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Anchor Bar (Buffalo)

September 19, 2021

  • 1047 Main Street
  • Buffalo, NY 14209
  • (716) 883-1134
  • Website
  • Menu

Our trip to Upstate New York was really quick. We drove in on Tuesday, worked a little bit, checked out the National Baseball Hall of Fame, worked all day Wednesday, then drove home Thursday.

I had a lot I wanted to pack in this trip even though we had a couple of long work days. I accomplished one of those things on Tuesday with a quick run through the Baseball Hall of Fame. The other major goal was to find the place that invented the chicken wing.

Buffalo wings are (hopefully) obviously named after the City of Buffalo. We were passing through Buffalo on our way to and from Utica where we were staying. We didn’t have time on the way there to stop but we had really no place to hurry to on our way home.

We stopped at a Service Center about an hour and a half from Buffalo to use the bathroom. Co-worker asked if I wanted Tim Horton’s. I said no, I was planning on stopping in Buffalo for lunch. We hadn’t had time to sit down and have an actual meal on the company dime so he thought that sounded like a good idea.

We have a couple of co-workers that worked in Buffalo for a few years so my co-worker sent them a text asking for lunch recommendations. He didn’t realize that I already had plans. Our Buffalo source basically told us one thing. “Anywhere but the Anchor Bar.”

Ha. That was my plan on all along. We were going to the Original Anchor Bar.

Buffalo wings were invented at the Anchor Bar in downtown Buffalo on the corner of Main and North Street. The story goes Teressa Bellissimo threw the wing parts, usually reserved for soup back in those days, in to the deep fryer and coated them in a “secret sauce” for her son’s friends back in 1964. The wings took off and almost 50 years, we’re eating millions of pounds of wings every year. The building has expanded quite a bit since that day in 1964 but if you pick this Anchor Bar location, you’re walking in to the original.

I started looking for street parking since this is downtown Buffalo. As soon as we drove by the place, I noticed they actually had a parking lot. I was able to jump lanes to get over to the turn lane at the intersection and loop back around in to the parking lot. There’s an entrance right off the lot in addition to the original entrance on Main Street.

If you need the whole story, there’s a sign with the story on how Teressa up with the wing idea.

We walked in to Anchor a little after they opened at 11 AM on a Thursday. There’s a host stand and souvenier shop as you walk in the door. Off to the right side is the original bar where culinary history was changed forever.

The walls throughout the restaurant are covered. Near the entrance it’s license plates that cover the walls. The rest of the space has pictures of famous people who have eaten at the restaurant and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles that have been written about the place.

There’s really nothing fancy about this place. Had they not invented the wing, this would be like so many other bars and I feel like that is the charm of the place. The feel is really neighborhood watering hole with black and white checkered tile floors, the cheap bar furniture, ceiling fans and stained glass lighting.

Our waitress came to get drink orders but we were both ready to order. In addition to the two Pepsi’s, we both got a Single order of bone in wings with the Original Medium Buffalo sauce plus an order of fries.

It took less than ten minutes for our food to come. The wings were…well, Buffalo wings. They were fairly large, juicy, and crispy on the outside. The sauce had a little bit of a kick to it but I really should have went hotter. The sauce recipe is a “closely guarded secret” but it tastes pretty similar to most Buffalo wing sauces. My co-worker said he thought it tasted like Hooters wing sauce but I don’t really agree with that. To me, it was a much thinner, more peppery sauce. It had a really good flavor but I needed a little more heat. The wings come with bleu cheese sauce, not ranch….and that’s apparently a problem to some people. I rarely use any dip but when I do, I use bleu cheese. I tasted it just to see and it was pretty tasty. I wouldn’t dip the wings in it though. The sauce is too tasty on it’s own.

The fries were….fries. Definitely nothing special here. I added some salt then mopped up the left over wing sauce with the fries. I could have survived without these fries but I ain’t mad I go them either.

Our bill for the two of us was a little over $50 and that’s the reason our mutual friend told us “anywhere but Anchor Bar.” The single order of wins is 10 pieces and costs $14. The cost doesn’t bother me…everything is kind of expensive right now.

Anchor Bar is interesting. If you’re a foodie, this place should be on your list just so you can say you ate in the spot that invented the Buffalo wing….that’s why I drug my co-worker there instead of one of the breweries our old colleague suggested. The food was good, the atmosphere was really laid back and probably hasn’t changed much in close to 50 years and really, that’s the charm of the place.

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