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.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!



One Hot Mama’s (Hilton Head, South Carolina)

One thing the Wing Authority has picked up during the time we spent in Georgia and the Carolinas is that southerners have a wickedly tasty twist to the classic and sacred Buffalo wing recipe. Ask most wing-lovers in the south how they like their wings and you’ll often hear the same answer: smoked.

That’s not to say that fried chicken wings aren’t found in all manners of southern food joints. But what you’ll often notice in the southeastern U.S. is that some of the best Buffalo wings you’ll find around are sold in barbecue restaurants where the wings share the menu with cornbread and slow-cooked pork ribs.

Take One Hot Mama’s, for example. One of the first restaurants I ate at in Hilton Head, it took me only one glimpse at the list of wing sauce options to realize I was in a place that prided itself on its wings. I ordered Buffalo, among other flavors, and was pleased by how juicy, crispy, and authentically, totally Buffalo these wings were. Maybe next time I’ll even try the ribs.

The wing sauce choices are divided into fried and grilled options, and you won’t find many losers on this list. Of course, we at the Wing Authority are concerned with observing & preserving the Buffalo wing tradition – but that’s not to say that some honey mustard or their super hot “Devil” sauces aren’t worth a try. Be forewarned about that Devil sauce, however. They ain’t playing.

Nice work, One Hot Mama’s. These were some of the most delicious, most reliable wings I found in the lowcountry, and if you find yourself in Hilton Head, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to some of these totally Buffalo wings!

Basket and blue cheeseTasty crispy wings

TGI Friday’s has tasty Buffalo wings and not just on Fridays

One look at these wings confirms that the all the buzz for TGI Friday’s is correct. TGI Friday’s serves up some reliable Buffalo wings!



It is well-known among wing-lovers that TGI Friday’s serves some tasty chicken wings. It’s so well-known that someone thought it was a good idea to start selling a frozen version. Oops.

Bad marketing choices aside, TGI Friday’s prides itself on its wings (and I vaguely recall an episode of HBO’s The Sopranos where Tony suggests someone go looking for Pussy Bonpensiero at TGI Friday’s because “he loves their wings”). Not having tried them in some time, the Wing Authority took the opportunity on a recent trip to the mall. TGI Friday’s is not a local pub and it isn’t a greasy pizza and wings joint. You’ll find many TGI Friday’s restaurants near a Home Depot or a Starbucks, but you might also stumble past one in an upscale downtown shopping district. It’s a place that welcomes happy hours but is also suitable for a dinner out with the family. In fact, I must admit – ordering just wings and a beer felt a bit abrupt for the relaxed dining atmosphere. I will give TGI Friday’s credit for creating a nice ambiance without losing its Buffalo wing bonafides.

Tasty wing flavors and creamy blue cheese. The wings were perfectly crispy and juicy. I ordered, the extra hot, of course, and even though they didn’t bring tears to the eyes, TGI Friday’s nailed the Buffalo flavor while ratcheting up the heat. Well done, TGI Friday’s!

The Winking Lizard (Lakewood, O-H-I-O) – Be there.

It must be said that the Wing Authority faces some reviews with a bit of reservation. Across the Buffalo wing nation there are some longstanding, well-loved establishments which can’t be fully covered in one single review here. Winking Lizard is one of these, and is a spot that wing-lovers know well (or ought to), offering piles of tasty Buffalo wings and gallons of beer over its proud history. Folks in the Ohio region count on Winking Lizard for wing night, game night, celebration night, and any night needing delicious food in a fun atmosphere. The Wing Authority would love to learn more about the history behind this tavern and eatery, so if you have a story or two, please share!

Nevertheless, the Wing Authority is on an endless journey of indulgence and when the idea for wings and drinks at Winking Lizard is proposed, it means it’s time to go Buffalo or go home.

IMG_0850 The Winking Lizard

Welcome to Lakewood

Any time at Winking Lizard is a great time with great company and some great wings. Winking Lizard takes its wings seriously – check out just a portion of the colorful & descriptive menu page full of flavors! This lets you know there are years of experience and dedication going into these flavors. Dedication, especially when it comes to Buffalo wings and whether or not a joint is truly Buffalo, is of paramount importance. Winking Lizard does not disappoint.

The wings are juicy, plump specimens and the hot flavor is totally Buffalo. One quick note? The hot is lacking a little in the wet category. Dry rub is to be avoided in all wings Buffalo, and I’m raising an eyebrow if there isn’t at least a small pool of sauce collecting beneath a stack of wings.

Notice the mandatory celery and blue cheese – the only way to do it properly. This may be Cleveland Browns territory but there is no doubt that Buffalo, New York is also represented in the way Winking Lizard boldly observes and preserves the Buffalo wing tradition coming from the other end of Lake Erie.

