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Tommy, May 8 2024

Best Wings in Buffalo? Let's Go!

Introducing “The Greater Buffalo Wing Walk"

The very first time we rolled into Buffalo, New York for wings we had our sights set on Anchor Bar (of course), Duff’s, Bar-Bill and Gabriel’s Gate as some of the more-prominent spots to visit but really wished for an actual “treasure map.” We rubbed a bottle of hot sauce and a genie popped out and gave us a brochure called “The Buffalo Wing Trail,” published by our friends at @VisitBuffaloNiagra, the local visitor’s bureau. 

It was perfect. We hit all 14 spots on their trail and a few things happened. First, it gave us the inspiration to create geo-specific “Wing Trails” around the country for other wing lovers like us. And second, when we got reaction from other Buffalo area wing enthusiasts, it made us want to go back and hit all the spots we missed! I mean just 14? At the birthplace? We think not.

Out of respect for the OG’s, we didn’t name our new treasure map the Buffalo Wing Trail. That’s already done (and super official). Instead we created a larger map, with some expanded criteria. Introducing the official Wingaddicts version of “The Greater Buffalo Wing Walk.” 

We eliminated a few from the official list and added in some of our own. We also gained serious intel from locals as well as the Buffalo wing authority @BuffaloWingCoalition (follow them). To be clear, this isn’t meant to be a “best wings” list. It’s a road map of must-visit wing joints in the Greater Buffalo area from Getzville on down to Hamburg. 

We tend to prefer a bar atmosphere when we eat wings and there are no shortage of wing joints like that on this trail. And no shortage of neon-lit window signs for Labatt's and the Buffalo Bills! 

Winging it through Buffalo is similar to touring Rome, Italy. It’s full of history. So much tradition in the way most popular spots there stick to a Frank’s-and-butter recipe for their “Buffalo” wings. Only a few locations have opened up large wing-flavor menus, while some of the others incorporated Cajun seasonings along the way. By the way, they don’t call them “Buffalo wings” there. They’re simply “wings” or “hot wings.” And if you're visiting . . . do NOT ask for ranch dressing! Consider yourself warned.

Enjoy it! And let’s have some conversation! 

Elmo’s Restaurant & Bar

This is a tiny little bar in a small strip mall along a busy highway that we would otherwise have just sped on past without even noticing. Like walking right over a gold mine without even knowing. Elmo’s is a popular spot with Buffalo Sabres hockey players (check out the memorabilia on the walls) who certainly go in craving the house-favorite, grilled Cajun Honey Mustard wing which was one of the best wings we’ve ever eaten in Buffalo. You’re not going to have a huge flavor selection here but trust us on this one and be sure to ask for the “double dip."

Wingnutz Bar & Grill 

Two miles down Millersport Highway (Rt 263) after Elmo’s, you’ll need to stop in and see why everybody is talking about Wingnutz! Twenty years ago an unemployed wing-loving couple named Ed and Alicia Wrazen did what most great entrepreneurs do. They challenged the status quo. Setting out to create sauces that are distinctive from the “traditional” style, they did just that. They catered wings from their home kitchen, graduated to a local Knights of Columbus hall and finally opened up their very own restaurant in 2022. They don’t have a huge flavor selection, but you’ll want to try Ed’s Sizzlin’ Hot, Alicia’s Sweet Heat and of course their version of the “Buffalo” wing! As Wingaddicts, we LOVE WingNutz!  

Duff's Famous Wings 

On of the most-popular OG’s in Buffalo, among locals and visitors alike, is Duff’s. One of the first restaurants in the whole world to serve wings, along with Anchor Bar, they keep it extremely low frills here and pride themselves on consistency and excellence. They’ll warn you that their “medium is hot, their hot is very very hot, etc” and tempt you with their own traditional Buffalo-style wings with eight levels of heat. They also have BBQ and Spicy BBQ. Locals always order fries. It’s a Duff’s thing. And while they’ve since franchised out and have locations popping up around the country, we’ll recommend that you visit the original Duff’s Famous Wings in Amherst. 

