15th Annual National Buffalo Wings Festival

We couldn’t help but notice, while getting ready to hit the road for Buffalo for the 15th Annual National Buffalo Wings Festival, that the skies were dark and gray. Rain was forecasted at over 80% for the afternoon. The venue isn’t really suited for rainy events and later on I’d see a photo of The Wing King himself praying on his knees for the rain to go away. Gods be praised, by the time we rolled up to Coca-Cola Field the rain was done threatening to dampen the day and the breezy day was much to our liking.  .

Having been spared the rain, we took our time taking in the options and the driving blues-rock coming from the stage. As the day wore on the sky cleared up more and it turned out to be a really beautiful Labor Day Sunday! Just take a look at these competitors, all these delicious sauces – oh my!

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Doc Sullivan’s from South Buffalo won first place in the Creative Sauce category for their rich, garlicky Beef on Weck wings. While totally not Buffalo, it was a great sauce which I remarked would probably taste good on a list of dishes (beginning with the sandwich, of course).

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Booty’s is a restaurant slinging the best Medium sauce we sampled at this year’s Festival. It was bright, packed a punch of flavor and did not feel greasy. International Pizza Expo offered some really unique, well-balanced Maple Bacon wings which were really delightful.

Finally, we have got to mention Odis 12, one of Erie, PA’s hometown favorites. Odis (as we affectionately refer to them) took second place in the Creative Sauce category for their Trinity sauce, which was a unique combo of three other sauces. There is a touching story behind the naming of this sauce which The Wing Authority would like to discuss at another time. As always, please stay tuned.

What a blast! The National Buffalo Wings Festival is every Labor Day weekend, so mark it on your calendars. The vibes are always great at this event. You never see arguments or shoving. Everyone waits in line (which move quickly, no matter how long they appear) and everyone just talks about chicken wings with genuine interest, with big smiles all around. It’s totally pleasant. Totally beautiful day in Buffalo, New York. Check it out!

Hot Wings from Marco’s Pizza – Not Really Buffalo

Marco’s Pizza joints are popping up everywhere and they serve some tasty pies. The Wing Authority, being on occasion a lover of delivery pizza chains, decided to check out its chicken wing selection and got some hot wings delivered.

Are they totally Buffalo or are they not Buffalo?


Well, they aren’t disgusting. Marco’s wings fall under their own section of the menu, and a customer can choose between 3 sauces: “Plain”, “BBQ”, or “Hot”. Given the two other options, my expectations weren’t set very high when I ordered the hot wings.

Let’s pause for a second to consider the term “hot wings”. Wings can be hot and NOT Buffalo (think mango habanero or spicy Cajun rub). Wings can be TOTALLY Buffalo and not hot (medium-heat sauces come to mind). The term hot wings tells you nothing about the flavor or sauce, and frequently you’ll see someone talking about hot wings go ahead and order something atrocious like lemon pepper, which is neither spicy nor Buffalo.

Then again, maybe hot wings just means chicken wings that aren’t cold.

Pizza delivery chains face a problem with bringing you Buffalo wings: the crisp. Unfortunately, the wings I ordered arrived lacking the crispness of freshly-cooked Buffalo wings you’d find at a restaurant, tavern or at home. I’m told Marco’s Pizza chicken wings are deep fried and then baked. Somehow they miss the crispness mark on both go-rounds. Oh well.

Those crispy-looking dark tips are deceiving. Notice also how these “Buffalo” wings have barely enough sauce to give the chicken any color other than a yellow hue that comes from too much grease and butter.

Look, you may be thinking that I’m expecting too much from a pizza delivery chain. But this is The Wing Authority. If we aren’t calling out restaurants in our aim to observe and preserve the Buffalo wings tradition, who will?

The Buffalo sauce was generally tasty but carried no heat punch, and the blue cheese was okay but not outstanding. Needless to say, I covered my wings in my own blend of red hot sauces and supplied my own blue cheese.

Is it Buffalo or is it not Buffalo? Greasy, not crispy, not spicy, not even sauced up right. That’ll be a NOPE.

Blondie’s and The WingBar in NYC


A while back the Wing Authority visited New York City, and it was said that Blondie’s on West 79th Street in Manhattan was a must-try for wings.  Well, we saddled up, did our job, and the rumors were spot-on! Blondie’s is a busy sports bar that greets you with that sizzling, welcoming Buffalo wing aroma. You walk past tables of guests and see platters and – get this – buckets of wings. I just love that this place offers wings in buckets which is very old school. More on this later.

They are really tasty, the Hot sauce is not too runny and flavorful enough without being very spicy. Good thing the place was so crowded – otherwise I wouldn’t want to leave. With its devotion to serving hot wings in buckets with blue cheese, Blondie’s is a place that observes the Buffalo wings tradition!

