Not too many hot wing joints in Aurora have been around for over 25 years like Golden Flame has. But, over the decades this restaurant has made a name for itself as a local hang out with 14 signature handmade sauces.

Golden Flame originated as Wings of Fire in 1994 and just five years later, the new owner Carlos Cetina inherited it and made quite a few changes. A simple name swap and additions to the menu made this a go-to spot in Aurora. Since then, the menu has expanded with various fried appetizers, distinctive seasoned fries and local brews on tap. The food spread isn’t the only expansion Cetina has implemented since taking Golden Flame under his wing. There are three other locations in Parker, Castle Pines and Colorado Springs and the option to order online.

This home-grown spot offers a vast list of customizable drums and flats lathered in tasty flavors from the honey mustard inspired Honey Bee to the hickory-smoked habanero Colorado Fancy. These recipes lack overpowering vinegar and the unbearable heat that other competitors have. The most popular choice serves as its namesake with a perfect balance of golden honey and medium-hot spice. The Golden Flame sauce is addicting— once the basket of fried chicken is soaked, it somehow ends up as a dip for both the fries and celery.

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It’s difficult to choose an alternative to the classic Golden Flame. According to Cetina, it’s a tie between the Shanghai Sizzle and the Garlic Pepper Dry Rub. The Shanghai Sizzle has a tangy teriyaki flavor that is drooling inducing, but it’s the sizzle element is what really propels this dish to the next level. The heat that hits the back of the throat is subtle but powerful. The Garlic Pepper Dry Rub is a select combination of dry spices that render flickers of heat from the crushed pepper and delicious smacks of garlic salt.

Golden Flame stands out among the bar food scene in Aurora because of its local neighborhood bar ambiance with friendly service. Strolling into the restaurant and instantly an aroma of freshly fried chicken wings snap hunger to attention and the tangy smell of melted butter and buffalo is immediately mouthwatering.

The menu offers a basket of either boneless or traditional at affordable prices. Of course, the price is determined by the amount per order. A small order of six wings is ($7.25), 10 wings are ($11.49) and 20 wings are ($22.79) Each order increases by increments of 10 and maxes out at 100.

Some of the most popular deep-fried sides offered include Texas toothpicks—fried onions and jalapeño slices, spicy corn nuggets and fried pickle chips. Each appetizer thoroughly satisfies that greasy bar food craving, but the Golden Flame French fries hold their own alongside the star of the show.

The French fries come out fresh and crispy with a choice of four unique seasonings. The Beach Fries ($2.99) and Mile Hi Fries ($2.99) are the most popular with two very different flavors. The Beach Fries are a tasty partner to accompany any meal with a light seasoned salt and malt vinegar concoction. The Mile Hi Fries provides a southern kick to a dish with a few dashes of a house Cajun-style seasoning.

Golden Flame remains a perfect location in Aurora with many more appetizing years to come. Wander out east to explore this local gem and all the tasty food it has to offer.

Golden Flame (Aurora) is located at 18757 E. Hampden Ave. Golden Flame is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday through Saturday.

All photography by Brandon Johnson Photography