Moor Pat 

Mike Shatzel opened this Irish-style pub in 2014 as the first craft beer bar in Williamsville. The name Moor Pat was born when he saw the words “Tap Room” backwards on a glass door. In addition to a great beer drinking bar, he quickly began building a reputation as an elite Buffalo wing destination as well. Here they beer brine their wings to add in flavor and juiciness and boast an eight-flavor menu which includes all the foundational area flavors along with interesting ones like “South American Pepper.” With a successful decade under their belt, they’ve recently opened a second location called Moor Room so you can make more room for more wings! 

Kelly’s Korner

Kelly's is a no-frills, cash-only, bar with no website, a limited flavor menu (mild, medium, hot, bbq and garlic parm) and not much social media presence at all. It might look unassuming, but it's a treasure trove for wing lovers and the ones “in the know” will tell you Kelly’s is Top 5 in all of Buffalo. Their wings are larger than average, drenched in a secret house-made Buffalo sauce that has a distinct, tangy kick. The Bleu Cheese-topped wings are a novel treat, combining the classic dip directly on the wing for a creamy texture contrast. The bar’s old-school vibe and friendly locals add to the charm, making it a great spot for those in search of authentic Buffalo wings.

Macy’s Place Pizzeria 

Buffalo is a great city for pizza as well as wings and most area pizza joints do have wings on their menus. Macy’s however, makes our list because of an elite wing game. We’ve rubbed elbows with them at the National Buffalo Wing Festival in the past and their wings have taken home plenty of hardware. We’re actually in love with their nearly 50-flavor wing menu with a “charred on the pit” option. So go eat their other-worldly pizza if you’re into it, but make it for dessert after you’ve pounded four or five plates of those wings! The original spot in Cheektowaga has been rolling since 2008 as a takeout joint with limited seating and there’s a brand new location Kenemore at Fattey Beer Co with a full bar so you can stay enjoy the full wing experience on a new level! 

Mr. Goodbar

Renowned for its vibrant college crowd (it’s a 21-and-up venue) and its nightlife, Mr. Goodbar has been a hotspot on the Elmwood Strip for over 50 years. A premier craft beer bar, Goodbar serves wings with their classic Buffalo sauce, expertly balanced for heat and flavor in Hot, Medium or Mild. Their menu also includes “Specialty Wings” in 15 flavors. The laid-back ambiance over two floors and a seasonal outdoor patio, combined with weekly live music nights, makes Mr. Goodbar a perfect spot for enjoying hearty wings in a lively setting. 

Forty Thieves

This trendy spot, opened by Tommy Cowan and Brian Scanlon in 2017, puts a modern spin on traditional wings with a ten-flavor menu which includes unique flavors like Southie Gold, Beef on Weck and the house special, "Forty Sauce." Each wing at Forty Thieves is a testament to their commitment to quality, with a crispy exterior and juicy, succulent chicken. The rustic, contemporary decor provides a comfortable backdrop for social gatherings, making it a favored choice for both casual diners and foodies. In a 2024 March Madness poll conducted by @buffalowingauthority (based on internet votes) Forty Thieves took home the Championship in a bracket that started with 64 Buffalo wing joints! You want to know the best places to eat? Ask the locals. 

* Tragically, Mr Cowan passed away unexpectedly during the writing of this blog post and the restaurant is temporarily closed. Prayers to the Cowan family. He was a huge asset to the Buffalo community and will be sorely missed. 

La Nova Pizzeria

A Buffalo institution for decades, La Nova is famous for pioneering chicken wings at pizza restaurants. Today, LaNova has sold over a billion wholesale chicken wings in all 50 states and also bottles and sells its own LaNova sauces in grocery stores around the country. Their West Buffalo location is a sit-down restaurant where you can enjoy their world famous pizza along with wings that are served with over a dozen sauces. The BBQ wings are particularly popular, featuring a distinctive, bold flavor profile that sets them apart from more traditional offerings. These wings are fried, sauced and grilled to add a char. La Nova’s bustling takeout and delivery service speaks to their popularity and quality, making them a go-to for locals and visitors alike.

