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South Salt Lake • Restaurant owners often dream big when they launch their first dining concept.

At Stellar Wings, owner Luis Jimenez is reaching for the stars with his solar-system-themed eatery that celebrates the humble chicken wing.

Is Stellar Wings the best in the universe? Or even the South Salt Lake galaxy?

The short answer is that Stellar Wings is the least expensive of all the comparable wing joints in the valley and certainly stands out for its quality.

Two factors keep the eatery from achieving universal appeal.

First, the hours. The restaurant closes at 7 p.m. each day — which Jimenez says supports his core clientele, lunch for employees at nearby businesses. However, if you live in the southern part of the valley, the restaurant's proximity to I-15 would make it easy to stop after work or on the way to an early evening activity.

Atmosphere is another sticking point. While Stellar Wings is clean and neat, it doesn't exude fun — an area where most wing restaurants excel. About the only excitement you'll find at Stellar Wings is the little kid play area outfitted in galaxy d├ęcor.

Despite the drawbacks, Stellar Wings serves stellar food. It has a concise menu that delivers bold flavors and a surprisingly small check.

Wings are available in orders of three ($3.19) or as many as 120. All orders come with carrot and celery sticks and choice of ranch or creamy blue cheese dressing.

There are more than a dozen sauce choices — mild, medium, hot, extra hot, barbecue, honey barbecue, honey chipotle, garlic Parmesan, sweet red chile, sweet red chile mango, sweet and sour, mango habanero or atomic hot. The medium—with a nice balance of heat and tanginess—was a favorite that worked well on wings and chicken tenders. Garlic parmesan added richness to the hearty drumsticks, while sweet red chile covered the crispy wing exterior perfectly. Mango habanero brought sweet and heat but was the least favorite.

The sauces can be added to chopped chicken tenders on the build-your-own salad ($5.99 regular, $7.99 large) with your choice of cheese and a variety of vegetables such as black olives, cucumbers, carrots, banana peppers and red onions.

Boneless tenders also can be enjoyed as a sandwich on fresh ciabatta. This lunch special comes with a fountain drink for $5. Like the chicken wings, it is messy, but satisfying.

The game changer at Stellar Wings are the creatively named galactic chicken fries ($6.89 small, $7.89 medium). It's one of the best chicken tender combo meals I've come across. Fried chicken tenders, chopped into bite-size chunks and coated with sauce, are poured over a basket of fries and topped with housemade chipotle. A smaller version is available as a $5 lunch special.

Large sides perfect for sharing include crispy onion rings ($4.89) or fries served hot or a side salad. Drinks are of the fountain variety and also can be purchased in 2-liter sizes.

Stellar Wings is a simple concept that is generally well executed. Flavors are bold and balanced, service was particularly patient and helpful one evening and the restaurant is bright and quiet.

With the inexpensive prices, Stellar Wings just might open a new universe of chicken possibilities.

Heather L. King also writes for http://www.slclunches.com and can be found on social media @slclunches —

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Stellar Wings

Food • HHHhj

Mood • HH

Service • HH

Noise • b

Chicken! That's what's on the menu at Stellar Wings in South Salt Lake. From chicken wings and sandwiches to salads and the must-try galactic chicken fries.

Location • 2704 S. State St., South Salt Lake; 801-702-6346

Hours • Open Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. -7 p.m.

Children's menu • Yes

Prices • $

Liquor • No

Reservations • No

Takeout • Yes

Wheelchair access • Yes

Outdoor dining • No

On-site parking • Yes

Credit cards • All major