What is a perfect buffalo wing?
Who serves the perfect buffalo wing?
Created by accident in the early sixty’s when Terresa Bellissimo mixed up some Franks Red Hot with butter and poured it over some wings for her son and his buddies at Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY with some salad dressing to lower the heat, for years and years, “buffalo” was about the only way I’d order wings.
Then I became an addict.
Doni, Ryan and I almost always grab an order of buffalo wings when we hit new restaurants and record Wingaddicts episodes. Sometimes its just that simple hot sauce and butter which, full disclosure, I love. But some restaurants take their wings more seriously and go to the next level. Some even bottle and sell their own sauces. We’re asked all the time, "who has the best wings?” And, though it comes off as a lame answer, its always the same. It’s an impossible question to answer. Like with everything, the “best” is always what’s your favorite.
This following blog post was written by me (Tommy) and doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinions of Doni the Cleaner or Wingchef Ryan. I didn’t even consult with them. Instead, I compiled a list of some of the most-memorable favorite buffalo wings I’ve had in Connecticut. Personally, I like extra sauce on my buffalo wings. I also like them to be somewhere between medium (for flavor) and hot enough to sting my lips. I like them on the creamy side but I really want that vinegar too. I also like bleu cheese with my buffalo wings 75% of the time, prefer flats to drums and like them a little on the extra-done side. Sometimes they're so good I forget to dip. That's when we know we have a Hall of Fame wing on our hands!
Apologies to anyone left off this list as sometimes we don’t get actual buffalo wings at a given spot when they have multiple flavors on the menu. For example I'm giving honorable mention to Tipping Chair Tavern in Southington and Chubby's in Stratford because I didn't have their actual buffalo, but instead an other-worldly "garlic buffalo." So while it should count, it doesn't count today. But I'll be back.
Also, I’m leaving off the spots that had their own “house” wing that wasn’t really buffalo but was bangin' (namely the wings at Birch Hill Tavern, 8fifty Pizza, Scooter's Grill and Bar, and 1754 House to name a few). All amazing.
Here are some (alphabetically) that I simply cannot wait to eat again, and would recommend to ANY Wingaddict out there. Again, we’ve eaten a LOT of wings at a LOT of places so I may have forgotten about a few. This list, though, contains some that were absolutely unforgettable.
* As always, click on the restaurant name for the link to that restaurant, or click on the photo to re-live our Wingaddicts YouTube episode there.
Archie Moore’s in Wallingford, New Haven, Milford, and Fairfield: You just can’t go wrong at Archie’s. Their wing is legit and consistent every single time. You can, of course, also buy the sauce in most grocery stores in the state (or online).
Beachland Smoke in West Hartford: Oh dear lord. Smoked to perfection. Flavor bombs. Just look at the photo. No more words.
Blind Rhino in Black Rock and S.Norwalk: These guys flat out know wings. This baby actually won awards at the National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, NY. Nuff said.
Bonfire Grille in Milford: These didn’t need the sprinkling of gorgonzola, but oh thank you! And also thank you to those who didn’t call me out for misspelling “gorgonzola” in this photo last fall.
Dew Drop Inn in Derby: I've had so many flavors at Dew Drop that I had forgotten what their buffalo wing was like. So yesterday I went back and ordered six at the bar. As expected, they're as good as anywhere. However, I honestly wouldn't go to Dew Drop for buffalo wings. There are just too many unique and scrumptious flavors on that menu. Get buffalo somewhere else.
Flying Monkey in Newington: Loved every single flavor on their menu. This buffalo was no exception. You can also get their delicious bottled sauces "to go."
Four Dad’s Pub in Granby: Another place with an artist in the kitchen. All homemade sauces. All excellent. Oh, and you might just have one of the best times ever!
Groggy Frogg in Southington: Here's another legendary wing joint where buffalo wings might just be an afterthought because there are so many on the menu (78). But you want these. They're top notch with a really nice heat. They've won lots of awards.
Hard Hat Cafe in Wallingford and West Haven: While these buffalo wings didn’t necessarily blow me away with their flavor (as some of their other wings did), they did stand out in the “unforgettable” column because their “Doob Style” consists of them frying, saucing, and then grilling (notice the grill marks). They are a big CT fave. I'm sure I'd like them better if I asked for extra buffalo sauce. (Next time I will).
Hot Rod Cafe in New London: “Hot” Rod and Chef Carlos serve the best wings in the entire south east quadrant of the state. There I said it. But they also serve some of the best in the entire state. These buffalo wings have won at the National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, NY. I’ve kissed the trophy.
