If you’ve ever grabbed a bite to eat at your local sports bar, you’ve likely had the chance to experience the buffalo wing in its element, served up hot alongside some celery and a cream-based dipping sauce. Deep-fried, unbreaded, and coated with a spicy vinegar-and-cayenne-pepper sauce, these drumsticks have remained a hit among wing aficionados since the early 1960s.
For foodies and sports fans alike, these saucy wings are a piece of Buffalo history and a national staple during American football season. Before you whip out your best Buffalo shirts and apparel to participate in the oncoming celebrations, let’s take a look into the controversial origin behind buffalo wings and where you can find the best of them in New York.
If you’re a fan of the popular bar food item, you may be aware of the controversy surrounding buffalo wings – or should we say, mumbo wings? According to local lore, there are multiple versions to the story of this poultry invention – and it all depends on who you ask.
Most people will tell you that Teressa Bellissimo, the co-owner of Anchor Bar, originally invented the buffalo wing masterpiece. In 1980, Bellissimo’s husband, Frank, reported to theNew Yorker that the wings resulted from having a large shipment of chicken wings, instead of other chicken parts, sent to their bar by mistake. However, this was later denied by the Belissimos’ son, Dominic, who had his own side of things.
As told by Dominic, it was a fateful night in 1964 when he brought a group of hungry friends to his parents’ bar for some grub. To please an unexpected crowd, Teressa needed something quick to whip up on the spot, and she saw her chicken wings, which would normally go into a stock for soup, as a golden opportunity. Teressa took those chicken wings, fried them, and tossed them in a spicy, delectable sauce she made up on her own. Served up with a creamy blue cheese dressing for dipping, the buffalo wing was supposedly born right in their Buffalo kitchen.
Of course, there is also a third version of the story, which states that the Bellisimos didn’t actually invent the buffalo wing at all, but that it was none other than John Young, food truck connoisseur and wing-shop owner. Legend has it, Young came up with the idea in 1963, a year before Teressa allegedly plated them up at Anchor Bar. Fried whole and slathered in a spicy tomato-based sauce (known as mumbo sauce), Young sold these savory poultry bits at his thriving establishment, Wings & Things, which later became well known for serving “Buffalo’s Original Chicken Wing.”
But here’s the real kicker – Young’s wife has stated that John was friends with Teressa’s husband, Frank, and he may have passed on his wife’s saucy creation to the eager food salesman. Young refuted any claims that the buffalo chicken wing wasn’t his invention, but admitted that Teressa was the first to serve them cut in half with blue cheese dressing. Whoever it was, there’s one thing that everyone can agree on when it comes to buffalo wings – and that’s their spicy-hot, deep-fried goodness.
Although there’s certainly no shortage of buffalo wings in New York, there’s some debate about who makes the best of its kind. From the opinion of local foodies in town, here are a few places that serve some of the highest-quality buffalo wings.
Spicy wings don’t come better than at Duff’s, who serves their wings doused in a selection of hot sauces that go from a seemingly-easy Mild all the way to a dangerously-spicy Armageddon. Located in the heart of Buffalo’s suburbs, this joint is highly recommended for the spicy-food lover looking for authentic eats that the locals go crazy for. However, be forewarned – their “Medium” spice level is already hot enough as it is, which means their spiciest flavor might just live up to its namesake.
Topping several “Best Wings” lists in its area, Bar Bill has won the hearts of chicken lovers everywhere with their delicious, extra-hot wings. This place has been known to serve people from all walks of life, and if you’re lucky, you might just get the chance to see an NFL player or an actor sitting down to enjoy their own share of buffalo wings and drinks.
If we’re going to talk about the best places to grab buffalo wings in New York, there’s no skimping on the Bellissimos’ Anchor Bar. Despite the controversy, their wings have maintained a solid reputation over decades for being the home (or one of them, at least) of the classic buffalo wing sensation. Stop by this long-standing bar favorite to try some of Terresa’s secret-recipe sauce that will have you grabbing one after the other!
Calling all spice-lovers – we have just the thing to show off your affinity for all-things buffalo wings. Whether you’re in it for yourself or grabbing a gift for the seasoned chef in your life, we have T-shirts available for your every need.
If you feel like you can take the heat, check out our vast selection of Buffalo shirts and all kinds of apparel in both men’s and women’s sizes.