Best chicken wings in the country
January 30th, 2012
12:30 PM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

Here are three key chicken wings stats for Super Bowl XLVI on February 5, 2012.

– More than 1.25 billion chicken wings will be eaten on Super Bowl Sunday. It’s the country’s biggest eating day of the year, after Thanksgiving.

– If those wings were laid end to end they would reach one-quarter of the way to the moon; they’d circle the earth more than twice.

– This year’s New York Giants vs New England Patriots match-up means chicken wings consumption will pretty much hold steady. The Mid-Atlantic, which encompasses Giants territory, are 24 percent more likely to eat wings; New Englanders, a.k.a. Patriots fans, are six percent less likely to eat wings than the national average.

Thanks to the National Chicken Council for these amazing statistics.

And here are five key places for chicken wings if you want to be part of the 1.25 billion wing movement.

Wing Stop - Texas-based chain
Troy Aikman is a veteran of three Super Bowls; whether that makes him a wings expert is another question, but he is the number one fan of Wing Stop (as well as their national spokesman). Wing Stop now have 500 locations in 34 states as well as Mexico – all by themselves, they’ve sold a billion wings. Among their 10 wings flavors are Atomic, Cajun, Hickory Smoked BBQ and Teriyaki. The Super Bowl is such a big event that has a countdown clock, down to the seconds leading up to the big game.

Bon Chon - New York City, NY
The cult Korean wings spot (which also boasts a karaoke lounge) features exquisitely crispy fried chicken either sauced with a sweet-pungent soy garlic sauce, or spicy hot. This is one of the few places where both choices are equally awesome, so go for half and half. The chain is now worldwide; besides the U.S., there are Bon Chons in the Philippines, Thailand, Dubai and Singapore. I doubt the Super Bowl is a big deal at Bon Chon, but they do have big screens that invariably play the same Euro disco video over and over so perhaps they can be persuaded to change the channel.

San Tung - San Francisco, CA
Real wings aficionados will know what I’m talking about when I say, dry-fried chicken wings. San Tung is a noisy and crowded Chinese restaurant where you invariably have to wait for a table. It doesn’t have nachos or a 500-inch screen TV. What it does have are dry or wet chicken wings. The dry are battered & deep fried with garlic, ginger and roasted red peppers; wet are battered, fried and sautéed in a spicy sauce of roasted red peppers, mushrooms, carrots & bamboo shoots. Get the dry ones.

The Kettle Black - Brooklyn, NY
This Brooklyn bar, which is plastered with Super Bowl ready TV screens, is a veritable United Nations of buffalo wing flavors. Their 14 options include Grampy Del's (Canadian Maple Syrup and Honey), Grampa Nunzio's (Buttery Garlic and Parmesan) and Luau (chunks of Pineapple in Plum BBQ Sauce) although why you’re fooling around with anything other than the Buffalo City (their version of the original recipe) I don’t know. This is a good place to make a dent in the one billion-plus wing statistic: you can order 100 wings here, for $73.95.

Anchor Bar - Buffalo, NY
The place that claims to have invented Buffalo wings, back in 1964. For anyone outside the Buffalo area, be aware of their ‘Wings That Fly’ package. Anchor will ship their wings anywhere in the US, in quantities from 50 to 250 wings; shipping is free. If you’re more of a Do-It-Yourself-Up-To-A-Certain-Point person, you can order Anchor bar sauces online, and make the wings yourself. But plan ahead; there’s no Super Bowl Sunday delivery.

More from Food & Wine:

50 Best Bars in America

Chicken Wing Recipes

Best Pizza Places in the U.S.

Best Fried Chicken in the U.S.

Super Bowl Recipes

Be sure to wash down all those wings with Patriots and Giants-specific beers.

© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.

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Filed under: Bite • Content Partner • Food and Wine • Restaurants • Super Bowl • Tailgating

soundoff (327 Responses)
  1. gaptherockstar

    There is this place in MPLS called Art Songs, I live in Austin, TX and eat wings at Pluckers all the time, but i miss Art Songs. Breaded crispy served over steamed rice with something like lowerys sprinkled over the rice. Like five sauces to choose from and dip in. They are fantastic.

