Special Report

The Best Chicken Wings Spots in the US

Courtesy of Bluebird Barbecue via Facebook

Deep-fried and crispy, chicken wings just might be one of the tastiest foods on earth, and we’ve tracked down the bars and restaurants that serve the best in America. 

What is it about chicken wings that makes them the perfect snack? When cooked properly, they’re crispy and just a little fatty on the outside, hot and juicy on the inside, and take easily to a massive variety of sauces and seasonings beyond your standard Buffalo sauce. They’re the perfect drinking food, ideal for sharing with a group of friends, and are small enough that they can be enjoyed as a snack or a full meal. They’re beloved nationwide – worldwide if you include the super-popular Korean fried chicken. (This is the best wing spot in all every state.) 

Believe it or not, chicken wings haven’t always been as appreciated as they are today. Up until the 1960s, wings were usually thrown away or used in stocks. But all that changed in 1964, when, as legend has it, Teressa Bellissimo, the owner of Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, dropped some wings in the deep-fryer and tossed them with a spicy sauce in order to feed a group of her son’s friends when they arrived late at night. Thus a fast-food legend was born. (Today, these are the fast-food capitals of America.)

Since that fateful evening in upstate New Hork, chicken wings – whether fried, baked, grilled, or smoked; served Buffalo-style or tossed with any variety of sauces and seasonings; presented alongside blue cheese or ranch, and breaded or “naked” – have become one of the most popular foods served at bars and restaurants across America. 

Click here to see the best chicken wings in America

To assemble a list of places to find the best chicken wings in America, 24/7 Tempo reviewed and extrapolated from listings, rankings, and reviews on numerous websites, including Food & Wine, Thrillist, Men’s Journal, Eat This Not That, Tasting Table, Mashed, The Daily Meal, Food Network, Insider, Big Seven Travel, Yelp, and numerous locally and regionally focused sites.

Gobble Stop Smokehouse
> Location: Creve Coeur, MO

As the name implies, Gobble Stop Smokehouse is a barbecue joint that specializes in smoked turkey and chicken, so you know that these wings are going to be good. Voted Missouri’s best by Thrillist, these wings are served drumette-only, tossed with a signature spice blend before being slowly smoked over hickory until tender and juicy.

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Crisp
> Location: Chicago, IL

Korean fried chicken, which is battered with rice flour before being deep-fried until crisp and painted with a sweet-spicy glaze, is the name of the game at Crisp, which has taken Chicago by storm with its four addictively delicious wing varieties: sauce-free “Plain Jane,” Korean-American sweet BBQ sauce, traditional Korean BBQ sauce, and Buffalo.

Dolsot House
> Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

One of New Jersey’s most popular Korean restaurants, Dolsot House serves supremely crispy, perfectly juicy fried wings. They’re available with four sauces: Honey Sesame, Soy Garlic, Spicy, or super-spicy Diablo, which isn’t for the faint of heart.

Addy’s Sports Bar & Grill
> Location: Omaha, NE

Addy’s is a local landmark in Omaha, with all three locations renowned as one among the city’s best sports bars. Each boasts more than 30 TVs playing sports and a great happy hour. The wings are the star of the menu: They’re big and always fresh (never frozen), and available tossed with sauces including Spicy Garlic, Salted Caramel BBQ, and Extreme Ghost Pepper. Do as the locals do and ask for them “Char Buffed,” tossed on the grill after being sauced for extra caramelization.

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Charcoal
> Location: Venice, CA

Venice’s casual Charcoal is a neighborhood hotspot from star chef Josiah Citrin, best known for Santa Monica’s two Michelin-starred Mélisse. At Charcoal, everything is cooked over a live fire – including smoky grilled chicken wings, which are seasoned with oregano, chiles, and vinegar.

House of Wings
> Location: Miami, FL

Opened in 2003 by Musaddiq Muhammad (dubbed the “King of Poultry”), House of Wings offers an astonishing array of more than 60 flavors of chicken wings. These run the gamut from Lemon Pepper Garlic to Jamaican Wine to Curry Honey Mustard to Habanero Mango BBQ to one intriguingly dubbed Barack Obama, and they’re available plain, breaded, or grilled.

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J. Timothy’s Taverne
> Location: Plainville, CT

J. Timothy’s, in a building that’s been operating as a tavern since 1789, was purchased in 1979, spruced up, and renamed by new owners Tim (John Timothy) Adams and Jim Welch. It’s a historic landmark on its own, but the wings definitely make it worth a visit. Their signature wing sauce – so good that it’s bottled for sale – is best enjoyed on their signature “Dirt Wings,” which are fried, sauced, then tossed back in the deep fryer before being sauced again.