Belt Line Brewery

BLB combines their craft brews with delicious, inventive wings. The Stout BBQ wings, made with their own stout beer, are must-tries on a menu that includes a half-dozen house-made flavors and creative weekly wing flavor specials (which we LOVE). Their house-made blue cheese is also a local fave. The industrial chic setting of the brewery, complete with communal tables and an open kitchen, creates a vibrant atmosphere that's perfect for an evening out with friends. Go on Wing Wednesday or Smoker Thursdays. 

Adolf’s Old First Ward Tavern

Adolf’s in the historic First Ward offers a dive-bar feel with some of the most beloved wings in Buffalo. This Irish pub was opened up by Adolf Baron in 1934 and family run for 80 years until partners Mike Burns, John Cywinski and Brian Krause purchased it in 2014. Their traditional Buffalo wings are known for their authenticity and simplicity, focusing on the classic flavors that have made Buffalo wings famous. It's a place where locals gather for good wings, cold beer, and great conversations. They have a solid wing list with ten flavors to choose from and are one of only four Buffalo wing joints rated as “Elite” by the @buffalowingcoalition at the top of their patented BWC Chicken Wing Pyramid! The bar motto is “Bringing the old neighborhood bar back to the old neighborhood.” You can fell the history when you walk up to the front door.

Gene McCarthy’s Old First Ward

McCarthy’s is another cozy spot in the Old First Ward that serves up delicious, straightforward wings with a side of local history. Their wings are crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and coated in a choice of ten sauces including the signature "McCarthy Wing" which is a blend of sweet and spicy bbq with blue cheese crumble. The friendly, welcoming atmosphere makes it a perfect spot for a casual meal in a neighborhood steeped in Buffalo tradition. This spot brews its own beer and has an excellent selection. It’s also a member of the original Buffalo Wing Trail. 

Blackthorn Restaurant & Pub

Blackthorn is known for its commitment to Buffalo culinary traditions, and their wings are no exception. The wings here are cooked to a perfect crisp and smothered in a selection of classic and innovative sauces, with the Garlic Parmesan and Classic Buffalo being particularly popular. Serving the community for almost 50 years, Blackthorn was taken over by Pat Lalley and Hugger Adymy in 2002. The family-friendly environment and warm, inviting decor make it a staple in the South Buffalo community. Don’t expect a huge flavor assortment on this menu. Instead, expect consistent quality. Try their popular “South Buffalo” style wing which is butter heavy with spices replacing the traditional Frank’s Red Hot. Famous news personality and NBC News president, Tim Russert used to frequent the restaurant before his untimely death in 2008. Blackthorn is on the official Buffalo Wing Trail and was also a stop on Guy Fieri’s Diner’s Drive In’s and Dives (although Guy forgot to order wings). Boo. 

Doc Sullivan's 

Doc’s is famous for its "Smitty" style wings, a local variation that includes a unique blend of spices similar to the South Buffalo style. These wings offer a different take on the traditional Buffalo style, with a slightly tangy and very flavorful profile. The tavern-like atmosphere and friendly service make it a beloved local hangout and a must-try for those looking for a unique Buffalo wing experience. We loved their “Beef on Weck” flavored wing which took home some hardware at the National Buffalo Wing Festival where they have won multiple trophies over the years. Also try the famous “40 Sauce” from Doc’s sister restaurant Forty Thieves (see above). 

* Also co-owned by Tommy Cowan, who tragically passed away during the writing of this post, Doc Sullivan’s is temporarily closed until further notice.

Nine-Eleven Tavern

Tucked away in South Buffalo, Nine-Eleven Tavern is a blue-collar gem known for its meticulously prepared wings and also for being a rare Buffalo wing joint that doesn’t use Frank’s hot sauce at all. Area legend, Mark Gress opened the restaurant in 1981 and pioneered a secret house-made recipe that would make Colonel Sanders jealous. The wings here are drenched in that homemade sauce that is both buttery and spicy, and consistently praised for a perfect balance of flavors. As for those flavors, you will find hot, medium, mild and plain. The motto here is “Simple is good and it works for us,” and though Mr Gress passed away in 2020, his family still carries on that tradition. The unassuming exterior belies the culinary excellence found inside, making it a favorite among those in the know. The restaurant name has nothing to do with the World Trade Center bombing (it was here first!), instead it’s named for its physical address which is 9-11 Bloomfield Ave. One of the best in Buffalo. Mr Gress was inducted into the National Buffalo Chicken Wing "Hall of Flame" by the Wing King, Drew Cerza in 2021.

