ED’S Easy Diner. 

Miami Burger. 


All three restaurants have come and gone at The Oracle’s upper-mall food spot above the shopping centre’s Broad Street entrance over the past five years. 

READ MORE: Planned burger restaurant to become food court instead

Given the rate of change at this particular location, one might suggest the spot has become cursed with eateries unable to make a go of it at this specific site. 

But now there is a new restaurant hoping to reverse this spot’s fortunes -- Wingstop. Can it break the ‘curse’? 

I paid the restaurant a visit to find out.

The history

Of course, I’m not being serious when I suggest the spot is cursed -- there are legitimate reasons why the three aforementioned food outlets shut up shop at this Oracle location. 

A search in our archives reveals Ed’s Easy Diner -- a restaurant based on a classic American diner -- closed down in late 2016 after the chain was taken over by Giraffe Concepts Ltd, much to its employees’ disgust

Reading Chronicle:

The site remained unused for a lengthy period before Miami Burger, a fast-food joint specialising in vegan alternatives, opened its store in January 2019. 

Miami Burger lasted just six months, however, closing in July 2019 after failing to attract enough customers to stay open according to reports

Reading Chronicle:

And who could forget the controversy around Chick-Fil-A? 

The American chain opened its first store in Reading at the upper mall food spot in October 2019. 

Reading Chronicle:

But the introduction of the chicken restaurant attracted huge opposition from LGBT+ groups, including Reading Pride, after it was revealed the chain’s owners donated money to organisations with a record of anti-LGBT discrimination. 

READ MORE: Chippy and pizzeria among most recent food hygiene ratings published

Following a passionate protest outside The Oracle, shopping mall bosses revealed Chick-Fil-A would not stay in the town beyond its six-month lease. 

Reading Chronicle:

READ MORE: The chick-fil-a controversy explained 

Which brings us to the new kid on the block: Wingstop.

Another American chicken chain, hoarding for the Chick-Fil-A replacement appeared in February 2021 and the branch opened in April 2021. 

Reading Chronicle:

According to one Wingstop employee who spoke to the Chronicle, the restaurant had “massive queues” when it fully opened (following the easing of coronavirus restrictions) which went down the stairs next to the eatery and outside the Oracle entrance. 

And the staff member said the restaurant has gone from strength to strength since then, with the store still getting very busy at weekends and in the evenings. 

READ MORE: Itsu reveals opening date for new restaurant in Reading

The Chronicle understands Wingstop has a five-year lease at The Oracle, but will it still be here in 2026?

To find out if the chain (which has five other UK locations and more than 1,000 across the United States) is good enough to break the ‘curse’ at The Oracle’s upper mall food spot, I went to try it out. 

The order

A disclaimer first: I’m no professional food critic and I don’t claim to be! I’m your standard customer with a soft spot for fast food. 

I typically cover court and crime stories for The Reading Chronicle, so this was definitely a change of pace for me. 

READ MORE: The Reading duo who need £10,000 for their new food venture

And it’s worth noting that I paid for my meal out of my own pocket -- this wasn’t a review commissioned by Wingstop. 

Reading Chronicle:

Speaking of my meal, I ordered eight wings (you can order ten and 12 wings if you wish) for £7.50. 

You’re allowed to choose two flavours so I went for two of the classics -- four of my wings were drenched in a spicy Korean coating and the other four in a hickory-smoked BBQ sauce.

There are several other flavours to choose from ranging in heat, but according to Wingstop’s website, lemon pepper and original hot are their most popular marinades. 

You’re also entitled to one free dip, so I opted for ranch. 

Complimenting my wings, I purchased a side of regular fries coated in cajun seasoning for an extra £2.80. 

READ MORE: New Dutch-style chip shop to open in town

And finally, I also went for a refillable cup (a customary option at many fast-food joints such as Five Guys and Wendy’s) for £3.50. 

In total, my order came to £13.80, which I thought was quite expensive for fast food. 

Reading Chronicle:

Other options on the menu include boneless wings, chicken tenders, chicken burgers, loaded fries and churros for dessert. 

The taste test

Having received my order via table service from a friendly and helpful employee, I dug into my spicy korean wings first. 

The taste was immaculate -- a perfect blend of sweet and tangy flavour. 

The chicken almost fell off the bone and was easy to tuck into. 

Next up, I tried the smoked BBQ wings. 

Reading Chronicle: Korean wings(top left), BBQ wings (bottom left), cajun fries (right)Korean wings(top left), BBQ wings (bottom left), cajun fries (right)

They weren’t as tasty as the Spicy Korean option at the top of my plate, but they still packed a punch. 

The flavours on these wings weren’t as bold and the wings were a bit drier, but the classic BBQ flavour was still there. 

READ MORE: New Greek takeaway coming to Reading

They were certainly helped by the very tasty ranch sauce, which greatly complimented the BBQ flavour. 

It’s worth saying that both sets of wings were absolutely coated in sauce, so while the end result was messy, and you’ll need a lot of napkins, it’s worth it to get the full flavour. 

Reading Chronicle:

Wings devoured, I tried the fries. In terms of texture, they were good chips -- crispy on the outside, soft in the middle, and they were that good size between skinny and fat. 

But it was the cajun seasoning that elevated them. 

I couldn’t get enough of the fries -- the cajun seasoning really did make them so delicious. 

Overall, the portion size was good. There was a lot on my plate but not too much, and by the time I had polished off my meal, I felt full and content. 

The drink was standard -- there was a good selection of soft drinks ranging from Dr Pepper to Coke to Fanta. 

The verdict

I was very happy with my order at Wingstop. 

The flavours on the wings were very nice, and the fries were delicious. 

READ MORE: We talked to people queuing outside Reading's new Wendy's

I’d really like to go back and try out different flavours, different dips, different items on the menu and give Wingstop as full a review as possible. 

And I would go back, despite the hefty price. 

Reading Chronicle:

For £13.80 I got a sizable portion, nice hospitality, good service and above all, tasty food that left me wanting more. 

But for £13.80 you can probably find a cheaper and equally tasty meal at Five Guys (notorious for being a bit dear), Tortilla, Wok To Walk, Wendy’s, ShakeShack or any of the other recently-opened fast food joints in town. 

READ MORE: Man travels 60 miles to new Wendy's in Reading

And this trade-off seems to be the key issue for other people who have tried Wingstop. 

Taking to Twitter and Facebook, I got mixed responses from Reading residents about the chicken joint. 

One said: “Food was nice and tasty but expensive.”

Another added: “It’s great! Moved here from the States and used to be a frequent [visitor] there. Mango Habanero [sauce] is the best.”

A third added: “Didn’t like it at all. Some wings were drumsticks, too greasy.”

And a fourth commented: “Food was nice and tasty. Bit on the pricey side though £24 for two meals.”

READ MORE: I got a sneak peak into the first Wendy's in the UK and this is what it's like

Will it break the ‘curse’?

I hope so. Wingstop is a good alternative in the Reading fast food scene. 

You might be able to get a cheaper fast-food meal elsewhere, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find wings as good as this in town.

Reading Chronicle:

It may be too expensive, but as a treat it is totally worth a visit and I would like to see it stay in Reading for the foreseeable future. 

Let’s just hope I haven’t jinxed it!