It’s one of those things you have to do when you visit a major U.S. city — have their iconic local food. The list is endless — Philly cheese streak, New York cheesecake, Maine lobster roll, Nashville hot chicken, New Orleans muffaletta, Memphis barbecue, Denver omelette.
Obviously, for chicken wings, it’s Buffalo, New York. The epicenter is the Anchor Bar on Main Street. While many have claimed to have been inventor, their story sticks out the most.
“Fortunately, the actual moment that Buffalo chicken wings were invented has been described by Frank Bellissimo and his son, Dom, with the sort of rich detail that any historian would value; unfortunately, they use different details,” wrote Calvin Trillin for the New Yorker in 1980.
The original bar (it’s been franchised out to include locations in California) might be ground zero of the ultimate football watching food, but it also might be the origin of chains restaurants putting any old crap on the wall (ex. TGIFriday, Appleby’s). It’s old-timey bicycle wheels, license plates, coasters and Little League trophies — let’s glue it to the wall!
Since they go through thousands of wings a day (or maybe an hour), you wonder why they even bother with a full-menu. I opted for a starter salad and 1o wings while others nearby me at the bar were pounding through 30 in a sitting. Buffalo isn’t know for being particularly health conscious.
I cannot claim to be a connoisseur of the Buffalo chicken wing. I much prefer the Korean fried chicken wing for it’s wonderful crunch, not too spicy bite and ease of disposal. I’m a bit of priss when it comes to messy food. When you need a shower after eating 10 wings, I’d rather deal without the hassle.
With that said, these were the best Buffalo wings I’ve ever had, even though I can’t pinpoint the previous winner. After 6th or 7th wing, your lips begin to tingle from the vinegar and cayenne in the hot sauce. By the end, you have a pile of bones and a four or five discarded paper towels around you. I recommend an IPA or a pinot to pair with your wings.
While there are other must-eat wing spots in the city, you best just to head to the headquarters and soak in the brick-a-brack nature of the joint.