R&R Extreme Wings
> Location: Indianapolis, IN

R&R has three Indianapolis locations, serving wings that are super-saucy, doused in a choice of 18 homemade sauces ranging from spicy garlic to Cajun chili to one inspired by Panda Express’ orange chicken. Make sure to order them with fries, as those’ll also get a splash of sauce.

Wing Spot
> Location: Covington, GA

This no-frills wing joint is a favorite among locals for its breaded wings served alongside heaps of crinkle-cut fries. Sauces include Lemon Pepper, Asian Zing, Hot, and Nuclear (the latter two being truly spicy), and the menu is rounded out by Philly cheesesteaks, tenders, and fried shrimp and fish.

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That Wing Place
> Location: Anchorage, AK

For Anchorage locals, That Wing Place is indeed that wing place – the best game in town for those looking for crispy, super-saucy chicken wings. Wings are available in multiples of 10 or by the pound, and the selection of nearly two dozen sauces and seasonings include six Buffalo heat levels (maxing out at “Grim Reaper”), BBQ Bacon Ranch, LA Street Sauce, Korean Pepper, and Salt & Vinegar.

One Hot Mama’s
> Location: Hilton Head Island, SC

Located on the south end of Hilton Head Island, and a part of the Official South Carolina BBQ Trail, One Hot Mama’s is a family-friendly spot that’s just as known for its barbecue as for its wings. The Buffalo wings are big and crisp, and they’re available grilled or fried and doused with super-creative homemade sauces. Several of the variations have won the local Wingfest: grilled Maui Wowii (pineapple, ginger, and sweet chili glaze), Hot Asian, and fried Hawaii Five-O (ginger, soy, pineapple, and teriyaki). The Backyard BBQ wings, which are smoked, grilled, and tossed with housemade BBQ sauce, are also worth seeking out.

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The Bar-Bill Tavern
> Location: East Aurora, NY

Located just southeast of Buffalo since 1977, The Bar-Bill Tavern serves spot-on versions of Buffalo classics including hand-carved beef on weck and big, crispy wings in a warm and inviting pub-style tavern. Founder Joe Giafaglione developed all of the bar’s signature sauces, which include Cajun Honey Butter BBQ, Honey Dijon, and Spicy Asian, but no visit is complete without trying their classic Buffalo wings, which range in heat from Mild to Suicidal.

CD’s Wings
> Location: Westminster, CO

This casual, recently expanded hangout has been run by husband-and-wife Digger and Ryan Schwartz since opening its doors in 2007. The wings here are big and never frozen, and all sauces and dry rubs are made in-house. Sauces include The Notorious BRG (Buffalo, ranch, and garlic), Spicy Teriyaki, and the nuclear No 1 Left Standing (made with ghost peppers). The sauces are arranged by increasing heat level, and guests have a choice of three crispiness levels and three sauce amounts, from “light” to “swimming.”

Hattie B’s
> Location: Nashville, TN

Hattie B’s is a Nashville landmark, one of the best spots in the city for its infamous hot fried chicken, which takes a dunk in super-spicy oil after coming out of the fryer. The wings here are given the same treatment, and are served whole, with the flat and drumette still attached. They’re available in six heat levels ranging from Southern (no heat) to Shut the Cluck Up (insanely spicy).

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The Tavern
> Location: Austin, TX

A popular neighborhood pub located in Austin’s West End, The Tavern has been a great place to grab a beer (and possibly see a ghost) since 1933. Whether tossed in Buffalo, barbecue, or sweet Thai chili sauces, the wings are just about perfect; don’t miss the Tavern White Wings – bacon-wrapped jalapeño-stuffed boneless chicken bites tossed in your choice of sauce.

Jethro’s BBQ
> Location: Numerous Iowa locations

Founded by Bruce Gerleman in Des Moines in 1998, Jethro’s smokes all of its wings over hardwood before frying them to crispy perfection and tossing them with homemade sauces and spice rubs including Alabama White, Georgia Mustard, and Raspberry Habanero. A full lineup of barbecue is also available, along with burgers, queso dip, and a giant pork tenderloin sandwich featured on “Man v. Food.”

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Pam’s Wings with Things
> Location: Wichita, KS

The low-key Wichita wing joint serves breaded wings that are big, crispy, and juicy, alongside fries, onion rings, burgers, and fried fish on Friday. The wings stand on their own without any adornment, but you can’t go wrong with Buffalo or sweet heat sauce.

