Douglas Ave., Providence (North Providence line)

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Sunday “me time” wings

Maybe you’re really focused on fantasy football, or maybe you have annoyed all your friends by trying to call out every play like Tony Romo, but either way, you find yourself watching football alone on Sunday afternoon. The benefits here are immense. You can get as saucy as you want, and you can order multiple flavors without having to please everyone. But you’ll need to find restaurants that can match your ambition.

Best bets

Wings on 5 1463 Atwood Ave., Johnston

PJ’s Pub 1139 Pontiac Ave., Cranston

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Date night wings

It’s unclear whether people still go on dates, especially on Sundays. But there are plenty of Saturday games late in the season, and Thursdays are very much in play, so you’ll want to pick a spot that has enough televisions to catch the score but isn’t connected to a mall (no one wants to eat dinner at the mall). Sauce might also be a problem here, so pick places that won’t drench those wings.

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Best bets

Ivy Tavern 758 Hope St., Providence

Cook and Dagger 566 Putnam Pike, Greenville

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“I don’t do spicy” wings

You’re kind of the worst, but that doesn’t mean you should be left with no wings at all. Chances are you should select an establishment that offers pizza or salad, but there are a few acceptable restaurants that offer chicken wings where spice isn’t the draw.

Best bets

Providence Coal Fired Pizza 385 Westminster St., Providence

6105 Post Road, North Kingstown

162 Granite St., Westerly

Mews Tavern 456 Main St., Wakefield

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With choices like these, it doesn’t matter how the Patriots perform on the field this season. As Bill Belichick would say, just “do your job” and bring extra napkins.



Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.