Also known as Buffalo wings, chicken wings are as American as a burger or hot dog. As you might guess, Buffalo wings originated in Buffalo, New York, during the ’60s, consisting of deep-fried skin-on chicken wings without breading and coated in any number of spicy, sweet, and savory glazes.
Chicken wings are a quintessential part of any game day, happy hour, or decadent appetizer.
In the 70 years since its invention, chicken wings have become a national sensation, with restaurants devoted to inventing newer iterations of sauces and glazes to try.
I’ve compiled a list of my favorite restaurants, taverns, and wing franchises with the best chicken wings in America for you to explore below.
Check out where you can find some of the best wings in the US.
Crisp is a Korean fried chicken restaurant in the heart of Chicago.
Lauded by the Chicago Tribune, TimeOUt, Thrillist, Eater, and the Cooking Channel, to name a few, Crisp offers the perfect fusion of American and Korean food traditions.
Owner and Korean-born Chef Jae Lee grew up in the US eating fried chicken served American style while also living and eating Korean dishes and flavors at home.
Crisp fuses the breaded fried chicken typical of Southern American cooking with rich umami sauces and garnishes typical in Korea.
Crisp’s signature wings are the Seoul Sassy Wings, coated in a mild, scratch-made soy-based glaze with ginger, garlic, and sweet soy.
J Timothy’s Taverne, Hartford CT
Established in 1980, J Timothy’s Taverne is an iconic old-school American tavern in Hartford, Connecticut.
Located inside an 18th-century building that has been a tavern and restaurant since its construction, J Timothy’s Taverne upholds a nearly two-and-a-half-centuries-long tradition of service.
J Timothy’s Taverne offers five flavors of chicken wings, and they give customers the option of ordering each flavor “dirt style.” Dirt style means that the chicken wings get a double dosage of both saucing and frying.
The only thing that’s better than fried and sauced wings is double-fried and sauced wings! I didn’t want a double dosage of spicy sauce, so I went for sweet chili wings, dirt style.
Wogies, New York City
Named for the owner’s father’s mysterious nickname, Wogies is a kitchen, bar, and bakery with locations in New York’s West Village and Financial District.
Owner Aaron Hoffman and his father, Wogie, owned various restaurants and hotels in their native Pennsylvania. Hoffman draws inspiration from the comfort food he grew up eating in Philly.
Wogies has received praise from New York Magazine and the Gothamist for their cheesesteaks, hoagies, and Krazy Kate’s wings—named after Hoffman’s mother.
Their Buffalo sauce comes in varying degrees of spice levels. Krazy is the designation for the spiciest version of the sauce.
I had to stuff my mouth with celery and ranch after devouring each krazy buffalo wing!
Mott Street, Chicago
Another Chicago favorite, Mott Street, is a funky, casual Asian Fusion cocktail bar and restaurant serving extravagant soul food from Southeast Asia and America, along with inventive wine and spirit cocktails.
Their elaborate cocktails are delicious and highly alcoholic; luckily, they have an equally decadent menu to soak up the alcohol.
The Everything Wings take inspiration from South Korean fried chicken, comprised of jumbo-sized wings fried in an aromatic sauce with soy, dried chilies, and fried shallots.
Instead of your typical ranch or bleu cheese, Everything Wings come with tzatziki sauce. I thought the cool cucumber and yogurt worked so well with the fried shallots.
HaiSous is an upscale cocktail bar and restaurant with an adjoining Vietnamese coffee shop and street food counter.
Both the cocktail bar and coffee house offer a small menu of the most stunningly presented Vietnamese dishes I’ve ever seen.
Chef Thai Dang’s proprietary caramelized fish sauce wings have been voted Best Chicken Wings in America by Thrillist.
The crispy crust of these chicken wings is the texture dreams are made of!
The wings get a light coating of caramelized fish sauce for a sweet and tangy umami flavor, topped with endless fried shallots and fresh herbs.
