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America's Best Buffalo Wings

Frying up the perfect wing is a lot harder than it looks
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Whether you’re enjoying them at home while watching the game or at one of America’s best bars, Buffalo wings are the go-to snack to really get the party started. True Buffalo-style wings, which got their start as a regional specialty in Buffalo, New York, are different from your standard fried chicken in that they’re not breaded, and are tossed in a sauce that’s traditionally made by combining a mild hot sauce like Frank’s RedHot with butter. Every wing joint puts its own spin on this timeless recipe, however, and we’ve tracked down the nation’s 25 best.

Methodology

Methodology
iStock.com/Daniel Kuster

We canvassed the country for the best bars and restaurants to serve wings that are beloved by both locals and in-the-know tourists. We combed through review sites and existing rankings to find wings that met our criteria: a perfect Buffalo wing is one that’s crispy on the outside (even after spending some time on a plate) while remaining juicy on the inside, and completely coated in sauce but not bogged down by it. Speaking of the sauce, it needs to have the right balance of spice to butter without being overly greasy. It’s actually a lot harder than it appears to make a perfect Buffalo wing, but the bars and restaurants on this list have it down to a science.

#25 BuffaLouie’s (Bloomington, Indiana)

#25 BuffaLouie’s at the Gables, Bloomington, Ind.

Kyle D./Yelp

Located a stone’s throw from Indiana University’s campus since opening in 1987, BuffaLouie's is perpetually packed, and if anyone knows good wings, it’s college students. Wings here are available in 17 homemade sauces, but stick with the straight-ahead Buffalo sauce. These wings are perfectly balanced, crispy, juicy and so easily washed down with one of the best beers in America.

#24 Wogies (New York, New York)

#24 Wogies, New York City

Michelle L./Yelp

In a town known for great wings, the ones at Wogies have risen above the pack. This classic sports bar serves delicious wings with no frills — they're crunchy, spicy, perfectly sauced and addictive. The heat level is spot-on. Along with a good beer selection and a great vibe, there’s simply not much else you can want from a great sports bar.

#23 Flanigan’s (Various Florida Locations)

#23 Flanigan’s, Miami

Afa I./Yelp

Marinating for 24 hours and deep-frying twice in soybean oil are the secrets to the success of the big, meaty wings at this South Florida institution, which has more than 20 locations in the region. Whether you order them mild or hot, you’ll want to keep coming back for more.

#22 Wingers (Multiple Locations)

#22 Winger’s, Various Locations

Wingers/Yelp

Utah-based mini-chain Wingers, which also has locations in Idaho, Oregon and Nevada, brews its own craft beer, keeps the classic rock pumping and turns out some of the best wings you’ll find anywhere. The wings here are usually battered before they’re fried but can be ordered with no batter if that’s what you prefer. The sauces are so addictive that the restaurant bottles them, and you can buy your wings by the bucket.

#21 Addy’s Bar and Grill (Omaha, Nebraska)

#17 Addy’s Bar and Grill, Omaha, Neb.

Rob G./Yelp

Should you find yourself in Omaha, stop at Addy’s from some of the best wings around. The secret to their success is a trip to the grill after saucing, resulting in a caramelized exterior and a nice, smoky flavor. Big, juicy and still retaining their crispiness, these wings are impossible not to fall in love with at first bite.

#20 Daddy-O (New York, New York)

#21 Daddy-O, New York City

Dana C./ Yelp

Popular West Village bar Daddy-O is run by Rochester, New York native Phil Casaceli, and he takes his wings very seriously. This bar is known for its well-crafted cocktails, which pair perfectly with its jumbo wings. Whether you’re a local or are visiting New York City, you owe it to yourself to try these wings.

#19 Bird’s Nest (Chicago, Illinois)

#20 Bird’s Nest, Chicago

Michelle Brady S./Yelp

Plump, juicy and flavorful, the wings at Bird's Nest are also some of the largest you’ll find. Paired with some killer blue cheese dip, these wings really hit all the right notes.

#18 Buffalo Joe’s (Evanston, Illinois)

#19 Buffalo Joe’s, Evanston, Ill.

Alex A./Yelp

Super crispy, crunchy and perfectly sized, the wings at Buffalo Joe's come drenched in a stellar wing sauce that ranges from mild to super, super hot. We're talking in line with some of the world’s hottest hot sauces.

