The history of the chicken wing

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Ahhhh the chicken wing. Saucy goodness in all its Buffalo glory. It’s hard to imagine the queen city without them in fact, but there was a time before the wing was made famous. We have the Anchor Bar to thank for that.

Mark Dempsey, Vice President of the Anchor Bar Franchise told News 4, “The idea came about one night at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo. Dominic was tending bar, that’s Frank the owners son, and his friends came in, and typically they’d come in after a night on the town. They were looking for something a little bit different then the Italian cuisine that the Anchor Bar used to serve.”

From there, Dominic’s mother got creative. Dempsey shared, “She went back in the kitchen, found these big huge meaty chicken wings that she was going to use for chicken stock the next day. She said you know what these could probably make a meal in itself.”

She covered the fried master pieces in her secret sauce and the rest was history. Dempsey said, “At first the guys were like, what are these, but after they started getting into them, they wanted more immediately so that’s how it got started.”

From there the Anchor Bar added wings to their menu and it was quick to take off among locals. Dempsey said, “After a few years it started expanding to other restaurants in Buffalo and by the early 70s it was pretty much everywhere in WNY.”

And why stop at Western New York? The chicken wing has no limits and has become famous all around the country.

Andy LiButti, owner of Booty’s Wings, Burgers, and Beer told News 4, “It’s pretty popular out there. Wings have exploded out there.”

LiButti is talking about Arizona. After growing up in Rochester, NY, he took his love for wings all the way to the west coast. But he decided to kick it up a bit. His restaurant offers 40 flavors of wings! He said, “I get bored easy don’t sleep a lot so I get up in the morning, go into the kitchen and literally try and create something crazy.” The craziest one he has, a chipotle bacon alfredo sauce!

If you want to try out these wings, plus many more the National Buffalo Wing Festival continues Sunday. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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