By Jenna Smith:
The Anchor Bar in Buffalo is credited with being the originator of Buffalo wings, which were first whipped up in 1964 by owner Teressa Lenz Bellisimo.
Although there are up to four different versions of their inception, Buffalo wings are popularly known as deep-friend chicken wings drenched in a vinegar-based cayenne pepper sauce. The official Anchor Bar account is that Teressa first served the wings to her son and some hungry friends as an impromptu late night snack. Now a classic meal in the city of Buffalo, their wings have become a common sporting staple across the country, served in heaping amounts alongside blue cheese dressing and celery sticks wherever a game is being played and people have gathered to drink beer, hoot and holler. Indeed, the Anchor Bar cooks up approximately 70 thousand pounds of chicken every month!
I first patronized the Anchor Bar after taking a trip to Buffalo for a business meeting. I had recently seen an episode of Food Wars
on The Travel Channel, which had featured a red hot Buffalo wings contest between the Anchor Bar and its rival Duff's. I figured this was a perfect opportunity for me to render my own verdict, so I logged into YellowPages.com
and brought up the restaurant menus
for both destinations. FYI, this is one of the newer advantages of this online directory service--being able to find the menu of any restaurant anytime anywhere. For people like me, who often decide where they're going to dine at the last minute, this ability is crucial to finding great eats on the run.
What I found is that the Anchor Bar has more great food than just Buffalo wings
. Since we arrived at the restaurant at around 5:30 PM we were having an early dinner. We ordered wings as an appetizer, which I'll describe last for the sake of dramatic tension. For my main entree I got one of the house specialties, the Veal Cacciatore, which was sauteed with onions, mushrooms, green peppers, and marinara sauce. Absolutely delicious. My companions got baby back ribs and portobello mushroom ravioli. We didn't speak once while we ate, so suffice it to say everyone enjoyed their meals.
Now to backtrack prior to the entrees, when we ate the wings as appetizers. All I can say is, it did truly feel as if I were eating something legendary, something that is a part of the identity of an entire city, an entire culture. I inquired as to the luscious sauce, which was spicy but certainly not dangerously so, but was told it's a deeply held family secret. However, I was able to purchase a few bottles of it. Thank God for merchandising.
We didn't make it to Duff's that trip, but there's always next time. I've heard their wings are even spicier than Anchor's! Or I may just hold out and attend this year's National Buffalo Wing Festival
, which serves 555,000 wings annually to 85,000 attendees.