By Joshua Maloni
Who has “WNY’s Best Chicken Wings”?
That was the question we posed to football fans throughout the season as they rooted for the Buffalo Josh Allens. Nominees could include restaurants, bars and social clubs – and each had fan support. But in the end, only one wing could be king.
Readers chose Duff’s Famous Wings (Sheridan Drive location). They offered kudos for its toppings and sauces.
Some of the comments included:
“Wings are large, meaty and crispy style. Perfect Buffalo flavor sauce served by a great, friendly staff.”
“They are crispy and flavorful.”
“The tastiest wings you will ever have.”
“They are huge.”
“Cannot wait to go back again!”
Manager Jeff Feather said Duff’s deliciousness lies in its details.
“A lot of it is our sorting process,” he explained. “We have guys who their job for the day is to go through boxes of chicken wings and hand-sort them, and get ones out that we don't deem to be quality enough for us. I think that's a big reason. And just our general cooking process and, obviously, our sauce is great.”
While the past two years have been particularly challenging for every restaurant, bar and social club, those serving chicken wings also had to deal with supply problems.
“It's definitely been tough,” Feather said. “It was toughest when there was a shortage and we would order 40 cases, say, and we'd get 20 of them. But now supply’s there; the price is still high.
“Unfortunately, we held back on raising our prices as long as we could, but we did have to do that. So, as it affects us, unfortunately it also goes on to affect the consumer. But we're sticking with our process. It’s the same. Getting rid of just as many wings as we always have. And we're not using a lower-quality product.”
Readers said Duff’s serves the best wings. Feather said Duff’s has the best patrons.
“They're loyal,” he said. “I mean, throughout the pandemic, they've definitely helped us. It's been great. “During the takeout-only era – right at the beginning of the shutdown – on Friday and Saturday nights we would have two- to three-hour waits to get takeout orders. People were waiting every minute of it, and happy to do so. It was great to see.”
Duff’s famously serves a sliding scale of flavors, ranging from mild to medium (which is hot), medium hot (very hot) to hot (very, very hot), all the way to “Death Sauce.” Other choices include barbecue and spicy barbecue. The restaurant has T-shirts defining the options.
“I like medium light,” Feather said. “Occasionally if I want a little spice, I'll have up to the super-hot. But medium light, to me, has the best combination of having heat there, while also having a really good flavor to it.”
The winning Duff’s is located at 3651 Sheridan Drive, Amherst. Call 716-834-6234 or visit www.duffswings.com. Other local Duff’s locations can be found in Niagara Falls, Williamsville, Orchard Park and Depew. The chain also has locations in Texas and Canada.
About the Entries
More than 40 establishments received reader votes.
Finishing in second place is Sawyer Creek Hotel, located at 3264 Niagara Falls Blvd. (corner of Nash Road), North Tonawanda. It boasts “awesome wings” that “taste great, sauce is awesome, perfectly crisp!” There’s “excellent wing sauce and always perfectly fried.”
Third place belongs to Judi’s Lounge Bar & Grill, at 2057 Military Road, Niagara Falls. Wings here are “Big, thick and juicy.” “The sauce is delicious ... always cooked perfect!” “Their hot wings have amazing flavor.”
Rounding out the top 5 is Mallwitz’s Island Lanes on Grand Island, Lewiston’s Apple Granny and Old Greenwalls in Niagara Falls (tie).
Want to see your favorite eatery take the top spot? Make sure you vote in our food contests – and you can enter to win prizes, too. Visit www.wnypapers.com to learn more.
•Congratulations to contest voters Helen Schimschack and Raymond Jackson, who each won a pair of gift certificates in our “WNY’s Best Chicken Wings” contest.