    February 12, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  2. Kristina

    Just the mere fact that Anchor Bar is on the list for best wings goes to show these people don't know good wings at all. It is only where the tourists go and their wings pretty much suck. There are so many great little corner bars in Buffalo (South Buffalo especially) that are the best. Sorry, but I don't think a chain that Troy boy reps could come close to any of the great places in Buffalo. Been all around the country and never had a better chicken wing, not Buffalo wing, than the ones in Buffalo. Buffalo knows how to make them the best. PERIOD....

    February 12, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • Joel

      Haha, tourists in Buffalo.

      February 1, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  3. JF

    Buffalonian's LOVE Duff's wings, La Nova bbq wings and the Anchor Bar. All excellent in their own right...

    February 6, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  4. Michael P.

    I like my wings extra crispy, and therefor I need lots of sauce so they're not too dry, and the best sauce and overall wing I've tried so far, I found in a very unexpected place, in a Mexican Restaurant in Cornwall, NY, the place is Avocado Restaurant in what they call a honey chipotle and mustard bbq sauce and I go there just for the wings some times lol, plus what better way to wash 'em down than with a Margarita.

    February 5, 2012 at 1:35 am |
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    February 5, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • RC

      WAY off topic, but I'll bite. What the hell's an alfredia?

      October 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
  6. josh

    Well... BOBO's Chicken in Oklahoma City!!! It's a food cart near the ghetto (normally there's a cop hanging around) ONLY open on Friday and Saturday nights, BUT every time I go through OK I stop there for their wings, which is pretty much all they make
    THEN – They Deep Fry Them
    NEXT- They lightly coat them with Cayenne (I think) pepper spice
    LAST – They dump 2 to 3 cups of HONEY on them!!!!

    They are about the best guilty pleasure I know of and I know two any-other-time-vegetarians who will even conceded a bite of these things once every other year or so. They're THAT good.

    February 4, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  7. parkslopey

    BTW for the "Super Bowl" we are having placenta chips. DEE lish!!!!!!!

    February 4, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  8. parkslopey

    Myself and my one month old non gender decided child do not eat "buffalo Wings" . we are VEGANS and are superior to all of you!

    February 4, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • cbs

      Except for your grammar & poor usage of capitalization.

      February 4, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
      • @cbs

        ed zachary

        February 4, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  9. josh

    PS- The Chicken or the Egg is also good, and has more variety, great sauces etc, but the way they make their wings doesn't compare. Get BOBO's and make your own sauce.

    February 3, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  10. Winger

    Glad to see it already mentioned, but The Chicken or the Egg on Long Beach Island in Beach Haven, NJ will take any other wing place to the woodshed. Biggest wings you'll ever see, delicious breading (or go naked), and 14 sauces, including the almighty Ludicrous Challenge, featured on Man vs. Food a couple years back.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:25 am |
  11. Calidip

    Deep fried buffulo wings are so simple to make! Why would anyone go out to buy them is beyond me.

    February 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  12. Scott Wallace

    Frankie's Wings & Things
    Melbourne, FL

    February 1, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  13. RoosterBooster

    Toppers Bar and Grill in Montevideo, Minnesota. Pure gold!

    January 31, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  14. Beebster

    Congratulations Kettle One. Kettle One is one of the best bars in the country too!

    January 31, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  15. sammy

    If your in Baltimore... The best wings Ive tried are in the Northeast market. Its a very sketchy part of town. But if you go the mexican/fusion place where they sell burritos and asian takeout youll see some asian mildly spicy wings. Really well done with an orange glaze. Not too sweet, more on the oily side.

    January 31, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  16. Josh

    My only gripe is what people NOW consider 'buffalo wings'. True buffalo wings aren't ORANGE or vinegary. Who ever invented that crap and called it buffalo should be shot.

    January 31, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  17. TEXASgal

    YEAHHH!!! Wing Stop is the BEST!!!!!!!

    January 31, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  18. Loopman

    I have to give a shout out to a small local wing place in Bowling Green, Ohio named Frickers. Has every degree of hotness from wimpy all the way up to nuclear. I personally never was ever able to get past the 5-Alarm level. Takes plenty of cold beer to wash them down and if you eat too many, it helps to have some rolaids on hand, just in case.

    January 31, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Texan

      I will have to agree with you on Frickers!! DELICIOUS SAUCE, i have only had the Nuclear though and its crazy hot!!

      February 6, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  19. ZB

    We are willing to drive 4 hours each way for the wings at Slows in Detroit. They are smoked to fall-off-the-bone perfection!

