How Buffalo Wings Got Their Name


It is a well-known fact that many people would place Buffalo wings at the top of their list of favorite foods. Due to their popularity, you can get these almost anywhere. On the other hand, if you enjoy cooking, you have probably perfected the recipe.

But did you ever wonder why they are called Buffalo wings? To answer this, we spoke to the chicken wing experts at Flippin’ Wings in Clayton North Carolina and got the inside scoop on how it all originated.

Where did it all begin?


As you can assume from the name, the history of this dish originates in Buffalo, New York. Naturally, there are several stories on how it was initially created, and we will introduce you to these, but the Bellissimo family is at the center of each of them. Back in 1939, Theresa and Frank Bellissimo bought a bar called Anchor Bar in Buffalo. However, our story doesn’t be until 1964.

Now, according to one version of the story, late on a Friday night, Theresa and Frank’s son Dominic showed up at their restaurant with a group of college friends. Therese decided to cook something quick and easy for them since they praised her excellent cooking skills. So, she prepared the wings in the fryer, dipped them in hot sauce, and that was it. However, Dominic had a slightly different story to tell. According to him, one Friday night, the place was packed with Catholic customers, and they decided to serve them a simple meal at midnight that included meat. Here is a little backstory. During that time, Catholics mainly ate veggies and fish on Fridays, so as midnight approached, Bellissimo’s wanted to offer something different to their customers.

These are two versions of the same story. Nevertheless, there is an entirely different one. In 1980, Frank Bellissimo told the “New York” that there was a mix-up with meat shipment. Long story short, they received more chicken wings than they had ordered. They knew they wouldn’t sell all of them, so they had two options. Either they were going to find a way to use them, or they would go to waste. Surely you agree with us when we say that luckily Theresa decided to go with a former option, and she began experimenting with meat, sauces, and spices until the Buffalo wings were created. What’s more, in 1977, Stan Makowski decided that July 29th was to be the National Chicken Wings Day, and he mentioned Bellissimo’s to be the creators, even though he didn’t offer any facts or explanations.

It gets interesting


Since Theresa has no living relatives to confirm or deny the above-discussed stories, we will never know exactly what happened. However, things do get a bit more interesting. “The Courier Express” published a detailed article on the Anchor Bar in 1969. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a single mention of the restaurant’s signature dish.

Then, the owner of “Wings n’ Things,” John Young, claimed that he was the one who actually invented the Buffalo wings. Yes, the dish was served in his restaurant in the mid-60s. Nevertheless, it was exactly the same dish. The main difference between his and the Bellissimo’s family wings was that they were cut in half in the Anchor bar to make it easier for people to eat them without making a big mess. At a certain point, the poultry distributor said that both restaurants started placing significantly large orders of chicken wings in the 1960s, but naturally, he thought nothing of it. Had he known the creator of the dish would still be a mystery decades later, he would surely try to maintain some records about the matter. Nevertheless, Theresa Bellissimo is believed to be the person behind the dish due to the technique used to cut the meat and serve the meal.

What’s the role of blue cheese and celery?

Now, this is another mystery that remains unsolved, but here is what we have learned about it. Finding the answer to this question is even more challenging than finding the information regarding the origin of the dish itself. The bottom line is that we will never know.

Maybe celery and blue cheese dip were everything Theresa had in the fridge that Friday night. Perhaps she just wanted her son to eat some healthy veggies, as all mothers do. There really are no facts to support any of these theories, but the truth is that wherever you go, and order Buffalo wings, celery and blue cheese will be served as a side dish.

Some nutritionists say that celery is the perfect choice due to its crunchy texture and the fact that it is digested easily, meaning that it balances the entire meal. In addition, the blue cheese dip is a great way to cool down one’s tongue after eating wings covered in hot sauce. There is also the matter of aesthetics. People are more likely to enjoy a meal if it is presented to them in an appealing manner. The combination of chicken wings, celery, and blue cheese does exactly that. Finally, some people observe the celery as a utensil to finish their dip. It is why these two are commonly served together.

Wrapping up

To sum these, these are some of the most interesting facts we were able to uncover regarding the Buffalo wings and the dish’s history. Whatever the truth may be, we can all agree that these grew in popularity during the 1990s thanks to Buffalo Bills and American football.

In the early 90s, the team participated in Super Bowl four years in a row, and as it usually happens, the media wanted to learn about their background and the region itself. They started investigating Buffalo, and naturally, soon discovered the Buffalo wings. That is all that it took. Ever since then, it became a tradition to enjoy this meal while watching Super Bowl games. As you know, nothing has changed and this traditional still remains.