The Hub in Naugatuck & Ansonia: Their sister restaurant 66 Church is literally right next door and has wings that are huge local favorites. But there's just something about this buffalo wing. The way its cooked. The way its flavored. Hey, this is my blog post. I need to revisit 66 Church, but in the meantime, give me The Hub!
Jerzie Joe's in Southington: While I absolutely preferred the house-favorite "Garlic Buffalo" wing, the traditional Jacked up Buffalo (recently renamed "Ragin Buffalo") can simply not be ignored.
JJ Stacks in Brookfield: This place will totally surprise you. I mean its a mini-golf place. But I dare you to go inside and order any of the wings on the list. These one’s too!
J.Timothy’s in Plainville: No, they’re not overrated. They’re among the best wings in the entire world. Period. They only focus on one thing where wings are concerned and nobody does it better. You can also purchase this buffalo sauce in stores or online and you should! Here it is in all its glory; the famed "Dirt Style" buffalo wing.
The Lodge in Southford (Southbury): I’m biased because I’ve eaten more wings here than anyplace else on earth. They’re not fancy, but they’re swimming in sauce which is how I like them. I suspect that its one of those Franks-and-butter scenarios, but if so they’re my favorite of that genre.
Ordinary Joe’s in Watertown: On of my top spots in the state, these buffalo’s are a lot like The Lodge. In fact, they might be related! LOVE.
Pippa’s Sports Cafe in Danbury: I still can’t figure out what these guys are doing in their buffalo sauce and we didn’t try to get their recipe (lucky for them Wingchef Ryan was absent that day because he would have).
Porky's Cafe in Shelton: We went to Porky's WAAAY back at the beginning of Wingaddicts without Wingchef Ryan. We NEED to revisit. But I clearly remember these buffalo wings. Good as it gets!
Redding Road House in Redding: Super solid buffalo wing. We ate these during a Sunday brunch (the only time we ever recorded on a Sunday) and I remember all three of us looking at each other with glee.
Reid’s BBQ in Derby: Wings are just so good from the smoker that its hard to leave off any BBQ joint wings. These, however, are just as close to perfect as you can possibly be.
Roosters Chicken & Waffles (Four Locations): This one is in its own category. It's breaded. It's basically fried chicken swimming in flavor. This place has multiple flavor combos but this buffalo is a must-try. That beautiful golden coat holds onto the sauce like nothing I've ever tried before. Cock-a-doodle-doo baby!
Royal Coachman Tavern in Riverton: It’s not an exaggeration to say that this was one of the absolute most-pleasant surprise finds we made in 2020. Not only had we never heard of the place, we’d never heard of the town. Then we were hesitant to make a long ride there. Then we fell in love.
Sliders in Plainville, Wallingford, Middletown, Berlin, and Southington: This is another spot where its easy to look past the buffalo because of the other 40 flavors on the menu. This buffalo sauce, which has an incredible story (look back on past blog posts about CT Wing History) is as good as any on the market. And you can get it at the market and online as well.
TK’s American Cafe in Danbury: One of the original spots responsible for CT wing heritage, and another with dozens of flavors on the menu. People in Danbury will fight you if you say you don’t like these wings. And you will.
Tuck’s Tavern in Naugatuck: We’ve never encountered a place where the flavor just hugs onto the wings, no matter what flavor you order. And we know why. In addition to this tasty buffalo wing there's a special spin-off called the “red white and bleu” which is their house fave. It not only makes me feel patriotic but it makes me full. Very full.
Uncommon Grill in Watertown: So here's a place where you'd be inclined to order every other thing on the menu before you try the wings. This place is SO beyond first class, and the menu is so exciting that it's hard to say "wings." But these buffalo wings absolutely make the grade (along with the other five flavors). So focus.
So there you have it. It was painful for me to hold off seven more restaurants that I really wanted to add, but I wanted to stay at 25. If there’s a Wingaddict out there reading this who has already had every buffalo wing on this list then I’ll personally send you the others. If you’re somebody who disagrees with any of my entries, just remember its my personal opinion. That means you can argue, but you’ll be wrong!
Did I forget your favorite spot? Let me know. I'll either try it, or try it again! Frankly, I've never met a wing I didn't like! And remember, this list is only my opinion of BUFFALO wings that I've tried. Not "best wings." Not "best buffalo wings." But Tommy's best buffalo wings!