The Best Chicken Wings in the Country Started Out of a Knights of Columbus in Buffalo

We're drooling just thinking about it.

Buffalo, New York

Denis Tangney Jr. / Getty Images

I should start by saying that I consider myself something of a chicken wing aficionado. I grew up in Buffalo and have made it my mission to try chicken wings across the country whenever I travel. And, though Alton Brown may beg to differ, I am here to tell you the best chicken wings, understandably, come from Buffalo.

After all, they were invented here in New York’s second-largest city in the 1960s, so there’s an abundance of great restaurants serving this savory bar snack. But, finding the right wing that balances spice, a crispy exterior, size, a moist interior, and a sauce that adheres to the wing is more complicated than you might expect. But that’s where Wingnutz comes in.

Buffalo wings

Sean Flynn

Operated by husband and wife duo Ed and Alicia Wrazen, Wingnutz has been serving expertly crafted wings since 2018 out of a Knights of Columbus in North Buffalo. Yes, it offers the traditional Buffalo sauces one expects — mild, medium, hot, and honey garlic. However, the restaurant is beloved for its specialty sauces. The Wingnutz mild is sweet with a touch of tang, Wingnutz medium starts out sweet and finishes with heat, and the Wingnutz hot brings it all the way up to 11.

The restaurant has developed somewhat of a cult following, aided by the fact that, up until recently, it only served wings out of its location at the Knights of Columbus, and orders had to be placed in advance through Facebook Messenger. While the restaurant's phone number was listed, Ed and Alicia preferred to keep things simple. For years, those looking to either make a reservation or place an order had to send a message on social media and wait for the okay from the Wingnutz team to pick it up. And, once they were sold out for the day, that was it.

Buffalo wings

Sean Flynn

Thankfully, the restaurant has expanded to include two locations, one for dining in and take-out, and one for take-out only. So getting your hands on these illustrious wings is a bit more achievable.

What separates Wingnutz wings from others is the attention to detail. The size of its wings is roughly twice that of most places in the city, and it makes all of the sauces in-house. Those sauces were created to cling to the wing rather than pool at the bottom of your plate and offer a tremendous punch of flavor. The team pays particular attention to the crunch, ensuring that the sauce coats the wing but doesn't impact its texture.

And that personal touch doesn't stop with wings. The crew also makes its own blue cheese with a touch of Chardonnay that adds a nice zing you won't find anywhere else. Alicia even whips up seasonal desserts, like strawberry shortcake, that you need to leave room for — or at least plan for a takeaway bag.

So while it's inevitable that those traveling to the Queen City will make the rounds on the Buffalo Chicken Wing trail, they'd be doing themselves an injustice skipping this place. Just be sure to come with an appetite, and maybe wear a shirt you don't mind getting dirty.

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