To avoid a stern lecture while in Buffalo, you need to remember that they do not eat Buffalo Wings here, they eat Chicken Wings. The birthplace of these crispy-spicy-saucy mouthful of deliciousness has many excellent wing options. Here are some of our favourites…
According to legend, this is where Buffalo wings first came into being. Dominic Bellissimo was tending bar when a group of his friends showed up. His mom Teresa deep fried some chicken pieces and served them with her own secret sauce. It didn’t take long for the word to get out and the result is history. The sauce recipe has remained a closely guarded secret ever since, and many claim that the wings at the Anchor are the best in the world.
The Anchor has a very large menu, but the draw here is the world-famous wings and their mild, medium, hot or suicide sauce. If you can’t get enough of the taste while in Buffalo, the bar sells bottles of their secret sauce to take home with you.
Duff’s Famous Wings
Opened in 1946, Duff’s started serving wings 23 years later and never stopped. As the output climbed to selling 20 pounds of wings a week, Duff’s reputation grew, earning them the official name of Duff’s Famous Wings in 1985.
The location has never changed and neither has the wing recipe. You are warned in advance that the sauce is very spicy, but oh is it worth it! There are other items on the menu, but most people are there just for those famous wings.
This is one of the iconic Buffalo “wing restaurants” and the wait can be long, so go early if possible. One look at the smiles of the patrons leaving will tell you that this is one place you shouldn’t miss when in New York.
East End Grill & Taproom
This the perfect combination of comfy Irish Pub and amazing chicken wing spot. With live music several days a week and very helpful staff, the Taproom is a great place to catch up with old friends. It serves big, flavourful wings with enough spiciness to make you want to keep the Guinness within reach. There are several sauce options and you can request a milder flavour if you aren’t quite up to the full Buffalo. It also has a full menu and kids are welcome.
Riley Street Station
Billing itself as a gastropub, Riley’s serves up a higher quality of pub grub than the average bar. Even though the fish may be grilled instead of deep-fried, the wings are completely traditional – well, mostly. Why stick with the ordinary tasty wing sauce when you can liven up your taste buds with a plate of fiery Cajun-spiced Smoking Hot Suicide Wings? Fortunately the beers on tap are cold enough to keep you from crying – well, mostly.
Although this is a pub, Riley’s also has a restaurant that serves up sandwiches and burgers. Sit on the outdoor patio with kids or choose the railroad-themed bar if the party is all adults.
The Bar-Bill Tavern
Named after the original owners, Barb and Bill, this tavern has been family-run since 1977. The menu is basic, but it is well executed. You really want a plate of the huge, juicy wings that comes with a selection of sauces – most of them spicy. This is also one of the few places that has the option of breaded wings in addition to the traditional ‘naked’ version. If for some crazy reason you aren’t in the mood for wings, try the tavern’s other famous Buffalo dish, Beef on Weck. Few places do it better than Bar-Bill’s.
Not actually a hotel, this family-friendly diner is in an historic building in East Aurora. It’s a great place to hang out and the cozy bar is excellent for escaping the noisy dining room. There’s the standard array of American-style food on offer, and the wings are served piping hot. The sauces aren’t quite as spicy as some other places, but they are flavourful just the same. With two wing nights a week, Wally’s is the place to go for double the wings on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
11th Frame Bar & Lanes
Yes, this is a bar and restaurant that also has bowling lanes for leagues and parties. This is a fun spot with music, darts, billiards and bowling along with excellent food. The fare is standard bar food with crispy fried treats, burgers and even a few salad choices. Peruse the beer-on-tap menu and choose the perfect beverage to complement your crispy chicken wings. If you’re travelling with a crowd, the 11th Frame offers a bucket of wings for a great price.
This tucked-away little spot in the historic Allentown district is a local favourite for great food and meaty wings. The décor is a bit like a hunting lodge, but that fits right in with the homey atmosphere and hearty meals. If you hate getting that sticky sauce all over your fingers when you eat traditional wings, try the Cajun option, as the wings are flavoured with a dry rub instead of tossed in sauce. The rest of the menu has favourites like French onion soup and half-pound burgers. There is no better spot in the neighbourhood for sitting outside, sharing wings and tasting the on-tap beers.
Buffalo Sports Garden
A great place to hang out and play pool, the surprising thing about BSG is how good the food is. There is always a game on the TV and a room full of regulars playing darts and air hockey. You expect the menu full of fires, onion rings and potato skins, but with your first bite of the crispy wings tossed in a spicy sauce, you wonder why anyone would ever order anything else.
BSG is no place for kids, but it is a great place to spend an evening honing your pinball skills. There is an attached restaurant if you’re travelling with young ones and don’t mind missing out on the chumminess of the bar.
Cobbers By The Creek
This restaurant at the Cyber Creek Golf Course is a clubhouse restaurant with an attached sports bar and a patio overlooking the green. You expect good-quality food at a clubhouse, but the wings will take you by surprise. Crunchy and flavourful, these are lightly spiced and come with plenty of bleu cheese dressing. Practice your swing or play a few holes before heading in and ordering up a big plate of wings and tasty beer to wash them down with.
Elmo’s Bar & Restaurant
With only 14 tables around a semi-circular bar, Elmo’s is a great place for friends to meet up for a quiet evening of chatting and good food. It serves up a variety of sandwiches and burgers, along with a pretty tasty Beef on Weck. Wings are served by the pound and you can get a “double dip” order that mixes two of the amazing sauces. If you aren’t in the mood to wait at Duff’s or the Anchor Bar, Elmo’s rivals the top two for flavour but without the hype or the crowds.