Sonny Red’s

Joe Jerge, owner of the highly-regarded Mulberry Italian Restaurant in Lackawanna, wanted to open a Neapolitan syle pizza joint in town and studied the art in Italy and New York City before partnering with Justin Barends to open Sonny Red’s in 2017. They imported a wood-burning pizza oven from the “old country” (named it Bruno) and hit the ground running. Though pizza was the original idea, the wing game quickly became popular as well. Their ten-flavor menu is highlighted by “Sonny’s Style” wings made famous by Jerge and former Buffalo Bills center, Eric Wood. Their creatively sauced wings are fried and topped off in the pizza oven. The spacious patio and modern decor provide a great setting for dining out, especially in the warmer months.

Anchor Bar

Don’t throw rocks at the throne! That’s our advice to all the Buffalonians who seem to have shunned Anchor Bar from all of their “favorites” lists. Yes, it’s become a giant tourist trap. Of course it has. It’s Rome. It’s where it all began. To be fair, if I was a local I don’t know if I’d want to tolerate the millions of visitors who roll up every year however there is no argument that the OG wings from Anchor Bar have remained consistent and near-perfect for 60 years. Like Duff’s, they’ve begun to franchise out around the country. If you want the history, though, visit the original location where “Buffalo” chicken wings were born in 1964. You will NOT be disappointed. 

Gabriel’s Gate

One of the absolute favorite spots on most peoples’ lists, this is without question a super-interesting bar/restaurant. But we nearly chopped them from our list. Here’s why. While the wings there were great, they seem to be just an afterthought. They’re barely listed on the menu, waaaay down at the bottom left corner and it says right on the menu “Franks and butter.” I mean honestly, you can make that at home. But the place is fabulous. And the name is epic. And the wings are 100% worth making this a stop on your wing quest!

O’Neill’s Stadium

In the shadow of Highmark Stadium you’ll walk into this inviting bar/ restaurant and immediately notice a giant floor-to-ceiling blackboard covered with chicken wing flavors! O’Neill’s has one of the largest wing flavor menus in all of western NY, except on eight Buffalo Bills game days. When the Bills are playing at home, they have to dial down the selection to basic to accommodate the huge crowds of football fans who come through the door (and patio) all day long. This place is an absolute wing utopia.

Bar-Bill Tavern 

Down in East Aurora, you’ll find one of the supreme wing destinations in America (and many will say the best in all of Buffalo). Joe Giafaglione purchased the bar in 1977 and brought chicken wings to the menu in 1983 along with a (now) 4,000 member Mug Club. Like true artists, they actually hand paint the wing sauce on with a brush and arrange them in a pinwheel of five flats and five drums around a ramekin of made-fresh-daily blue cheese dip and celery. The menu has six levels of heat along with eight other sauce flavors. Save room for a hand-carved Beef on Weck sandwich. They recently opened new locations in Clarence and East Rochester. Heaven.

Mammoser’s Tavern 

The southern-most destination on our roadmap is one of our favorites as well. In Hamburg, this inviting family run neighborhood bar doesn’t get super fancy with a wing selection. However, history shows that Phyllis Mammoser may have been the pioneer of adding cajun spice to the original hot-sauce-and-butter recipe way back in the 70’s. In fact, there’s zero butter or margarine in the sauce at all! Phyllis' son Pete Dimpfl took over the operation in 2003 and has run it for the last twenty years. Any proud wing enthusiast will fall in love with this bar. The heat level in the sauce is increased simply by adding more sauce. The more, the hotter! 

We hope you’ll make it a goal to visit all of these amazing spots and record your reviews on the Wingaddicts App  (Download it for FREE right at this link).

We’d also love to know YOUR thoughts on this list. Who did we miss? Feel free to email me personally  at and set me straight! 

Remember, YOURS is the only opinion that matters! Wings up! 


Tommy Wyatt is co-founder of Wingaddicts and author of  this “Under the Wingfluence" blog. He can be reached directly by email at 

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