The Best Wings in Buffalo: Here’s the Truth

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Acceptable wing eating gear!!!!

There is an age-old question that many tourists show up in our beloved Queen City and inevitably ask: who has the best wings in Buffalo?

Well, I don’t think they realize the gravity of that question to a Buffalonian. They are asking us to pick who best represents the most recognizable symbol of our Nickel City in all of its hot, delicious glory. Not an easy question.

So stop asking! You aren’t going to get a “right” answer. Why? Because there are way too many fantastic contenders. This is Buffalo. The Holy Land for Wing Lovers. Where every day is the Chicken Wing Olympics and the weak aren’t even in the game. Odds are you aren’t going to be disappointed.

Now, there are some arguable top contenders that are either met with complete adoration from die-hard fans, or serious derision. This “best wings” question is a battle that we Buffalonians argue about ourselves. So when a tourist pops up and sticks his nose in it, I have one answer: try a bunch of places! Figure out what you like, and there you go. There’s your “best wings in Buffalo”.

I’m not talking about fancy wings here. I do like wings with a spin now and then. I have a favorite place for BBQ wings and a favorite place for garlic parm wings. But, there is only one pure form of the chicken wing. And it’s so good that we don’t have a name for it. They are simply “wings”. Although, you non-Buffalonians probably call them Buffalo wings.

However, there are 5 truths that most Buffalonians can agree on about our wings:

1.) For the love of all things good in this world, do not bread them. I don’t know what you want to call this monstrosity, but it sure as heck isn’t a Buffalo wing. If I want bad fried chicken, I’ll call the Colonel.

2.) Wings have bones. Nuggets do not. There is no such thing as boneless chicken wings. This is a euphemism for chicken nuggets so adults can order them without shame. Do not be fooled. I’m not judging. If you like your nuggets, then you enjoy those nuggets, Sir. But accept that they nonetheless are in fact nuggets.

3.) Bleu Cheese. Not Ranch, never Ranch. I love Ranch on a lot of things, but it has no business near wings. Bleu Cheese. Got it?

4.) Buffalonians will not order wings outside of this area. Western New York is the only place that’s safe for us. Rochester has many places that do them pretty damn well. However, any farther than that is taking a risk that is not worth it. The farther away a Buffalonian goes from Buffalo, the greater the odds that they will end up extremely disappointed and slightly ashamed if they order wings.

5.) Anchor Bar is the Originator. The First. The Mother of all Wings. No one can ever take that away from them. They are still at it and doing it well. They might not be every Buffalonians’ first choice for wings, but they have top billing in the Wing Hall of Fame and they rightfully earned it. #RespectMama

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It’s $5.00 now. They haven’t changed the sign. If you can’t swing the $0.50, you probably shouldn’t be at Wing Night.

In case you missed it on the news or on Twitter, this past July 29th was National Chicken Wing Day. Or, as we call it here in Buffalo… Tuesday. So, how did Buffalo Girl celebrate a day honoring my iconic hometown cuisine? I participated in a long-standing tradition of honor and glory. Where the weak cry tears of hot sauce and the strong clog their arteries with greasy goodness. Which means I went to Wing Night, of course. But on Wednesday, not Tuesday, because that’s when wing night is at one of my personal favorite places for wings.Why is it one of my favorites? Easy Answer! They have great wings and an amazing deal: $5.00 all-you-can-eat wings from 8 p.m. to Midnight and $2.00 Rolling Rocks. Yea, you heard me right. For $13.00 + tip, this girl left buzzed and stuffed. (Country Girl drove).

Where is this hidden gem? Wales. 10 minutes passed East Aurora on Route 20A. On your right will be the Wales Center Hotel. It isn’t a hotel. It’s a good ol’ fashioned country bar, and Gary, the owner/bartender/wing-slinger/bone-collector/butcher/baker/candlestick-maker, is doing Wing Night right.

Seriously, his wings are amazing! They are everything that you want in a wing. They are a good size. They are coated in an awesome sauce that cooks crispy so the wings aren’t soggy. They are full of flavor and have a kick. I’d call the sauce medium-hot and that’s the only way they serve them on wing night (which is fine by me!). They serve them fresh and hot too – no cold wings that have been sitting out pre-made for the crowd.

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Gary’s Doing It Right

And when they say all-you-can-eat, they mean it. Gary walks around with a stainless-steel bucket-o-wings all night and refills your basket if it’s empty when he goes by. Then he comes back through to get the bones with another bucket, and heads back to the kitchen to drop more wings for his next pass. You have to be patient. You don’t just go up and ask for more. Gary will get to you. Besides, pace yourself, you glutton! (That’s what I have to keep telling myself while I’m there at least).