#17 East Coast Wings + Grill (Multiple Locations)

#18 East Coast Wings + Grill, North Carolina

East Coast Wings + Grill/Yelp

With nearly 40 locations nationwide, North Carolina-based East Coast knows how to make a good wing. There are 60 flavors and seven heat levels on offer, but the true test is the classic Buffalo-style, and it's great. The Lynchburg, Virginia, location was named “Best Restaurant” by the Central Virginia Business Coalition.

 

#16 Three Dollar Cafe (Atlanta, Georgia)

#16 Three Dollar Cafe, Atlanta

Three Dollar Cafe/Yelp

Three Dollar Cafe has 11 locations in the Peach State, all the better for those who want to be as close as possible to world-class wings. Nothing short of legendary, these wings come in orders from 10 to 50 and are big, meaty and perfectly crispy. The atmosphere, with plenty of TVs and lots of great beer, makes for a world-class wing-eating experience.

#15 Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap (Chicago, Illinois)

#15 Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap, Chicago

Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap/Yelp

The wings at Jake Melnick’s are pretty much flawless, evenly fried, perfectly sauced and handled with care. Big, meaty and juicy, they’ll make a wing lover out of anyone. It’s hard to put your finger on what exactly makes these wings so perfect, but one thing is clear: These are one of the absolute best things to eat in Illinois.

#14 Pluckers Wing Bar (Multiple Locations)

#14 Pluckers Wing Bar, Texas

MinhDuyen N./Yelp

With more than 20 locations throughout Texas (and two in Louisiana), Pluckers must be doing something right. The wing joint has never compromised quality, using top-notch chicken wings and homemade sauces, including a blue cheese sauce made from scratch with real blue cheese.

#13 Wingnuts (Costa Mesa, California)

#13 Wingnuts, Ontario, Calif., and Costa Mesa, Calif.

T. O./Yelp

The wings at Wingnuts start off with a 24-hour marinade before heading to the deep fryer. Going through about 3,000 pounds of wings per week, this restaurant offers wings in a ton of flavors, but you can’t go wrong with the straight-up Buffalo. No crazy marinades here, just an absolutely to-die-for wing. (You might actually feel like you're dying after sampling the "Seek Shelter" heat level.) 

#12 Dirty Birds (San Diego, California)

#12 Dirty Birds, San Diego, Calif.

Niko R./Yelp

Wings that are big, meaty and crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, and more than 20 house-made varieties of sauces to choose from? You can’t go wrong at Dirty Birds, a fun, lively, beachy sports bar, but start out with the classic Buffalo to get a sense of how pitch-perfect these wings are. To see their fryer skills, you can also order them "naked," with no sauce at all. Don’t miss out on the homemade blue cheese dip. You can also order your wings coated in half wing sauce, half blue cheese dip.

#11 Bonnie’s Grill (Brooklyn, New York)

#4 Bonnie’s Grill, Brooklyn, N.Y.

JohnnyPrimeC. C./Yelp

Located in the heart of Park Slope, Brooklyn’s Restaurant Row, the diminutive Bonnie’s is mostly taken up by a long counter from which you can watch your never-frozen wings fry to order, then get tossed in house-made Buffalo sauces of varying intensity. No Caribbean jerk sauce here, just a near-flawless, Buffalo-style wing sauce. They're served steaming hot with just the right amount of sauce and are best washed down with one of Bonnie’s rotating craft beers or a cheap can of Genesee — there’s no better way to while away a lazy afternoon.

#10 Gabriel’s Gate (Buffalo, New York)

#11 Gabriel’s Gate, Buffalo, N.Y.

Arthur H./Yelp

For all the attention Buffalo’s Anchor Bar gets, Gabriel’s Gate, housed in a building dating back to 1864, certainly gives it a run for its money. The wings served at Gabriel’s are bigger than you’ll usually find, and are fried and sauced to perfection. 

#9 Gritty's (Three Maine Locations)

#10 Gritty McDuff’s, Multiple Maine Locations

Bruce D./Yelp

Gritty’s (formerly Gritty McDuff's, and no relation to the Philly mascot), happens to serve some of the best wings you’ll find anywhere. They're available in a handful of sauces and dry rubs — but these guys know that you don’t need to rely on crazy sauces to let the wings shine. If you’re lucky, you might be able to join their "Mug Club" and hang your personal mug on the wall, but it’s a lot easier to just dig into a plate of stellar wings and down one of their beers. There are locations in Portland (which is also one of the best cities for beer lovers), Freeport and Auburn.

