The arrival of a new restaurant generates a lot of buzz in Breckenridge, and when Northside Pizza first plastered up their “Coming Soon” posters inside the windows of the old Dominos location at 315 N. Main St., people started talking.
Some lamented that it was another pizza place doomed to fail, others questioned how the new place would stand out, and I personally wondered if I could afford to eat there.
Although Northside officially opened several months ago, I headed over there on Wednesday for the first time to check it out for myself.
Despite working with a limited amount of square footage, I was impressed to see the old Dominos transformed into a small dining area, complete with a full bar and massive flat screens mounted on the walls.
The space gave off a locals only vibe, and I liked that one wall was adorned with this year’s line of Colorado-made Icelantic skis, a fitting art display to cater to the powder-hound crowd.
The guy behind the bar handed us some menus, and we perused the options of salads, wings, calzones and pizza. The pizza selection was pretty creative, and the guys I was dining with couldn’t ignore the Double Black Diamond wings, which were garunteed to “melt your face off.”
Always up for a challenge, my boyfriend Jake and our roommate Tyler couldn’t resist giving them a try.
“So, are they really that hot?” they asked the bartender.
“Get ready to take a spirit quest,” he replied.
That was it. The temptation was too much to ignore.
The food arrived in a timely manner (no surprise, given there were only about 8 patrons in the whole place) and the Double Black Diamond wings sat in a the middle of the table as an open invitation for all who dared.
I ordered a buffalo chicken salad with the medium wing sauce, and was pretty satisfied with the portion. Crispy fried chicken chunks, blue cheese crumbles and thinly sliced red onion were almost overflowing out of the bowl, and if I hadn’t been starving I probably would have had some left over to take home.
Given I didn’t have to be back at work for another hour, I decided to order myself a beer, and was surprised to see that they had Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown on tap, one of my favorites.
Before the boys got down to business on the wings, I dipped my pinky finger into the molten hot sauce for a little taste to see if I had the guts to take on the challenge.
I didn’t. Melt your face off is right. I was gulping water and reaching for fries to cool the fire, but the tingling, burning sensation was already spreading throughout my mouth and down my throat.
Tyler took down a wing in three rapid bites, and I watched his facial expression turn to panic as his brow began to sweat and eyes started to water.
Jake had talked a lot of game before the wings arrived, and after he shoved one in his mouth, he went completely silent.
“This is just wrong,” he pleaded. “My whole body is sweating. I feel messed up. Look, I’m shaking. Who would do this to themselves?”
No amount of water or bread could cool the fire, and I watched the boys writhe in agony as they waited for the heat to subside. I admit, I was laughing at their pain, and I couldn’t help but think of the guy from Man vs. Food on the Travel Channel. No wonder that show has garnered such a fan base, it’s kinda fun to see grown men cry over chicken wings.
The bartender wouldn’t reveal the secret mix of spices that gave the Double Black Diamond their ninja kick to the gut, but he admitted that the peppers registered into the hundred thousands on the Scoville heat scale. To put that in perspective, a jalapeno pepper comes out to 5,000 on the scale.
Living in Breckenridge, you have to be prepared to shell out some cash if you ever want to go out to eat in town, but that was not the case at Northside.
Most of the lunch options are under $10, and the service combined with the relaxed atmosphere made for a worth-while dining experience.
While I know I will never be going near the Double Black Diamond wings again, I am looking forward to trying some other items on the menu. Northside also offers free delivery (even to Blue River!), but as word starts to spread about their low prices, expect this place to be pretty busy around diner time.