East Coast Wings + Grill, North Carolina
East Coast Wings + Grill is a family-friendly sports bar and grill with award-winning wings out of North Carolina.
They have over 35 locations in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas, serving a variety of beer and over-the-top takes on American pub fare, from buffalo tots to Southern Poutine.
Their wings are enormous, served in a giant mount atop a metal tray covered with wax paper.
The Honey Garlic wings are the perfect combination of sweet and savory. Furthermore, you can make any sauce as mild or hot as you like.
I also liked that East Coast Wings gives you the option to order all flats or all drums, depending on which part of the chicken you like the most.
Three Dollar Cafe, Atlanta
Founded by a Chinese immigrant in 1983 a mere four years after his arrival, Three Dollar Café is a true testament to the American dream.
Nearly 40 years later, Three Dollar Café is an Atlanta staple for a family-friendly sports bar experience, replete with the best wings in town.
Three Dollar Café has around ten flavors of wings and multiple dipping sauces.
Their dry boneless wings have a flavorful dry rub that intensifies with frying.
Plus, boneless wings are the best, in my opinion, because you don’t have to battle with bones. More bang for your buck!
Anchor Bar, Buffalo NY
Anchor Bar self-proclaims to be the inventor of Buffalo wings.
Located in Buffalo, New York, Anchor Bar’s owner Teressa Bellissimo came up with the buffalo wing recipe on the fly in 1964 for friends of her son and co-owner Dominic.
She used leftover chicken wings from the last of the kitchen stock, frying them and tossing them in what we now know as Buffalo sauce.
As the originators of buffalo wings, no Anchor Bar trip is complete without trying mother Bellissimo’s iconic recipe.
The Original Buffalo wings are the prototype for all other variations, both at Anchor Bar and the millions of wing restaurants around the globe.
I like the mild Original Buffalo wings with a side of bleu cheese.
Gabriel’s Gate Restaurant, Buffalo NY
Another Buffalo, New York wing spot, Gabriel’s Gate Restaurant, is a cozy tavern located inside a historic brick building erected in 1864.
The interior is wonderfully preserved, with an old wood-burning fireplace, A-frame ceilings, and walls decked out in Native American art and taxidermy animals.
They serve cocktails, beer, and comforting pub fare.
Their classic hot wings aren’t for the faint of heart. The bright orange color is a menacing visual clue to the fiery sensation they’ll leave in your mouth and on your lips.
I’d recommend an extra order of Ranch dressing and a side of their creamy, gravy-laden poutine fries to put out the fire.
Pluckers Wing Bar, Austin
Founded by University of Texas students Mark and Dave, Pluckers was born out of a necessity for late-night munchies.
The two owners perfected a wing recipe and debuted it at a national Chili cookoff competition to such wide acclaim that they soon opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant in 1995.
Fast-forward nearly 30 years later, and there are dozens of Pluckers in cities around Texas and Louisiana.
True to its Southwestern roots, Plucker’s Wing Bar offers a vibrant Mexican-inspired chili lime dry rub using natural whole chilies, sea salt, and fresh lime juice.
They have more spice than heat, in my opinion.
Wing King, Las Vegas
Wing King is a funky and colorful chicken wing restaurant in Las Vegas with live music and a fun vibe.
They also offer over 100 flavors of wings! Not only do they distinguish themselves from the competition with the most extensive flavor selection, but they offer chicken and pig wings.
While you might not think pigs fly, Wing King asserts that they do at their restaurant! To assuage your curiosity, pig wings are simply cutlets of pork fried and sauced like chicken wings.
Of the 100 flavors of wings at Wing King, I think the mango habanero takes the cake.
The combination of juicy sweet mango puree and ultra-spicy habanero sauce in a bright yellow glaze packs a punch of heat tampered by sweetness.
Ale Emporium, Indianapolis
Established in 1982, Ale Emporium is Indianapolis’ favorite sports bar.
