The day Buffalo grew wings

WEIRD. Since when did buffalos have wings? It’s chicken for heaven’s sake!

No Buffalo, just chicken

Silly me. If there is one thing traveling does best to me, it is educating me in more ways that I can fathom. Take for example this famous finger-licking specialty that is just about in every watering hole’s menu — the Buffalo Wings. It’s the deep-fried chicken wings, unbreaded and coated in a sauce of vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce and butter, served hot with celery sticks sidings and blue cheese dip. How it got its name evades me. Not until I made it to Buffalo in Upstate New York.

Buffalo wings was born in Buffalo. Oh dear, I have painted the bison with chicken wings in my mind. It’s pretty much like Key Lime Pie, which originated in the Florida Keys, the sinister-sounding decadent dessert, Black Forest Cake, which was named after the wooded mountain range in Germany, etc. Sorry, I just eat them but never really knew how their names came about until I came across the information regarding the food’s history.

Anchor Bar, said to be where Buffalo grew wings.

So how did Buffalo sprout wings? There are several different stories about how Buffalo wings came about but one joint’s story seem to be the most related, that of Anchor Bar’s.

Its version of the story is that it was first prepared by at the Anchor Bar by Teressa Bellissimo, who owned the bar along with her husband Frank. On a late night, their son arrive unannounced with a group of college friends and Teressa needed a to whip up a fast and easy snack for her guests. She came up with the idea of frying chicken wings, which was normally thrown away or kept for stock, and tossing them in cayenne hot sauce.

Teressa had deep fried the wings and flavored them with a secret sauce. The wings were an instant hit and it didn’t take long for people to flock to the bar to experience this new taste sensation. From that evening on, Buffalo Wings became a regular part of the menu at the Anchor Bar.

No, this is not Teressa Bellissimo.

This is Teressa… or a statue in her honor.

And the story of “the wings”.

The phenomenon created in 1964 by Teressa Bellissimo has spread across the globe. Although many have tried to duplicate Buffalo Wings, the closely guarded secret recipe is what makes Frank & Teressa’s the proclaimed “Best Wings in the World.”

This is a classic case of “necessity is indeed the mother of invention.” Fortunately, it’s one of those creations that achieved global stardom. Funny thing about the Buffalo wings is it may have been created in Buffalo but the locals generally refer to them as “wings” or “chicken wings” rather than “Buffalo wings.”

Whatever you call it was the farthest thing from my mind when I was feasting on a king’s platter of these spicy goodies at its birthplace, Anchor Bar along Main Street in Buffalo (the bar’s vibe is like the local neighborhood bar where everyone gathers to dine or hang out. It’s amazingly filled with antique curios- four walls to the ceiling!).

The bar area

The dining hall
Plates on the wall…

…cycles at the ceiling.
“Hello. I want to order some wings, please?”… The phone actually works.


Along with friends, we tried the bar’s bestsellers—the Buffalo wings, of course, medium spice (there is a suicidal option of spice level), the Pepperoni Pizza, deep-fried and breaded stuffed hot pepper, the Spaghetti with homemade meat sauce—all in large sizes.

The Buffalo wingers

And what we ordered to go with the chicken wings…

Large Peperoni Pizza…

Large Spaghetti with homemade meat sauce…
And the large deep-fried and breaded stuffed hot pepper.

I exited the famous Anchor Bar stuffed and enlightened toting a box of extra order of Buffalo wings just in case hunger strikes in the middle of the night in the good ol’ city of Buffalo (yeah, that’s a lame excuse to mask gluttony. What can I do, I fell in love with the dish).

Now, can anyone tell me how one of my all-time Pinoy favorite snack Spanish Bread’s name came about?

For more travel & lifestyle stories, visit http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/ and http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 13, 2013.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 + six =