With Buffalo, N.Y., being the place of origin for the Buffalo wing, it’s only fitting that its tourism board has cooked up a way to explore — and eat — more of this pub grub staple.
Set to launch in the spring of 2018, Visit Buffalo Niagara is dishing out what’s known as the “Buffalo Wing Trail,” with a menu itinerary of 12 restaurants having their respective ties to and takes on Buffalo wings.
“We’re very fortunate to have a very iconic item that’s on so many restaurant menus,” said Patrick Kaler, president and CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara. While Buffalo is commonly known as the birthplace of this saucy poultry dish, Kaler said what prompted the start of a trail for this finger food is a growing taste for culinary tourism and food tours.
During the fall and winter of 2017, Visit Buffalo Niagara began developing the Buffalo Wing Trail by seeking input from locals via social media on their favorite wing joints throughout the city of Buffalo and Erie County.
Then the next step was to do some field research, so to speak. Kaler’s staff and noted “wing experts” went to many suggested restaurants and taverns to sample their wings. In putting together wing criteria and going through trial and tastings, the group effort led to a list of finalists, biting it down to 12.
As Buffalo wings are front and center of this trail, the 12 featured restaurants for getting them also have their own respective places on the map. “We were looking for places that have interesting stories to go along with their great wings,” said Kaler.
And the trail goes beyond them too. To promote an overall local experience within this New York state region, it’s hoped that people who go along the trail also will also visit culinary and non-culinary attractions near these food stops.
While most of the selected locations will remain a surprise until the tour’s official launch in mid-April, it’s a given that The Anchor Bar — credited as the birthplace of Buffalo wings — will be one of the stops. The story goes that in 1964, when the hungry friends of Dominic Bellissimo, who was tending bar at The Anchor Bar at the time, came in here looking for a late-night snack. Dominic’s mother — owner Teressa Bellissimo — took the chicken wings originally intended for a soup she was making, fried them, tossed them in hot sauce and served them.
Besides the traditional style, other eateries on the trail will have their unique recipe versions such as a blue cheese wing.
“Buffalo wings come in many flavors and tastes; you’re not going to get the same flavor of wings at all of these stops,” said Kaler. “You won’t get tired of eating wings at all of these tops.”