Chicken Wing Guide to Buffalo
Talking about the best place to eat Chicken Wings in Buffalo, NY can be a painful conversation. Everyone has their favorite place and normally it’s a pizzeria/bar in the neighborhood where they grew up. The truth about wings in Buffalo is that every single neighborhood has a place where you can get good wings and they pretty much all taste the same. Everyone sources from the same wing providers and house sauces all contain a certain ratio of melted butter and Frank’s Hot Sauce.
But we still have to answer the question, “Where are the best wings in Buffalo?”. So here’s a couple places that we think stand out from the crowd and can recommend with a clear conscience. If this article doesn’t work for you, I suggest you check out Kevin Purdy’s blog post on this topic.
The following list is in alphabetical order.
Anchor Bar. We realize there has been some backlash against Anchor Bar over the last couple of years. First they lost the Food Wars throwdown and then they were snubbed when President Obama visited for a quick chicken wing stop at Duff’s. It goes without saying that Anchor Bar is still the birthplace of the chicken wing and while there might be better wing options, it’s still a restaurant that tourists can justify visiting. Considering how busy the restaurant is and the amount of food they pump out of that kitchen, it’s impressive how consistent their wings are. The crowd is normally 75% tourists and the walls are covered with various cheesy knick knacks, but you have to visit at least once if you live in WNY. Plus, they have Genny Cream Ale on tap, which is awesome. There is an airport location and a Northtowns location in the works but the Main Street location is still the main draw. [anchorbar.com, 716-884-4083]
Bar Bill Tavern. Out of all of the restaurants named on this list, East Aurora’s Bar Bill Tavern is the only place where you can get great wings and great beef on weck at the same time. This small bar/restaurant can get packed very quickly and waits for a table can be extensive, but the wings (especially their Teryiaki wings) are well worth any hassle. They’ve recently made it easier for rookies to understand how things work with a few signs and a website update. Basically, when you walk in put your name on the list at the bar, grab a couple beers and enjoy listening to the regulars argue with each other. Make sure you stop by the ATM because they only take cash. [barbill.com, 716-652-7959]
Duff’s. With Anchor Bar no longer the only tourist destination for wings, Duff’s has gladly capitalized on it’s ever growing popularity. In recent years, Duff’s has expanded their empire to nearly every area in Western New York. They offer an impressive selection of sauces with slight variations to accompany any heat level. Generally, the wings are very crispy and very saucy, however we’ve found the original Sheridan Drive location (pictured above) to be the most consistent. The other locations may look flashier and have a ‘sport bar vibe’, but the original still feels home-y and laid back. [duffswings.com, multiple locations]
Dwyer’s Irish Pub. Don’t let the name fool you, this isn’t a divey Irish pub. Recently renovated, this North Tonawanda bar/restaurant has their own extensive selection of wing sauces that would impress regulars at the Quaker Steak and Lube. Normally, we are wing purists and don’t try anything too weird, but we understand that every now and then someone needs to try a General Tso Chicken Wing. If you find yourself wanting to try Garlic Parmesan, Strawberry BBQ or Spicy Sesame wings AND you’d like to visit a locally owned restaurant… this is the place.
Kelly’s Korner. On the outside, Kelly’s Korner looks like every other Kenmore/North Buffalo dive bar and that is mostly true. There’s a bowling arcade game, plenty of worn in leather bar seats and the regular clientele is always entertaining. Their food menu is ridiculously cheap and like a true dive bar, their bottles of Genny are under $3. Even though they are inexpensive, their Medium Chicken Wings are large, juicy and served extra crispy. But it’s their Hot wings that separate them from the bars down the street. They are fried and coated with dry rub and then finished in hot sauce. The texture and flavor is just unreal.
La Nova. This Buffalo pizzeria is legendary. If we were making a ‘Buffalo-style’ pizza guide, they’d make the list without question. They make a good standard chicken wing but their BBQ wings that are coated liberally with BBQ sauce and then char-grilled are what we go out of our way for. If you’re looking for a place to sit and eat, their West Side location is the only way to go (Williamsville is take out only). They might be the most expensive wing on the list, but damn they are good. [lanova-pizzeria.com, 716-881-3303]
Nine Eleven Tavern. This is our personal favorite. This small South Buffalo Bar has a dedicated group of regulars that fill up the dining room and bar for their unique chicken wings. Unlike the majority of restaurants on this list, Nine Eleven has a secret, ‘from scratch’ sauce recipe that doesn’t taste like anything else you’ve ever had. The wings are coated in a sauce that has flakes of garlic and a sweet and tangy flavor that wing purists will either love or hate. The restaurant only has one person in the kitchen (the owner), so be prepared to wait patiently for your food. Hidden on a side street in a residential area, this is a true chicken wing gem. Like Bar Bill Tavern, make sure you stop by an ATM before you’re visit because they also only take cash.
These places also don’t suck and deserve a nod: Elmo’s in Getzville, NY is known for the Double Cajun sauce, Doc Sullivan’s in South Buffalo offers the hard-to-find Smitty Sauce, Amherst Ale House in Amherst serves a Crown Royal BBQ wing that’s finished on the grill, Mammoser’s in Hamburg is known for their spicy and BBQ wings.