    January 31, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  20. JB

    It's sad to think that all the hometown fans who are crying out Duffs (which does make a great wing) have never been to the best wing place in Buffalo: Sal's in Depew. It's like the step up from Buffalo Wings. Huge, crunchy, unbelievable...

    January 31, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Bill Hoffman

      Right on! Western New York has GREAT wing places all over other than the Anchor. Bless them for inventing it....but there are others out there that make em better. I am from Niagara Falls btw....

      February 1, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  21. Don

    Fairport Village Inn, Fairport NY

    January 31, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  22. Jim

    Predictable, another poorly researched list. A 'Texas-based chain', three restaurants in New York, and one in California. In a country of over 300 million people with 50 states across thousands of miles, this is the best the writer could muster. Pathetic.

    January 31, 2012 at 6:26 am |
    • Huh?

      Agreed. I would go to a Buffalo Wild Wings before going to a Wing Stop. To me, no comparison.

      January 31, 2012 at 8:51 am |
  23. Billy WIng Bop

    I still never have understood how you get wings off a buffalo. Either way does anyone find the statistic that states if you placed the wings eaten on Super Bowl Sunday would stretch around the planet Earth twice like really the coolest thing you have ever read. Don't just read...imagine that. That is awesome. Me love me some meat. Mmmmm....

    January 31, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • Billy WIng Bop

      By the way bonus points for anyone who does the math with an average wing of 2 inches at 1.25 billion served on this holy day in comparison to the earth's circumference in miles. Math is cool.

      January 31, 2012 at 1:50 am |
      • Paul

        Math is not cool. It might be interesting to some, or complex (although you're version of it doesn't seem to fit that category) but it definitely isn't cool. But your reference to super bowl day as a "holy day" illustrates just how stupid America has become. Not that I don't like the super bowl, but I wish they would just play the game and not bombard us with myriad inane stories and hype such as this one about how many times the wings eaten on super bowl day would stretch around the planet.

        January 31, 2012 at 8:53 am |
      • Huh?

        Actually, 2 inches is way too small. More like 3 inches. That would give a line 59,185 miles.

        January 31, 2012 at 8:54 am |
  24. Steel City Wing Vet

    Top 3 in the US:
    1. Lendys – Virginia Beach, VA
    2. Sidelines Bar and Grill – Millvale, PA
    3. Coopers Ale House – Seattle, WA

    January 31, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • JB

      I have to agree. Lendy's in Virginia Beach are the best I have had. After traveling coast to coast and trying wings everywhere, there are none better than Lendy's. Moved to Florida a few years ago and to this day still get my sauces from Lendy's. Not thrilled with the chains for wings, but Hooter's at the Beach in Panama City Beach makes about the best ones here. IMHO.

      January 31, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  25. ALL THINGS WINGS - The Wing Review

    About an hour southwest of Pittsburgh, PA...on a rural hilltop road just outside of Wellsburg, West will Drover's Inn. The best wings from anywhere I've ever been.

    January 31, 2012 at 12:05 am |
  26. Kshare

    St. Angelos in Niagara Falls use to have the best wings in the late 90's. Right next to Niagara University campus

    January 30, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  27. fishman

    Fried Fish Scales: the next big thing

    January 30, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  28. JERRY K



    EXCELLENT ! ! ! ! ! !

    January 30, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  29. Al Russell

    I've ever had wings better than Chuck U Chicken in College Park, MD. Something about the sauce is different than anywhere else. They have the perfect blend of spicy, salty and sweet all mixed together. Plus, their wings are nice and plump.

    January 30, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  30. Andrij

    Best wings on the Jersey Shore, Caffreys Tavern, Forked River New Jersey. Plump and juicy covered in a saute that dosen't overwhelm the taste of the wing.

    January 30, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  31. move1

    A lot of wing places do the same to there wings as everyone else..fry them and sauce them which is nothing special.. the best wings to me are smoked wings with a crispy skin

    January 30, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  32. average citizen

    hooters once had great wings- NOT no more, they must of changed the cooking oil, they are now very greasy

    January 30, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Likin' Q.S.

      With respect, I disagree. Hooters has never had good wings. The first time I had them, I picked up the first one and the grease was dripping off it. n.a.s.t.y. I tried them a few times after that and they never got better.

      January 31, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • Likin' Q.S.

      With respect, I disagree. H00ters has never had good wings. The first time I had them, I picked up the first one and the grease was dripping off it. n.a.s.t.y. I tried them a few times after that and they never got better.

