Address: 1442 Baseline Rd, Ottawa
Hours: 12 – 9pm (M – F), 1 – 9pm (Sat), 5 – 9pm (Sun)
Website: Socials only – Instagram and Facebook
Green factor: Compostable and recyclable containers, garbage bin only on site
I love that the food truck scene in Ottawa has gained enough critical mass over the years that there’s some really fun, niche trucks popping up. Celiac-friendly chip wagon? You know it! Chai and Indian street food? Of course! So when JJ’s Wings opened up this year, specializing in Haitian-style chicken wings, it seemed like a natural expansion of the city’s culinary landscape.
Located on the corner of Baseline and Clyde in the Mr. Lube parking lot, the JJ’s truck is simply adorned with a fun little logo, and stylistic sketch and a whack load of stickers.
The menu is quite lean, figuratively speaking, with just wings, chicken bites (I appreciate that they’re not called “boneless wings”), and a few sides from the deep fryer. And it wouldn’t be an Ottawa-based food truck without a poutine!
I arrived right after they opened for the day and put in an order for the “Classic wings” ($12.99), with the hot honey sauce on the side, and a side of fries ($4.99).
There was a bit of a wait as they continued to set up shop for the day, but the owner kindly gave me an ice cream bar to have while I waited! I was in no rush though, so after some time of staring at the dull, hypnotic glare of my phone for a bit, I was soon on my way.
JJ’s Wings commendably not only marinades their wings in Haitian seasonings, but also breaded mine to order. I’m not sure if the latter is standard or just because I was the first customer of the day, but either way, I was impressed. It would be the easy road to take some pre-breaded, frozen wings out of a bag from Sysco, but JJ’s is putting in the effort and the difference really showed.
There were about a dozen wings to the order, with an even mix of drums and flats. And while I wouldn’t call them large wings, they weren’t small either.
The breading was thick and crispy, and was quite heavily seasoned; between the flavour in the breading and the marinade of the chicken, these were some of the tastiest, un-sauced wings I’ve ever had! The meat was tender and not watery or rubbery, like many of the pub wings you come across these days. As for the sauce, it was lightly sweet and added a decent amount of heat, without leaving you gasping for breath after each bite.
My side of shoestring fries likely had their origins from a freezer and could have used a little more time in the fryer to crisp up. However, they were extremely plentiful for the price tag, and the heavy dose of cracked black pepper added a heavy bite to them. I’ve taken to peppering my fries in the past few years, so this was right up my alley!
Once JJ’s has settled into their groove, it would be great to see some Haitian specials on the menu. Sides of the Haitian, pickled coleslaw – pikliz – would be a natural pairing for their wings and would help balance out the hearty fare that dominates their current menu.
JJ’s Wings is laser-focused on their namesake dish, and the attention to detail really comes through in the final product. Paired up with very affordable prices, you’ve got to give them a try when you get a craving for some elevated comfort food!