Thanks to my anonymous menu model here

Blondie's menu close



Meanwhile over in Brooklyn, The WingBar is a cozy place that hustles, people coming and going , both the bar and kitchen just a few steps away from any of the high or low top tables. We stopped here on a dark night in October and unfortunately for us, could not get good photos. Fortunately for The WingBar, however, this was because the restaurant was packed and the Smith Street location had a jubilant atmosphere that spilled into the sidewalk. Good place for a drink and a snack, and the Wing Authority appreciates the limited sauce options on this menu. These were authentic and satisfying, if not outstanding. But hey, sometimes there is beauty in simplicity. Keep it simple, keep it classy, keep it totally Buffalo!

The WingBar WingBar hot wings

Mexican Buffalo? Indeed! (El Jalapenos, Cleveland)

Many of you have probably noticed that your nearby Mexican restaurant has chicken wings on the menu. The question is – are they Buffalo?

The Wing Authority paid a visit to a spot in Cleveland and even though lots of menu items looked tasty (and in fact were, according to my companions), the question of whether the wings were Buffalo or not had to be answered, so I ordered a delicious dozen. The server warned me they were hot and to be honest, I wasn’t too sure what to expect from the creamy dipping sauce that came along. No blue cheese? What the hell.

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El Jalapenos was not crowded or noisy, a perfect casual family dining experience. You can’t beat the price for 12 wings at $6.99. They were good. They were fried crispy and the tasty red sauce was far from overwhelming – despite the warning I received. The breading was a bit thick for my liking but the sauce was totally Buffalo.

Oh alright. We’ll give them a pass for not offering blue cheese since their wings are not a featured item and Mexican food as a whole doesn’t exactly make much of blue cheese.

Give these guys a shot. The Wing Authority is eager to explore more ethnic restaurants – Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Caribbean, etc. We’ll continue to let you know whether the wings are totally Buffalo, and we will continue to observe and preserve the Buffalo wing tradition!



Report – National Buffalo Wing Festival 2016

Another one in the books! The National Buffalo Wing Festival on September 3 – 4 in Buffalo, New York, delighted its attendees with a successful event with plenty of great food and fun entertainment.

There were vendors from mainly the northeastern U.S. and one from all the way out in Brisbane, Australia, that offered their versions of tasty chicken wings.

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What a great day in Buffalo! The Wing Authority got to sample some exceptional wings, at a reasonable $1 apiece, and saw a collectively enormous list of flavors. There were plenty of nuanced, complex Buffalo flavors including one extra hot sauce from Duff’s Wings that had my head spinning for a few minutes. Time for another beer.


If pressed, my favorites were the Hot flavors from Duff’s and The Anchor Bar. Maybe I’m biased toward the hometown favorites, but I think it’s due to another factor that we constantly mention at The Wing Authority, which is – sure, sampling chicken wings in a variety of sauces makes for a great afternoon, but when it comes to Buffalo wings there is a right way and a wrong way.

We shall observe and preserve the Buffalo wing tradition. Buffalo wings means red hot sauce and butter, blue cheese on the side.

We came across mango habanero, apple wings, Asian blends, and more. Fine. They’re worth a try. Just keep in mind – those are NOT BUFFALO. I’ll spend my tickets on wings that are TOTALLY BUFFALO!

Coca-Cola Field provided an open, sunny space for the event and despite the lines for wings, it was easy to get to the stage to check out all the entertainment and there were no lines for beverages. In addition, Marie’s had a stand for FREE blue cheese dressing. Our impression was that it lacked one or two qualities we look for in blue cheese dressing but hey – it’s pretty hard to complain about free cheese.  Extra props to Marie’s for supplying the blue cheese for the Bobbing for Wings contest!

There were several tents for much-needed shade and all the lines moved expediently. It was an extremely pleasant event and although we would have liked to see more vendors (possible suggestion: one set of vendors for Saturday, another set of vendors for Sunday), there was so much deliciousness and good vibes that we can’t wait for next year!

Check out the event website at: http://buffalowing.com, where you can see a real-time countdown to the 2017 National Buffalo Wing Festival.

Another interesting link on Buffalo wing history

While doing some research, the Wing Authority found a pleasant little rundown of Buffalo wings history. Here’s our hat tip to The Kitchen Project and a link to their Buffalo wings story:


Naturally, the writer pays homage to Theresa Bellissimo and the Anchor Bar where Buffalo wings originated. He also points out that Mrs. Bellissimo used Frank’s hot sauce, which by 1964 had been around for decades, for her invention. It’s amazing to think of how fate brought together these perfect elements. Let us bow our heads in gratitude for such a miracle.

Thank you, dear readers, and don’t forget to OBSERVE AND PRESERVE THE BUFFALO WING TRADITION!


Anchor Bar (Buffalo airport)
Anchor Bar (Buffalo airport)

From The New Yorker – a short history of the Buffalo wing

Hey friends –

A reader sent The Wing Authority the following link to a piece from 1980 which discusses the birth of Buffalo wings and gives some interesting context and commentary.


There are lots of trends and offshoots since the beginnings of this glorious food and we hope to explore and discuss as many as possible. Take some time to read this fun little piece and leave your comments!