50th anniversary of the chicken wing

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A staple in Buffalo turned 50-years-old on Thursday – the chicken wing.

March 6 has officially been proclaimed as “Chicken Wing Day” by New York State. The milestone is being celebrated at the restaurant credited with inventing the dish a half century ago.

“This is the Mecca, this is the museum, this is where it all started,” said Mark Dempsey, vice president of sales and marketing at the Anchor Bar.

50 years ago, Anchor Bar owner Teressa Bellissimo made her son Dominic and his friends a late night snack with some extra chicken wings she had in the restaurant’s fridge.

“She decided to deep fry them and put a special sauce on them and voila the Buffalo wing was born,” Dempsey said.

They were an instant hit.

“The guys didn’t really know what they were looking at but once they got into it, they really liked it,” Dempsey said.

The first chicken wing was served up on a Friday night on March 6, 1964. It wasn’t actually until a couple years later that it made its way onto the menu.

Today the Anchor Bar serves up more than 70,000 pounds of chicken wings each month. Ivano Toscani worked for owners Frank and Teressa until they passed away in the early 80s.

“She didn’t know what she created, really she didn’t know,” said Toscani.

The chicken wing really gained popularity a few years later. In the mid 90s Toscani became general manager.

“Everything remains the same,” he said.

So on the 50th anniversary, it seems only logical to roll up your sleeves and get a little sauce on your lips at the Anchor Bar.

“To pay homage to the birthplace of the Buffalo wing,” said customer Bruce Johnston.

Around Buffalo they’re just chicken wings. Johnston would do anything try the original.

“It was nine hours to get here. We drove nine hours,” he said.

Traveling from Delaware, he brought along his dad and brother. Their expectations are high.

“The best wing in the world, absolutely,” said Johnston.

So after their wings were devoured what were their final thoughts?

“They were plenty good. They were meaty, the flavor was well done, I really enjoyed it,” said Scott Johnston.

“Oh my god, absolutely delicious. They were cooked perfect, the sauce was just right. Chowed down. We had 50 of them,” said Bruce Johnston.

The Anchor Bar is hosting a private party to celebrate from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday evening. The rest of the restaurant will remain open to the public.

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