So what could possibly be the downside? Well, there are a couple. For one, Wales isn’t exactly right off the thruway. It’s a hike. It also gets packed. Country Girl and I were there a half hour early and grabbed the last two available stools. After us, it was standing room only. Like I said, you also are at their mercy on timing. They crank them out as fast as they can. If you aren’t patient, don’t go. Lastly, there are a lot of regulars. Some are friendly. Some are not. If you go there, you better remember that you are on their turf, City-Slicker, and I don’t blame them for that. These regulars are dedicated, loyal, customers that are there whether it is Wing Night or not. You don’t disrespect that in someone’s place of business.

I’m by no means a regular. I just happened to stumble on this place with Country Girl a while ago, and now we try to get back every few months or so. I highly recommend that you check it out if you get the opportunity! I hear it is also a great pit-stop for folks that are sledding out that way in the winter – so keep it in mind if you do!

Because the truth is, the best place to get wings in Buffalo is a good local bar that’s doing right by its customers, and doing right by our wings. Wherever you find yours – is up to you.

Love, Buffalo Girl.

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15 Comments on “The Best Wings in Buffalo: Here’s the Truth”

  1. buffalogrl25 August 3, 2014 at 8:01 pm #

    Reblogged this on Buffalo Girl and commented:

    Here’s my latest for What’s Going On In Buffalo? Reblogged from their site. Check it out if you want the scoop on where to really find the best wings in Buffalo! 😉

  2. One Gentleman August 3, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

    I haven’t had fried chicken since I was perhaps 13. Lol. My friend talks about buffalo wings as if they were their own food group, but I can see this hits a spot for many people.

    • buffalogrl25 August 3, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

      Haha, they are their own food group here! I don’t do it often, but hey, when in Rome… Or, make that Buffalo!

  3. Rax August 4, 2014 at 1:29 am #

    So hungry after reading this. The best wings in Buffalo are the Hot BBQ at Gabriel’s Gate.

    • buffalogrl25 August 4, 2014 at 6:32 am #

      I will have to check them out! That sounds delicious. Good to know! Sorry to make you hungry! 😉

  4. andy August 5, 2014 at 4:07 am #

    Another reason for me to move home, I miss the Wales Center Hotel and damn do I miss good wings. I order them about once a year now. Southern California just does not know good wings… or pizza for that matter.

    • buffalogrl25 August 5, 2014 at 5:53 am #

      There’s just no place like home! I agree about our pizza too. One of a kind. Underrated for sure! Thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  5. fabamy October 27, 2014 at 10:09 pm #

    I love this!!! I haven’t lived in Buffalo since 1992, but I’m home often. And, I grew up a mile from the Wales Center Hotel. I LOVE Weeze’s wings! When I am in town, I go to The Hotel. 🙂

    • buffalogrl25 December 30, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

      Awwww! Yay! I’m so thrilled that this post made it your way then. Weeze, Gary, Bushy – the whole crew is outstanding! 😉 Thanks for reading!

  6. Cindy December 6, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    Anchor Bar has the best-too bad they don’t deliver! Tony’s was good until it burned down and moved….
    {but you can buy Anchor Bar wing sauce at Top’s and MAKE YOUR OWN=which really isn’t so bad……………..}

    • robin December 6, 2014 at 11:11 pm #

      I live in Lake Tahoe, Nevada (Carson City) area and the Anchor Bar and Bocci have mailed us wings, pizza etc..

      • buffalogrl25 December 30, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

        Holy Moly! That’s a far trip! I love that they do that, and love that you are willing to patiently wait to get the best of the best! 🙂

  7. Keary December 6, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

    Hello, I voted for The Nine Eleven Tavern. Mark makes his wings hot medium or mild that is how you order them you don’t have to say extra crispy or saucy. They are perfection on a plate! His other items are also great! It’s worth the trip there….Now the results as per duffs winning, that drives me crazy! I prefer anchor bar. If they like duffs they would probably love Quaker steak and lube…just saying….yuck!

  8. Joe galvin July 29, 2015 at 11:17 pm #

    You had until me until you mentioned Anchor Bar. Words like “doing it right”, “Earned it” and “The first” stopped me cold. Anchor Bar is a myth. Unfortunately the only people who know it are Buffalonians.

    “Doing it right”? The wings served at Anchor Bar are tiny and too small to hold the honor of a true flavorful. meaty Buffalo wing. “Earned it”? The only thing The Anchor Bar has earned is a name for out of town folks to visit thinking they are in for something special. They are not. Its a tourist trap and nothing more. “The First”? First wings ever in Buffalo were served at 86″er’s, A Black establishment that served them decades before the Anchor Bar knew what a chicken wing was.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Happy New Year! 25 Resolutions for the Year I Turn 25 | Buffalo Girl - January 9, 2015

    […] place to start might be trying all those other wing places folks had suggested after my post on The Best Wings In Buffalo. Can you believe that sucker is still getting hits? Thank you for all the […]

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