DB Grill
> Location: Kapolei (Oahu), HI

DB Grill has become a favorite on Oahu for its menu of modern Asian cuisine with a seasonal, traditional Hawaiian twist. It’s offering super-crispy wings in three varieties: Korean (gochujang, honey, sesame), Braddah (sweet garlic soy), and Soledad (shoyu and vinegar), and all are worthy of a visit.

Delia Foley’s
> Location: Baltimore, MD

A casual Irish pub in Baltimore’s Federal Hill neighborhood, Delia Foley’s is the best spot in town for wings, which are guaranteed to be big and crispy. But the true claim to fame is the 40 sauces on offer, ranging in spice level from mild (Bourbon St. Cajun) to “hell fire” (Face Melter). In-between are sauces for every taste, from Strongbow Cider BBQ to General Tso to Old Bay, because this is Baltimore, after all.

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Bluebird Barbecue
> Location: Burlington, VT

One of Vermont’s beat barbecue joints, Bluebird gives its wings the same attention it does to its ribs, pulled pork, and brisket. They’re slowly smoked and finished off in the deep-fryer for a finishing crisping, and tossed with either the house dry rub or brown sugar-kicked Buffalo sauce.

San Tung
> Location: San Francisco, CA

San Tung is one of San Francisco’s best Chinese restaurants, but if you take a look around it’s the wings you’ll find on nearly every table. Their famous Original Dry Glazed Fried Chicken Wings are deep-fried along with garlic, ginger, and super-spicy chiles, and absolutely doused in a sweet, caramel-like sauce seasoned with the same ingredients. They’re addictively delicious.

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Wing Doozy
> Location: Grand Rapids, MI

With three Grand Rapids-area locations, Wing Doozy has become renowned locally for its big, juicy, crispy, never-frozen wings. All sauces and dry rubs, which include Sweet Honey BBQ, Buttery Garlic Parm, four levels of Nashville Hot, and Blackened, are made in-house.

Hat Yai
> Location: Portland, OR

Named after the city of Hat Yai in southern Thailand, Hat Yai was inspired by the streetside fried chicken vendors of the region. It’s a counter-serve operation that also serves curries, roti, skewers, and other Thai street foods, but the wings are the way to go: Mary’s free-range chicken wings are aggressively seasoned with soy, white pepper, cumin, and coriander before being fried and topped with fried shallots.

D-Spot
> Location: Maplewood, MN

This low-key wing joint on the Twin Cities outskirts is the brainchild of chef Darin Koch, who spent years perfecting his wings and scratch-made sauces. There’s major evidence of a chef’s touch in its countless sauces, which include Ben Grimm (curry, peanut, pineapple, toasted coconut), Lalapalooza (lavender, peppercorn, mustard vinegar), and Frenchy (caramelized onion with a sweet balsamic reduction). There are also sweet preparations like Snackers (peanut butter, caramel, crushed nuts, chocolate, sea salt) and a few nuclear-hot options.

Anchor Bar
> Location: Buffalo, NY

This low-key wing joint on the Twin Cities outskirts is the brainchild of chef Darin Koch, who spent years perfecting his wings and scratch-made sauces. There’s major evidence of a chef’s touch in its countless sauces, which include Ben Grimm (curry, peanut, pineapple, toasted coconut), Lalapalooza (lavender, peppercorn, mustard vinegar), and Frenchy (caramelized onion with a sweet balsamic reduction). There are also sweet preparations like Snackers (peanut butter, caramel, crushed nuts, chocolate, sea salt) and a few nuclear-hot options.

Anchor Bar is renowned as the birthplace of Buffalo wings, and as earlier described, it’s where an enterprising bar owner first dropped wings into the deep fryer and tossed them with hot sauce nearly 60 years ago. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims still flock here every year to get a taste of the original wings, which are crispy, saucy, and every bit as good as you’d expect.

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17th Street Barbecue
> Location: Murphysboro & Marion, IL

Founded by the late Mike Mills, one of America’s most legendary pitmasters, 17th Street Barbecue is one of America’s most awarded and renowned barbecue joints. Their wings are smoked before being finished on the grill for a little extra smoky flavor, and tossed in a homemade spicy wing sauce.

