Thursday, June 16, 2011

Anchor Bar vs. Duff's: The Buffalo Wing Showdown

I definitely was not going all the way to Buffalo and not eat what it's known for: its wings! I do enjoy most spicy things, and wings are most definitely on the list. Our hosts, The Profs, made sure we got to try two of Buffalo's most famous wing joints: Anchor Bar and Duff's.

To be quite honest with you, I'm not really sure which I liked better. Is that bad? Let me tell you about each, and let you know what I thought their strengths were.

Anchor Bar claims to be to the originator of the Buffalo wing, and it's located right in downtown Buffalo. While they are known for their wings, they also make a range of what I would call "bar food" and Italian dishes. I would say come here if you're in a "wings plus" mood.

We had (Guess!!)....

Fried Fish and French Fries (in Buffalo called a Fish Fry)

Onion Rings

Totally healthy, right? HA!

Since Husband J was with us, we had to go easy with the spice. We only got them with medium sauce. Between me and you, I didn't think it was very spicy. The wings themselves were good. Perfectly crispy and lightly spiced with tender meat. Score one for Anchor.

Fish and chips or a "fish fry" is actually a very popular dish in Buffalo. On almost any Friday, restaurants all over the city, regardless of cuisine, will offer fried fish to their customers. Buffalonians will search high and low for their favorite fish fry. Thanks to The Profs for letting me know about this local tradition. I actually really like Anchor's fried fish. It wasn't breaded but actually this all-compassing crust. Most definitely fried fish I could eat on a regular basis, as I am not a fan of heavy handed breading.

We were prepared for lots eating on this trip, and the next day we made our way to the original Duff's location in Amherst, New York, a suburb of Buffalo.

I don't know if it was because it was a Sunday afternoon or because it was a totally different style of restaurant, but Duff's felt decidedly different from Anchor. There was a much smaller menu, and it was really focused on wings with maybe a few other things. You could also tell that this place had more locals. Because of its name and downtown location, Anchor tends to attract more tourists, at least that's my impression.

So we had.....

Big surprise, right? Medium wings

Medium Mild wings

Also some of you might recognize someone who came to Duff's relatively recently:

President Barack Obama
The President stopped at Duff's after he made a speech on the economy here in the Buffalo area.

Anyway, The Profs and Husband J thought that Duff's wings were fresher in general, and you could tell the attention that they put into each plate. We got medium and medium hot. Honestly, I didn't really see much of a difference in the spice levels. We all agreed that the medium tasted spicier than the medium hot! Err??? I did have major issues with was the fact that the medium hot tasted like the wings were doused in vinegar. It was so tart that I was actually smacking my lips! Not a fan of that.

So you're in the Buffalo area, which one should you choose? Ask yourself what kind of experience you want.

Ambiance: Do you want more of a bar atmosphere with the possibility of live music that could be compared to a Hard Rock Cafe (at least on Saturday night anyway)? Anchor Bar. Duff's was more low-key and definitely for the locals.

More than Wings?: Anchor Bar. It's got a full menu.

Cleanliness: Duff's. Anchor was fine, but the floors were a little scruffy when we went that night.

Spice Variety: Duff's. Duff's has at least six gradations of heat for their wings. If you can take spice like me, I would flirt with the hot.

Which is the best? I'm not sure. Sorry to be wishy-washy, but these are still some of the best wings I've ever tasted. You won't go wrong either way.

Anyone been to Anchor Bar, Duff's or both? What are your thoughts?

Anchor Bar
1047 Main Street
Buffalo, New York

Duff's (the original location, there are multiple)
3651 Sheridan Drive
Amherst, New York


lavenderpug said...

i do love buffalo wings. i would go to both if i could!

melinda said...

I've never been to Buffalo, but when I go, I'll make sure to hit these up. I'm usually a little queasy about eating meat off of bones (silly neurosis!), but I do love me some wing sauce!

Nellie said...

I've been to Duff's 2x and seriously loved both times. Next time I'm in Buffalo, I'm definitely hitting up Anchors. Thanks for the review.

George said...

Kansas Citian here- I went to Buffalo two summers ago and sampled a dozen of both restaurant's wings- Duff's wings definitely took home the gold, while Anchor Bar was somewhat dissapointing. Anchor bar was cool and had a nice vibe, and their pizza was good too, but the wings were rather expensive for the size. I thought they were average, overall, and not particularly hot. Duff's, which was my second stop, were delicious and plump and spicy with jsut the right amount of sauce. I would say Duff's wings were definitely more of a "wet" wing and had more sauce, and I really enjoyed them. Maybe part of this is personal preference, but I've never ahd wings as good as these before or after my visit to Duff's.


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