While reading the book, ‘Buffalo: Lake City in Niagara Land’ (image credits – published in 1981), I came across this interesting tidbit on the subject of the Buffalo chicken wing. The story goes, that a delivery driver confused an order when dropping off a shipment of chicken parts to the Anchor Bar. Instead of refusing the order, Teressa Bellissimo prepared the wings by throwing them into a deep fryer and served them up as appetizers at the bar. She served the wings along with blue cheese and celery and thus the chicken wing was born. But wait… there was no mention of hot sauce to go along with that original recipe.
That’s where John Young (top image) comes in. John Young was the owner of Wings ‘n’ Things right here in Buffalo (on Jefferson). He eventually laid claim to the title of ‘King of the Wings’ for coming up with his famous hot and spicy ‘mambo’ sauce. There was not much more information other than John crediting himself with ‘revolutionizing the chicken wing’, and if that is true, then I think we owe the man some credit… if what he claims is true. And at this point, it would be hard to say, one way or the other, who put the first chicken wing on the map. Teressa Bellissimo came up with her own version, of course, but over the years there has been some disputing the chicken wing claim to fame.
If anyone else has any information substantiating or disproving John Young’s claim, let’s hear it. Otherwise, I’d say that the least we could do is say thanks for helping to put our city on the culinary map. And just check out the cool post card (at least that’s what it looks like) that promoted his claim to fame.