Chik’n & Mi
> Location: Louisville, KY

Louisville’s Chik’n & Mi specializes in Asian-inspired comfort foods, and their Laotian-spiced fried chicken wings are delicious “naked” on their own, but don’t miss the opportunity to toss them with sweet soy, spicy, or Hot Jaew Bong, a spicy and pungent Laotian chili dip.

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Duffy’s Irish Pub
> Location: Washington, D.C.

One of the capital’s best sports bars, Duffy’s, located in the city’s Dupont Circle, has consistently been named the home of the city’s best wings. All of Duffy’s wings are fresh and never frozen, and their hot wing sauce is so popular that it’s sold by the bottle.

J.R. Cricket’s
> Location: Atlanta, GA

An Atlanta icon since 1982, J.R. Cricket’s is renowned for its Buffalo wings, which are crispy, juicy, and just about perfect. There are also specialty flavors including lemon pepper and Southern sweet BBQ, but don’t try those until you’ve had their original wings, which come in three heat levels.

Wing King
> Location: Las Vegas, NV

If there’s another wing joint that offers more flavors than Las Vegas’ Wing Joint, we’ve yet to find it. An astonishing 100 flavors of sauces and seasonings are available, in just about every flavor imaginable from Buffalo to BBQ to Asian to nuclear hot. For something different, don’t miss the pig wings, made from pork.

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Yo’ Mama’s
> Location: Birmingham, AL

A popular counter-serve spot in Birmingham, Yo’ Mama’s is best known for its fried chicken, which is available three different ways: crispy wings atop waffles, fried in quarters, and hot wings. The signature hot wings are breaded and fried to golden brown perfection, and retain their crispness even after being tossed with an addictive sweet, spicy, and savory sauce.

Gritty’s
> Location: Portland, Freeport, & Auburn, ME

A Maine staple since 1988, Gritty’s (formerly known as Gritty McDuff’s) is a brewpub that’s become renowned for its fresh-brewed beer and classic pub grub, including some truly great wings. They’re deep-fried until perfectly crisp, and then tossed in classic wing sauce; sauces including Smoky BBQ, Thai Chili, and Garlic Parmesan; or dry rubs including Cajun or cinnamon chipotle.

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BuffaLouie’s
> Location: Bloomington, IN

BuffaLouie’s has been an Indiana University institution since its 1987 founding by Jay Lieser, and it’s a legendary hangout among locals and students alike for its burgers, subs, and especially wings. Served in increments of up to 30, they’re crisp and saucy, coated in six increasing Buffalo sauce heat levels or creative options including Rasta Jerk, Asian Zing, and Korean Q. The Memphis-style dry rub version is also worth sampling.

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza
> Location: Wilmington & Pike Creek, DE

Wings are a pizzeria staple these days, but that doesn’t mean they’re usually any good. That’s definitely not the case at Delaware’s Anthony’s. Both the pizzas and the wings here are cooked in a coal-fired oven; the wings are roasted until crisp and just a little bit charred, and then tossed with your choice of caramelized onions, Buffalo sauce, a house dry rub, or garlic romano sauce. Parsley and focaccia complete the dish.

Duff’s Famous Wings
> Location: Amherst, NY

Duff’s, located just northeast of Buffalo, is a standard-bearer for Buffalo wings, with many locals preferring it to the more touristy Anchor Bar. We’ll leave it for you to decide, but it’s been serving wings since 1969 and the now-legendary recipe hasn’t changed since.

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Pluckers Wing Bar
> Location: Numerous locations, Texas & Louisiana

Pluckers has seven locations throughout Texas and Louisiana, and it’s a popular hangout for burgers, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, fried pickles and mac & cheese, and, of course, wings. You can take your pick from bone-in or boneless wings (or even thighs), and there’s a huge assortment of sauces and rubs to choose from, including Chili Lime, Maple Chipotle, Spicy Mandarin, and Spicy Ranch rub.

Sweetwater Tavern
> Location: Detroit, MI

Located in a Downtown Detroit building that’s been standing since the 1880s, Sweetwater Tavern is at its core a great bar, and the wings have been named the city’s best time and time again. As opposed to offering “a bajillion sauces,” as they put it, there’s only one wing on the menu: bought fresh from a local market, they’re marinated for 24 hours before being fried to crispy perfection. Full of flavor without too much heat, these truly are things of beauty.

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Wing Shack Bar & Grill
> Location: Little Rock, AR

A low-slung, strip mall sports bar, Wing Shack Bar & Grill has quietly become one of the best spots in Arkansas for wings since opening more than 20 years ago. The wings here are super-saucy and perfectly fried to a crisp golden brown.

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