Drunken Bar Munchies Turn into Health Food at Love Baked Wings on Melrose

Feel the organic, free-range, gluten-free burn

The free-range chicken comes from Mary’s Farm. The “fries” are gluten-free battered carrot sticks. The wall of fountain drinks subs out Sprite and Coke for six flavors of Oogave all-natural agave-sweetened sodas. The word “love” is plastered all over the walls. But, before you think you’re settling into a flavorless kale ‘n’ quinoa health-food lunch, heed this warning: The 22-spice Burning Jerk chicken with ghost chili sauce at Love Baked Wings will make you cry and start eating house-made ranch dressing with a spoon.

The storefront at the corner of Melrose and Fuller
The storefront at the corner of Melrose and Fuller

Photograph by Josh Scherer

Chef Mike Shand, who is originally from New Zealand (and according to a quick Internet search was once sued by Jay-Z for $1.5 million while cheffing at the 40/40 club) opened up this healthy outpost on the corner of Melrose and Fuller just a few weeks ago. Though Love Baked Wings is still in soft-open mode, they’re serving up the entire menu of salads, sandwiches (the small part of their menu that isn’t gluten-free), and, of course, wings.

But they’re not stopping at chicken. You can get any one of their six flavors—including their 5-chili LBW Infamous, house-made RanchRub, and Sesame Ginger—thrown on top of their chickpea wings and pork rib wings. You just have to, you know, be comfortable with a little poetic license on the term “wing.”

Before you bemoan the fact that your favorite bar snack is now being health-ified by foregoing its obligatory bath in the deep-fat fryer, remember back to season 11, episode 14 of Good Eats. Alton Brown explains that baking is, in fact, the best way to cook wings because the subcutaneous fat is given a chance to render and melt through the meat leaving crispy skin that hasn’t taken on any excess oil. You’re left with more chicken flavor, crispier skin, and the fact that it’s healthier is just the (organic, non-GMO) cherry on top.