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!

Atomic Wings at “Best Wings USA” – Quaker Steak & Lube (Erie, PA)

IMG_1843Back in Erie for a family wedding. This region of Pennsylvania is known for its Buffalo wings, and this region is home to one of the best and biggest wing spots: Quaker Steak & Lube. To Buffalo wing fanatics, Quaker Steak & Lube (often referred to affectionately as “the Lube”) needs no introduction. This restaurant powerhouse started in Sharon, Pennsylvania and is now famous for its list of sauces and its speedway atmosphere. The staff at every single Lube location I’ve visited has been nice and professional, the restaurants are always clean and running efficiently – like a well-oiled machine, one might say. I had my first experience at the Lube during college, when Tuesdays were All-You-Can-Eat Night. In those days, Tuesday night wing-night could go on for hours and I easily wolfed down a few dozen wings of varying sauces.

One of the Lube’s landmark sauces is the Atomic sauce. It’s a habanero hot sauce that actually deserves the waiver some locations still ask their patrons to sign before they can try Atomic wings. The Wing Authority actually finds it quite tasty. An Atomic wing experience is deliciously, frightfully intense – the wing-lover’s rollercoaster.

Atomic wings are no lightweight endeavor.
Atomic wings are no lightweight endeavor.

This time, as I turned to seat myself at the bar, I came upon the face of the Atomic challenge itself. One of the walls sported the “ATOMIC WALL OF FLAME“.

There was no question that I’d have to satisfy my craving on this trip back to northwestern PA and get a quick fix of Atomic sauce, but this day was no day for a full-scale challenge. We were simply having an appetizer for the road because dinner was later. Sometimes it’s time to get sweaty, panting, bloodshot eyes bulging and sucking your own fingers, and sometimes it isn’t.

The Wing Authority saddled up to the bar and ordered a couple of sample sizes. These wings are super hot. They’ve got that unique, smoky, habanero flavor, peppery and rich, and the wings are always layered with this thick sauce. Naturally, celery and blue cheese help keep things relatively under control, but beginners are going to want a glass of milk for this ride.

One might point out that Atomic sauce, along with many other flavors appearing on the Quaker Steak menu are not Buffalo. It’s true. Atomic and other habanero sauces really walk a fine line between being Buffalo or not Buffalo. It depends on the recipe. Many habanero sauces will include some red hot sauce and some butter in order to round out the bitter taste some habanero sauces can have. Even the Louisiana Lickers, while presenting a strong barbecue flavor, brings plenty of Buffalo flavor and that sauce is therefore totally Buffalo.

Those are Louisiana Lickers on the right, another of Quaker Steak's brilliant creations.
Those are Louisiana Lickers on the right, another of Quaker Steak’s brilliant creations.

Needless to say, after just a few Atomic wings, we had a bit of panting and sweating going on. But, man – it’s always worth it! Long live the Atomic wing!

“Italian-spiced Wings”

This one is quick. The Wing Authority stopped by a restaurant in Hilton Head for some pizza and – you guessed it – couldn’t help from ordering the wings. These “Italian-spiced” wings were really flavorful, smelled heavenly, and were served with some bad ass marinara sauce. Tasty stuff.

However, that’s not the question here. The Wing Authority is here to observe and preserve the Buffalo wing tradition. To be fair, the menu doesn’t offer Buffalo wings and doesn’t claim these are Buffalo. But it’s worth going on the record and I need to do my job here, lest there be any confusion about what is and what is not Buffalo.

Therefore, while these wings are delicious they are totally NOT BUFFALO.


520 WINGS in Savannah – Southern Buffalo strikes again

520 Wings is a busy local joint in Savannah that offers a menu of wings, fries, and other munchies. It’s a take-out restaurant that offers friendly service and big portions at good prices. I’m a fan.

I’ve been to 520 Wings numerous times and it never fails to satisfy. The “Hot” flavor is real, delicious, buttery Buffalo that’s bright and red and a perfect level of heat. And you can’t beat these prices in today’s chicken wings market.

520 Wings 2 Looking good. The styrofoam and aluminum foil keep the heat in for the ride home, and you’re greeted with a steamy waft of cayenne and hot chicken when you lift the lid.

I’m very happy we’ve got such a reliable wings spot in Savannah. More to come on this friendly, affordable Buffalo oasis.

King Street Grill in Charleston, SC

While visiting a friend in Charleston, South Carolina, we found ourselves checking out the action downtown on a rainy Sunday afternoon, and got the hunger. Knowing me as well as he does, my friend mentioned that King Street Grille is known to have good wings. That’s really all it takes to get The Wing Authority interested.

We walk into the downtown location of this local restaurant chain, and it’s a big sports bar, tastefully dotted with TV’s, a full bar, and high-top tables. We scoped out one for ourselves and got a couple of beers while reviewing the nice-looking menu.


Didn’t take much to find the list of wing flavors. The wings were featured center stage. Naturally, I ordered up the XXX Hot. Alongside the Buffalo flavors were a number of novelty flavors that just didn’t really draw my attention.




But do these wings look XXX Hot to you? They were not. They’re pretty-looking chicken, no doubt, but that syrupy brown sauce – with no detectable hint of crushed habanero peppers or the sting of high-octane cayenne pepper sauce – just doesn’t scream XXX Hot. Tell you what though – this was some of the best blue cheese I’ve ever had. Cheers to that!

image_8  A-HA! The posters advertising wing night at King Street Grille show that this is a place that prides itself in its wings! The Wing Authority should swing by on a wing night, because on this rainy Sunday afternoon the XXX Hot wings were not the least painful and not even Buffalo. Great service, clean downtown location, and a fun, open atmosphere. Just don’t come here for the Buffalo wings.