The giant sports pub is locally and family-owned, offering a family-friendly and lively atmosphere to enjoy world-class pizza, brews, and cocktails while watching the dozens of sports games broadcast on giant screen TVs.
They serve scratch-made pizzas but are known for their trademarked Hermanaki Wings, named for founder and owner Herman Perryman.
All the sauces are iterations of Herman’s name, and the Hermanaki is Herman’s take on Teriyaki sauce.
Teriyaki sauce is only one ingredient in this complex sauce, replete with a secret pepper and spice blend and Ale’s secret sauce.
Flanigan’s, Various Florida Locations
Flanigan’s has been a Florida institution since Joe “Big Daddy” Flanigan opened the first location in 1959.
Flannigan was a Florida fisherman, using the freshest catches and a tropical beach vibe to design a friendly neighborhood restaurant that would soon become a staple in over 20 neighborhoods across Florida.
They serve a wide variety of cocktails, beer, and spirits to accompany an extensive menu of American fare, with everything from burgers to ribs, to pasta.
You’ll find their chicken wings in the appetizer section, with your choice of Buffalo sauce or BBQ sauce.
I liked the sweeter, tomato-based BBQ sauce and added an order of garlic to the mix.
Wingnutz started as a humble catering service in Amherst, New York.
The owners spent years perfecting the frying method and sauce recipes from their home, graduating to onsite catering preparation, and now to a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
The attention to detail and description of each sauce has earned Wingnutz glowing reviews from locals on Yelp.
While many chicken wings have soggy skin due to heaping amounts of sauce, Wingnutz has the winning recipe and method in which their wings absorb sauce while maintaining a wonderful crunch.
They have honey garlic, mild, medium, and hot wings. I went for the balanced medium sauce, which started sweet and ended with a manageable spicy heat.
Buffalo Joe’s, Evanston IL
Buffalo Joe’s is a fast-casual counter service wing shop in Evanston, Illinois, run by Joe Prudden.
Buffalo Joe’s has a welcoming atmosphere to enjoy Joe’s famous wing recipes and sandwiches.
They are a wildly popular take-out and catering spot, supplying North Chicago with game day wings hot out of the frier.
Buffalo Joe’s has three grades of Buffalo wings: mild, spicy, and suicide. I’m content to go with the middleman and order spicy, which was delicious.
If you’re feeling daring, the suicide sauce lives up to its name, with a searing heat that will set your stomach on fire.
Bird’s Nest, Chicago
Bird’s Nest is a fun bar, music venue, and restaurant in Chicago.
The old-school wooden interior has carved tile ceilings, a pool table, and a stage in the back lounge to enjoy a full lineup of live music with a cocktail in hand.
They also serve an extensive menu of salads, soups, pizzas, sandwiches, and decadent pub snacks.
Their chicken wings received the Chicago Tribune’s vote for the Best Wings in Chicago. I ordered their hot teriyaki wings.
I thought they had the perfect balance of sweet soy and spicy pepper sauce. They also have a hot BBQ if you’d rather have a tangy tomato and vinegar base.
Duff’s, Amherst NY
Founded by Louise Duffney in 1946, Duff’s has been a fixture in Amherst’s culinary history for nearly 80 years.
Amherst is just north of Buffalo, so as soon as Buffalo wings made their debut at Anchor Bar, Duff’s was soon to follow, serving the first batch of chicken wings in 1969.
The popularity and perfection of the buffalo wings at Duff’s have caused them to change the restaurant’s name to Duff’s Famous Wings.
Their world-famous buffalo sauce has more spice designations than any other wing establishment. I went for the “medium is hot” wings with a side of blue cheese.
BuffaLouie’s, Bloomington, IN
Voted one of America’s top ten wing joints by USA Today, BuffaLouie’s is founder and former Indiana University student Jay Lieser’s culinary homage to his hometown of Buffalo, New York.
In fact, BuffaLouie’s is a family effort, using Leiser’s mother’s recipes and father’s business acumen.
BuffaLouie’s has been a Bloomington staple and a nationally recognized wing joint since 1987.