      January 31, 2012 at 7:54 am |
  33. Sandra LeVin

    The best wings are the ones left on a chicken.

    January 30, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Jeff

      You prefer to eat them alive and unseasoned? Wow, that's PRIMAL! How do you keep the chicken from scratching and pecking your eyes out while you bite down on the wing? Do you bite the head off first?

      January 30, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
      • Bob

        There's a place in Southeast Ohio that delivers fresh-butchered chicken parts to their customers every morning. The other restaurants use stuff that was shipped in frozen. It doesn't take long to figure out which restaurants use them and which don't.

        January 30, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Wayne

      Kind of like the best part of you was left in a condem?

      January 30, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Al

      I agree!

      January 31, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Likin' Q.S.

      LOL!! Sign me up for the remedial reading course! I thought Sandy was making a joke about the best wings on the chicken were the ones on the left side of the chicken! HA! Way funnier than what s/he actually said!

      Now what were we talking about?

      January 31, 2012 at 7:50 am |
  34. Kevin

    Great wings can be found at most bars in restaurants in WNY. For something different, try the Amherst Ale House's Crown Royal BBQ wings.

    January 30, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  35. GSA

    Near Dayton or Cincinnati Ohio? Definitely, without a doubt ... Rooster's.

    January 30, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Carlos

      I prefer Fricker's in Middletown.

      January 31, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  36. Laura

    Wings N Weenies, Sarasota, FL

    January 30, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  37. Josh

    Wings-n-things in Anchorage, Alaska has the best double-fried crispy wings out there. Mild to nuclear. Pair it with a turkey sub on homemade bread.

    January 30, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Real

      Absolutely Josh! Wings-n-Things!

      February 7, 2014 at 7:06 pm |
  38. rngrfan

    I travel to Buffalo from 300 miles away for Duff's, there is nothing better, end of discussion!

    January 30, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Pooch

      I'll second that.

      January 30, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
      • Buffalo Proud


        January 31, 2012 at 7:12 am |
    • JB

      Then you haven't been to Sal's in Depew. The best wing place no one knows about...

      January 31, 2012 at 9:01 am |
      • Phoenix

        If they were that good, we would have heard of them!
        French Pub (Depew), Duff's, Nickel Creek Cafe (Depew), Coles (Buffalo) and tons of other local bars are all WAY better then Anchor Bar.

        February 3, 2012 at 9:09 am |
  39. Denvercherub

    Wingman in Denver is the best around!

    January 30, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Denvercherub

      Also wtf... Wingstop. over priced garbage. Never go there

      January 30, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
      • Jeff

        If I ranked the top 10 places in Santa Maria, CA for wings, Wingstop wouldn't even make the list. I really don't get those guys. They have a formula for success and the resources to kick wing butt, yet their wings are CRAP compared to the wings I can get elsewhere at a lower price. I'd sooner give up wings altogether before I'd frequent their shop. And I'm saying this after spending over $100 at Wingstop trying their wings again and again before I finally gave up and decided they're CRAP.

        January 30, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Blockyanderson

      Been going to Wingman in Northglenn since 1982!!

      January 30, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
      • a fan

        Pizza Perfect in Trucksville, PA since 1975!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        January 31, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  40. OURex

    Wings To Go wings are awesome, fresh wings, amazing sauces. Been to a few in Philly and the one in Dewey Beach, DE. Better than WingStop and BW3 frozen crap. WS is probably only on the list because Troy Aikman is their pitchman/investor.

    January 30, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  41. TD

    Lived in Buffalo 37 of my 43 years and I remember well when Raintree Island served up 5 cent wings and a pitcher of draft beer for $3.50.

    Right now, Duff's has the best wings in the area provided you eat them there and not take out. When they're served in the wood salad bowls with all that extra sauce in the bottom... you can't get that with takeout.

    I'm also a fan of Pane's BBQ wings. I love the char broiled flavor of the sauce they use.

    One other thing – why the hell doesn't Buffalo get more credit for its pizza? I'll take some of the local 'za over any of the pizza I had the tri-state area for the 6 years I lived out there. Pepe's is good – no doubt, but a perfectly prepared Bocce Club is no match.

    January 30, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  42. LostCause

    Winghouse @ Tampa ! naked and blackened with mild sauce on the side (add hot sauce to taste)

    January 30, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
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