You don’t order “Buffalo wings” in Buffalo, you just order wings; anyone within a hundred-mile radius of the western New York city will know exactly what you want. Fried to a crisp and doused in a mixture of Frank’s Red Hot and butter, chicken wings are a staple of Buffalo cuisine, and have been since they were born here way back in 1964.
The Great Wing Empire
Duff’s Famous Wings didn’t quite invent the chicken wing, but they’re a long-running wing establishment that’s been serving them for more than 40 years. Duff’s has expanded across western New York, but the original location on Sheridan Drive has a laid-back, homey vibe and remains one of the best places around for classic wings, especially if you like them on the hot side. Order yours medium, medium-hot or hot, and wash them down with a cold Genesee—the inexpensive beer of choice among local wing aficionados.
If you’d like to nibble on crispy chicken wings in a no-frills, dive-bar atmosphere, head to The Nine-Eleven Tavern. This beloved South Buffalo neighborhood bar makes its wings using a top-secret, made-from-scratch sauce with a flavor like nothing you’ve ever had. The ingredients are a mystery to everyone but the owner of Nine-Eleven—you’ll find him working the kitchen on any given night—but it’s sweet, tangy, garlicky and addictively good.
A Wing for Every Taste
Head to East Aurora’s Bar-Bill Tavern to sample a dizzying array of wing sauces that go well beyond the traditional “big three” of mild, medium and hot. Teriyaki is a perennial favorite, along with zesty honey pepper and honey butter BBQ. Can’t make up your mind? Feel free to mix and match. Bar Bill is a hopping joint most nights, so expect to wait your turn for a table. Luckily, it’s got a pretty good on-tap beer selection to keep you occupied while you wait.
Wings and Pizza
Getting some of the best pizza and wings in Buffalo at a single location is like striking gold. It’s the kind of luck that’s familiar to the patrons of La Nova. For the most part, La Nova’s wings are pretty straightforward: hot, crispy and served with celery and blue cheese. But do yourself a favor and order the BBQ wings. They’re fried, smothered in BBQ sauce, and then char-grilled to perfection—pairing deliciously with the onion, tomato and cheese-topped white pizza.
The One and Only Original Wing
Buffalo’s chicken wing story all began at the Anchor Bar. As owner Frank Bellissimo tells it: In 1964, a case of wings—part of the chicken that was often thrown away at that time—was delivered to the bar by mistake. Bellissimo’s wife, Teresa, fried some up, dunked them in hot sauce and served them as hors d’oeuvres to their patrons. Within a few years, chicken wings were being served all over Buffalo, but there’s still only one original. The Anchor Bar’s wings come in a variety of lip-smacking flavors, including Garlic Parmesan; Chipotle BBQ and the traditional Mild, Medium or Hot, of course.