They offer bone-in and boneless wings and over 20 sauces in which to coat them.
They have some of the most original sauce flavors, including Montreal Steak, Memphis, and my personal favorite, Rasta Jerk.
Coating fried chicken in a vibrant Jerk sauce was almost as good as a trip to the Caribbean!
Spago, Multiple Locations
Spago has locations in LA, Maui, Singapore, Las Vegas, Budapest, and Istanbul. Spago is the height of haute cuisine, offering a wealth of global culinary traditions and novel, creative cooking methods.
Chicken wings at Spago are not your average chicken wings. They use a Chinese-American approach with General Tso’s sauce, thickened with corn syrup over perfectly fried chicken wings, garnished with spicy dried chilies.
I wouldn’t expect anything less than superb from Spago, and these chicken wings fulfilled my expectations.
Legend Larry’s, Multiple Wisconsin Locations
With four locations around Wisconsin, Legend Larry’s is a family-friendly American restaurant and bar with award-winning wing sauces.
They live up to their name, amassing a legendary list of awards, giving them a formidable reputation as one of the most decorated participants in the National Buffalo Wing Festival.
Their 13 scratch-made, award-winning sauces are so delicious that they bottle and sell them in-house and online.
You can get boneless, breaded wings, bone-in wings, and battered shrimp tossed in any of their sauces. My favorite sauce was the spicy bacon BBQ, one of their nationally awarded gold medal sauces.
Located inside the high-end Hilton Garden in Louisville, Kentucky, 8UP Elevated Drinkery & Kitchen is a fashionable rooftop cocktail bar and a New American restaurant with amazing views of the downtown Louisville skyline.
A popular place for happy hours, social gatherings, and date nights, 8UP has a lively atmosphere and creative dishes and cocktails.
Food Network voted 8UP’s dry rub chicken wings the best chicken wings in Louisville. They first take a deep dive into the fryer before being coated in a super flavorful, elaborately spiced dry rub.
They then offer various options for saucing wings that are already bursting with flavor.
Timothy’s Taverne, Plainville, CT
Timothy’s Taverne is a Plainville institution not just for its delicious wings, selection of beers, and service but for the centuries-old building in which it resides.
The brick building in which it resides dates to the 1790s and is one of the oldest continuously operating taverns in the US.
They’ve preserved the original exterior and interior beautifully, adding a few quirks of their own, like taxidermy animals and Native American art pieces.
The building alone is worth the trip, but their wings are just as famous. The menu even guides you through the process of ordering them, alluding to their commitment to making them to your liking.
I loved their Buffalo sauce, which was much spicier than I expected in the best way possible.
Wing Doozy, Grand Rapids MI
With three locations around Grand Rapids, Michigan, Wing Doozy is a locally and nationally famous wing restaurant, whiskey bar, and pub.
They specialize in boneless chicken wings, using fresh, never-frozen chicken breasts that are twice the size of your average chicken wing.
They deliver quantity and quality at Wing Doozy, winning Best Wings votes from local, state, and national polls.
If you’re heart’s set on bone-in wings, they offer them in the same jumbo, fresh, and never-frozen quality as the boneless.
They offer two dry rub flavors: the sweet and spicy Doozy Original and the Blackened Sweet heat.
I liked the blackened sweet heat because it added smokiness and a unique texture to the sweet and spicy flavor.
Wing Factory, Atlanta
An Atlanta favorite since 1997, Wing Factory is a family-friendly and fun wing restaurant chain where kids eat for free, and trivia and bingo nights abound.
Emptied spice bottles line the walls, alluding to the wide varieties of wing sauces they make from scratch each week.
They offer an extensive menu of all the American favorites with a Southern twist.
Wing Factory’s lemon pepper wings are one of their novel creations, using a bright, citrusy glaze with a peppery finish.
I think it tastes best over the old-school bone-in drums and flats. The breaded boneless wings are too heavy to appreciate the light citrus.