Welcome to the best bar brunch you’ve never heard of.
If anyone’s ever tried to tell you a dive bar can’t host a great Sunday brunch, tell that ignoramus about Pop’s Hot Wings.
Hosted by grill master Rick Harris every Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at Rehab Tavern, Pop’s pop-up provides omelettes, loaded breakfast sandwiches, and yes, chicken wings for patrons looking for a little kick to accompany their Bloody Mary.
During my pop-in on the first NFL Sunday of the year, it couldn’t have been much more perfect.
The subtle sounds of The Commodores’ “Easy (Like Sunday Morning)” played as I entered, the soundtrack to a room full of people pleasantly soaking up the sin of their Saturdays, basking in the afternoon sun glaring through the southern-facing windows.
Harris, whose operation’s been running at Rehab for almost six months, is there cooking away on the bar’s stage. I was able to walk up and quickly grab what I had my heart set on: a healthy helping of wings. Available by the piece, Pop’s grills the wings all morning then, interestingly, steams them to make ’em even more tender. The presence of sauce was light but unneeded as the smokey flavor rocked my palate. And talk about big: I went in starving, got seven pieces by themselves, and wasn’t able to clean my plate. (They’re also fall-off-the-bone for all of you who are really into that.)
While watching Philadelphia Eagles’ rookie Carson Wentz tear up the futile Browns defense on the TV nearby, Eric Rollin, who was helping out the pop up, stopped by my barstool to chop it up and take the sting of Cleveland being Cleveland away for just a second. I had to crane my neck and scope the choices of the folks next to me; they were chowing down on the smoked chicken fries—a deluge of chicken and french fries covered in cheese, sure to cure any lingering hangover.
Other menu items I wasn’t able experience in some way include wraps, sandwiches, and omelettes—all which I’m sure to try during my next stop in. Aside from Sunday, Pop’s Hot Wings is open on Monday and Wednesday. He’s also often available during special events and festivals, including the recently concluded Independent’s Day.
If you’re looking for change in your Sunday brunch routine, stop by Pop’s Hot Wings at Rehab Tavern. I’ll admit, it’s a little unorthodox, but amidst Columbus’ growing food experiences, Pop’s is the perfect way to fill your stomach blissfully for under $10 while taking in the urban wonderland that is East Franklinton. And hey, look at it this way, day drinking is fully acceptable ’cause you’re at a bar. Pound those Bloody Marys, chief.
Pop’s Hot Wings runs out of Rehab Tavern, 456 W Town St., open Monday, Wednesday, and for Sunday brunch 12-4 p.m. For more, follow @popshotwings.