We in Buffalo love our wings, because our ancestors created them, perfected them, blessed them for posterity. We have ancestral Frank’s running through our veins. We love them so much that we’ve found exciting new ways to serve them, and while Frank’s and bleu cheese is timeless and eternal — the combination that will always and forever be in our hearts — sometimes we need something different. If this is you, if you’re feeling the need for a little somethin’ extra, this guide to “New School” wings is for you. We’ve checked out seven locations. Prepare to be delighted by different.
1. Sonny Red’s
1841 Abbott Road, Lackawanna, 14218
Sonny Red’s, the Neapolitan pizza extravaganza that opened this year in Lackawanna, also serves up some excellent wings, but they’re somewhat shrouded in mystery. Here’s what we do know: “Joe’s Jumbo Chicken Wings” ($11.99 for single order, $21.99 for double) signature sauce, which is light and somewhere between mild and medium heat, contains eight ingredients. The wings are perfectly crispy. They’re topped with cilantro and parmesan cheese. They are 100 percent delicious. Anything beyond that is purely conjecture.
185 Main St., East Aurora, 14052
Bar-Bill Tavern in East Aurora is an absolute MUST-GO for wings – we *all* know this. (Their pizza, fries and beef on weck are all pretty bomb, too FYI.) They serve a variety of wing flavors, but we recommend springing for the cajun, which are crispy wings cooked with a flavor-packed dry rub all over their delicious selves. We also hear excellent things about the “Sicilian” wing, which weirdly isn’t listen on the online menu. Maybe they have a secret menu. Either way, we’re on board. Other interesting flavors include “zesty honey pepper” and “honey butter BBQ.” We are hungry typing this. All we can say is YES, YES to the wings.
65 Webster St., North Tonawanda, 14120
It turns out that the Irish not only make killer fish and chip platters, and serve incredible beer, of course, but also pretty much rock at the wings, too. If variety is your jam, Dwyer’s Irish Pub is your place. Want strawberry BBQ wings? Spicy sesame? Wasabi plum? Creole? Raspberry BBQ? You can have it your way at Dwyer’s. All together, there are 25 “premium flavors,” which cost an extra $1.50. Ten wings are $8.99, 15 are $12.99 and 20 are $16.99. Additionally, the wings are served on newspaper, which bring us all the nostalgic feels.
4. Root & Bloom
423 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, 14222
We love our vegan friends, and we don’t want any of them left out on this new school wing adventure. What we love about these wings is not that they showcase any crazy flavors but that, well, they’re not exactly wings, strictly speaking, and yet they’re still awesome-tasting. We’re kind of obsessed with Root & Bloom’s aesthetic and their mission to bring delicious vegan food to Buffalo, and these wings embody that mission perfectly. Their house-made wings ($12), served with celery, come as either “Buffalo & bleu” or “BBQ & ranch.”
8255 Clarence Center Road, East Amherst
You don’t typically think “incredible wings” at an Italian joint, but surprisingly, Falletta’s Restaurant in East Amherst serves some praiseworthy wings amidst all the spaghetti parms. If you go, order their “Jumbo” wings ($11.99 for single, $21.99 for double) tossed in their house poppyseed sauce, a National Wing Festival Winner. We highly recommend it.
6. Hilltop Restaurant & Bar
4206 Lake Avenue, Lockport, 14094
If there’s one way to make any kind of meat better, it’s to smoke it, which makes the flavor permeate every part. The Hilltop Restaurant & Bar offers house rubbed and smoked wings ($7.99 for six, $12.99 for 10), and they’re to-die-for. If fried and slathered in sauce is more your style, they also offer a number of tantalizing sauces: sweet chili, boss, smokey BBQ, raspberry BBQ, golden BBQ, the hot stuff and garlic parmesan. We love a good deal here at Step Out Buffalo, and wings are no exception. The Hilltop offers wings on Wednesdays for 50 cents a piece. OKAY.