 

#8 Legend Larry’s (Multiple Wisconsin Locations)

#9 Legend Larry’s, Multiple Wisconsin Locations

April G./Yelp

The winner of several awards at the National Buffalo Wing Festival, Legend Larry’s is certainly legendary in its native Wisconsin, where it has four locations. The big, juicy wings are guaranteed to be hot out of the fryer and are best washed down with Larry’s stellar selection of craft beers.

#7 The Bazaar by José Andrés (Multiple Locations)

#8 The Bazaar by José Andrés, Los Angeles

Libby R./Yelp

The most upscale, wildly experimental restaurant on this list also serves some of the country’s most mind-blowingly delicious wings. At Bazaar (which has locations in Beverly Hills, California; Las Vegas and Miami), José Andrés first confits his wings (slow-cooking them in chicken fat) before deboning them, dredging them in flour, pan-frying them then dunking them in his own interpretation of Buffalo sauce. He’s even got the accompaniments covered: each wing is topped with blue cheese cream and compressed diced celery. If you’re ever in the same state as this fine establishment, this is one restaurant you need to visit.

#6 Jimmie Kramer’s Peanut Bar (Reading, Pennsylvania)

#6 Jimmie Kramer’s Peanut Bar, Reading, Pa.

April D./Yelp

There are no frills to the wings at Reading institution Peanut Bar, where guests have been littering the floor with peanut shells since the 1930s. Great care is given to the wings here, which have won multiple awards. The restaurant also offers them in garlic-herb sauce, but you’ll want to stick to the classic: big, meaty, crispy wings, perfectly sauced and made with high-quality chicken.

#5 Nine-Eleven Tavern (Buffalo, New York)

#5 Nine-Eleven Tavern (Buffalo, New York)

Randall B./Yelp

There’s something magical about the Buffalo sauce that douses the wings at longtime Buffalo favorite Nine-Eleven Tavern, but it’ll have to remain a mystery — it’s a closely held secret. The wings themselves are always perfectly crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside, and they’re artfully arranged on the platter into a glorious ring of deliciousness. You can buy a bottle of that legendary wing sauce on your way out and try to replicate it at home, but these wings deserve to be enjoyed in their natural setting, which also happens to be a pretty amazing dive bar.

#4 Delaney’s Hole in the Wall (North Conway, New Hampshire)

#5 Delaney’s Hole in the Wall, North Conway, N.H.

Jessica C./Yelp

Crispy and tossed in a perfectly balanced sauce, the wings at Delaney's are the talk of this New England town. They were even voted New Hampshire’s best by New Hampshire Magazine in 2017. Conveniently located near a ski resort, they’re a perfect apres-ski snack.

#3 Anchor Bar (Buffalo, New York)

#3 Anchor Bar, Buffalo, N.Y.

Hadi N./Yelp

Anchor Bar is the place that started it all (Buffalo wings were reportedly invented here by Teressa Bellissimo in 1964), and many would argue that they’ve been often imitated, never duplicated. These wings may not be doused in the world’s spiciest hot sauce, but their wings are consistently juicy, crispy, spicy and served to teeming hordes of hungry masses. Those who make a pilgrimage here never leave unsatisfied (especially after knocking back a few tap Genesee Cream Ales).

#2 J. Timothy’s Taverne (Plainville, Connecticut)

#2 J. Timothy’s Taverne, Plainville, Conn.

Hilary R./Yelp

It’s not the oldest restaurant in the state, but J. Timothy’s is located in a building that’s well over 200 years old. A full menu is served, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a table that doesn’t have a pile of chicken bones on it. Constantly rated the best in the state, J. Timothy’s serves more than 300 tons of wings per year, and invented what’s called the "Dirt Style" wing, which gets a dose of sauce both before and after heading into the deep fryer. It sounds like a recipe for an acrid, burnt-tasting wing, but these guys have mastered the art form. The result is a depth of flavor that just doesn’t exist elsewhere.

#1 Duff’s Famous Wings (Multiple New York Locations)

Duff’s Famous Wings/Yelp

With six locations in upstate New York, Duff’s cements the region’s claim to fame as the home of the best wings in the country. There’s some sort of magic in Duff’s sauce, which is unbelievably flavorful, and even after dousing, the wings stay crispier than you’ll find just about anywhere else, while staying juicy and tender on the inside. Upstate New York has a true claim to one of the most iconic restaurant dishes in America.

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