Are  Winking Lizard wings the best in Ohio? With so much competition, it’s hard to say. But the atmosphere is blue collar, fun, musical, and openly encourages getting your hands dirty with wing sauce. That means that if you find yourself in the Buckeye state with a wicked wing craving, Winking Lizard is the perfect spot to be.


Frosty Frog’s Totally Buffalo Wings

Frosty Frog’s Totally Buffalo Wings

Have you ever been to Wet Willie’s and had one of their strong, sweet icy slushies with grain alcohol? If you’ve had one or something similar, you know high-test slushies can do either one of two things: stir up an appetite or induce napping. If you’re awake enough afterward, you’ll want a hearty snack. I’m sure you catch my drift. It’s wing time.

Enter Frosty Frog Cafe. One day while killing time and grabbing a drink with a few friends in this vacation attraction beach town, I flipped through the menu. As the grain alcohol from my daiquiri settled in, my appetite grew. Immediately, my eyes landed on “Olivia’s Wings”, described as the plumpest around.

But what’s this?! I was shocked to see this sunny beachside tavern features straight up Buffalo wings by way of Erie, Pennsylvania. Take a look at the restaurant’s origin story.

The Legend of Frosty


Frosty's delicious Buffalo wings






These wings were delicious. Naturally, I ordered the Hot flavor. They were crispy and served in a basket with blue cheese as they should be. The red Buffalo sauce had the right amount of tang and gave the wings the perfect spicy glaze without being too thick. Not too hot, either, meaning anyone can (and everyone should) saddle up and give these TOTALLY BUFFALO wings a spin.

"Olivia's Wings"

I’m especially interested in how the Buffalo wing tradition made its way down to Hilton Head. According to the menu, Frosty left Erie for warmer weather. I don’t blame him. I know more than a few people who left Erie for the exact same reason. Erie has some of the best Buffalo wings to be found anywhere, but that lake effect snow is something serious.

But this migration has a great side effect, as we see. Hilton Head is hundreds of miles away from Lake Erie, far from Buffalo, New York and the Anchor Bar, yet Frosty Frog Cafe nails the Buffalo wing tradition perfectly, thanks in large part to its origins in Erie, PA.

The Wing Authority is eager to learn of all migrations and adaptations involving the glorious Buffalo wing tradition. If you have any stories to share, please do so on this website or by e-mail at

Thanks for spreading the gospel, Frosty!

J Buffalo Wings: Best Wings in Atlanta??? We shall see.

J Buffalo Atlanta

This sign is just begging for attention. Welcome to J. Buffalo Wings in Atlanta, Georgia. First, any place that dares to say it has the best wings in town (with three exclamation points) immediately invites challengers and naysayers. Next, it has the classic logo of a buffalo with wings.

Therefore, the Wing Authority is expecting the original recipe and the only acceptable version of real Buffalo wings: hot sauce + butter + blue cheese.  Let’s see.

Upon entering, customers come to this:


While somewhat hard to read here, the Wing Authority deeply respects the dedication displayed right here on the wall. If you look closely you’ll see the name Teresa Bellissimo recognized as the mother of Buffalo wings, as she should be. I don’t know about the various other J. Buffalo locations, but this one on Buford Highway looks promising.

But let’s get to the wings. They were crispy, served steaming hot, and had a thick, bright red Buffalo sauce. Veggies and blue cheese were served up right along with the wings. Check plus, J. Buffalo!

Wings and Beer

Check those out. Very pretty. These wings were around the spice level of maybe a Valentina or Cholula with some high octane sauce added, the kind most people would hesitate to put on a taco at lunch. This Buffalo sauce does not mess around, but more importantly it’s a great texture for coating and not running.

One small critique of these wings is a common one: too crispy. Crispiness comes in degrees, may vary by day or even order, and can also be a matter of taste. To the Wing Authority,
Love that red colora Buffalo wing is too crispy when the skin has begun to shrink. I will take less-than-crispy wings before wings that even verge on dry. Best wings in town? I’m not so sure. Atlanta is no slouch when it comes to truly great Buffalo wings. More on that soon.

One interesting aspect of this J. Buffalo location was its apparent Mexican connection. The patrons appeared Latino, the young lady who took my order spoke Spanish to another worker, the televisions were tuned to a soccer game on Univision, and therefore I couldn’t help but ride the wave and order a Dos Equis. The Wing Authority loves to see the Buffalo wing tradition cross cultures and win over new crowds. I would have felt comfortable ordering a few more beers and another basket of wings, but unfortunately time did not permit such an indulgence on this day.

J. Buffalo nails it for its wing sauce, good service, and for proudly observing the history of the Buffalo wing tradition right on its wall. While they may not be the absolute best wings in town, there is no need to second guess that these are truly impressive and truly Buffalo wings. Delicioso!