Buffalo Wing Trail

Choose from more than a dozen restaurants on this self-guided culinary tour in Buffalo, New York, where hungry travelers can sample the city's most famous food export. 

Two men eating wings at Nine-Eleven Tavern bar in Buffalo, New York (photo by Drew Brown)

Never ask for ranch. That’s the only rule to remember on the Buffalo Wing Trail. Buffalo’s culinary scene has blossomed with chef-driven restaurants and multicultural offerings, but the humble chicken wing remains an enduring legacy. The dish was invented here after all.

It’s difficult to imagine now, but chicken wings were once considered unappealing and used only for stock. That perception changed forever in 1964 when Buffalo resident Teressa Bellissimo, owner of Anchor Bar, served up a plate of the now-famous food in her special sauce with a side of blue cheese and some celery.

Anchor Bar is one of 14 restaurants on the self-guided culinary tour and the spot where hungry travelers can taste the original, hot-pepper-butter-sauced dish that started it all. At other stops, sample creative variations such as Glen Park Tavern’s Sicilian wings covered with Parmesan cheese, garlic, basil and oregano. Those looking to stick to more classic styles will like the Painted Wings (each piece is hand-brushed with house-made sauce) available at Bar-Bill Tavern, or the old-school, crispy wings with a splash of Frank’s Red Hot served at Gabriel’s Gate.

It’s not only the tasty wings that are appealing on the Buffalo Wing Trail, but also the chance to explore and get to know the city itself. Sitting on the back patio of the historic Irish tavern Gene McCarthy’s, visitors can catch a view of the grain elevators that once fed the East Coast. The spot’s specialty is the McCarthy’s sauce, in which blue cheese is combined with hot sauce before it’s dumped over juicy, succulent wings. Other sauces include BBQ, Thai Chili and Mandarin Sesame, but just keep in mind: #NeverRanch. For more information about stops on the Buffalo Wing Trail, go to buffalowingtrail.com.