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In a city with plentiful options for chicken wings, it takes something special to bring wing eaters in the door.

At Doc Sullivan’s (474 Abbott Road, 822-1182), the standout is wings “Smitty’s style.” Jill Sullivan, who runs the kitchen, said the signature wings are bathed in a butter sauce imbued with a custom spice mixture that includes familiar flavors like garlic, and others that leave customers wondering.

Ground cloves and celery salt are among the less familiar ingredients in the mix, Sullivan said. The name, and the recipe, harken back to a bar named Smitty’s that once occupied the current Doc Sullivan’s space. In 1999, when the new owners took over, they got the recipe.

The place sells a lot of chicken during its 35-cent wing specials on Monday and Tuesday, when the bar can go through a batch of Smitty’s sauce, about a gallon and a half, in two days.

The heat level is independent of the Smitty’s seasonings. Smitty’s wings can still be ordered hot, medium and mild. The kitchen uses Frank’s Hot Sauce to boost the spiciness for each order. They cost $7 for 10, or $12 for 20, and come with celery, carrots and a custom blue cheese sauce with onions and sour cream.

On a recent weekend, Sullivan said, she met a couple from out of town who came into Doc Sullivan’s and said their grandmother was a regular. “We wanted to go to Duff’s or Anchor Bar,” they told Sullivan. “But she made us come in here for Smitty’s.”

– Andrew Z. Galarneau