D-Spot brings chicken wings to the forefront of a culinary experience


Nathanael Ashton-Piper

D-Spot is a distinctive restaurant located in Oakdale, Minnesota that boasts over a hundred delectable types of wings.

Nathanael Ashton-Piper, Staff Writer

In a time where chicken wings have become known as a game day meal, tailgate snack, or Friday night feast, it is often hard to distinguish their quality. However, after multiple visits to this under-the-radar, Northeast metro wing-joint, there’s a clear winner for the best wings in the area—if not the state.

D-Spot is the name, and wings are the game. The first D-Spot location opened in a small strip-mall in Maplewood in 2011, and many considered it a hole-in-the-wall type of restaurant as it only seated less than fifty people. In the summer of 2015, D-Spot moved to a larger, more accommodating location down the road off of 694 in Oakdale. Far off the beaten path, D-Spot is a more than twenty-five minute drive from BSM—but a drive that’s well-worth the mileage.

If you were to look in the kitchen, you wouldn’t see pre-made bottles of sauce, but components to make everything.”

— Chef Darin Koch

Head chef Darin Koch has been working in the culinary world since he was fourteen years old, peeling shrimp at the now defunct Riviera Restaurant in Chanhassen. “I’m originally from Eden Prairie, but I’ve worked my way out here [to Oakdale] over the years. Before D-Spot, [I worked at] The Butcher Block in Minneapolis, but it wasn’t what I wanted; with only wings, the options are endless,” Koch said. In addition to both D-Spot locations, Koch plans on opening a new restaurant called Deconstruction, and although he’s not sure how he plans to spell it, you can bet the food will be far above par.

The atmosphere inside the restaurant is both hard to perfect or beat. D-Spot understands the characteristics of their customers: people who come for great-tasting wings—not matter how messy it gets.

In the kitchen, where Koch and his chefs can be seen whipping up orders, mixtures of heavy metal and trap music blare, along with the non-stop ringing of the restaurant’s telephone, and the sizzling of food. It’s hard to describe in writing, but the atmosphere—although not quite homey—is very relatable, from the music, to the halloween decorations, TV’s, and even Minnesota made soda.

There’s no doubt, however, that the food is the selling point at D-Spot. Nothing is pre-made, meaning that it’s made from scratch for each order. “Everything is made to order in the kitchen. It’s all-natural as well; no preservatives or MSG (monosodium glutamate) unlike many other places. If you were to look in the kitchen, you wouldn’t see pre-made bottles of sauce, but components to make everything,” Koch said.

It’s unlike any other restaurant, because the menu is almost entirely wing-based—and it’s done to perfection.”

— Nathanael Ashton-Piper

There are one hundred and one wing flavors on the D-Spot menu, and two of the best are “El Rancho” (labeled a spicy wing) and “Black Widow” (labeled a savory wing). “El Rancho” is described on the menu as “ranch infused buffalo,” and it’s as good as it sounds. The spicy but tangy buffalo sauce and ranch dressing are blended to perfection. The wings are tender on the inside, and a little crunchy on the outside without being even the slightest bit burnt.

The second flavor is called the “Black Widow”—which is the most popular on the menu, and Koch’s first creation while working at The Butcher Block. It is described as a “soy glaze, cracked fennel, and dry rub wing.” The sweet soy glaze and cracked fennel provide a sweet yet spicy taste, and the wings are so unbelievably savory one might bite their lip. It’s not hard to see why these wings are best sellers.

The fries are also unique. “They come pre seasoned, but Chef D adds on his own jerk-rub house seasoning, similar to a cayan style. I can tell you what isn’t in there is Cinnamon, although you might’ve picked up on that,” one staff member said. The fries come out hot, the taste is sweet and salty, and they are served with a side of mayo-aioli sauce.

D-Spot bucks the status quo of a big-chained restaurant, serving wings as a side-note or appetizer. It’s unlike any other restaurant, because the menu is almost entirely wing-based—and it’s done to perfection. With seemingly endless options, Chef D and the rest of the staff are bound to have something for everyone in their four wing categories of spicy, savory, comfort, and sweet. It only takes one visit to discover the best wings in Minnesota.