Search This Blog

Monday, July 15, 2013

[Anchor Bar vs. Duff's] Comparison between the birthplace of Buffalo wings and the arguably biggest chain restaurant

To get to Waterloo, Ontario, we drove down to cross the U.S. border via 1000 islands bridge and stayed a night in Rochester, NY before heading to Buffalo, NY the next day. 

Before crossing the Canadian border back, we bought a couple of bottles of wine, and had  a famous Buffalo wing lunch at Duff's. 

If you were wondering which routes we took, it's as you see above. We left Ottawa, stayed a night in Rochester, dropped by Buffalo, before we arrived at our destination, i.e. Waterloo, ON.

(Boys at the entrance of the Premier Wine, Buffalo, NY)
We had been both Anchor bar and Duff's before, but opted the latter this time mainly because it was closer to the wine shop where we bought wines. :)

We ordered fried pickles for the appetizer and 30 chicken wings, half medium and half mild, for Mr. D, Remi and me. 

(I'll post Fried pickles recipe soon) 

Pablo had his own kids' plain chicken fingers. He could have had one of their dipping sauces. But, I just asked for plain wings since I was so well aware of Pablo's intolerance even to the slightest pungency. There are about 7 degrees of hotness of their sauce: Mild, Mild-Medium, Medium, Medium-Hot, Hot, Superhot, Death, and Armageddon. As Duff's catch phrase gives you a warning, Medium is hot, Medium hot is very hot, Hot is very, very hot. We didn't dare to order Armageddon, or even Superhot, since we know how hot it is. 

That's the equivalent to the "suicidal" sauce of the Anchor bar. I can assure you that it's seriously lethal. We were ashamed, but still couldn't finish all the Suicidal wings we had ordered. 

Our saviour of the day was the Anchor bar's famous soup and the half of the wings with mild sauce. Their soup was delicious. It was when we went to the Anchor bar for the first time. We don't make such a mistake once again.

(Half hot/ half suicidal at Anchor bar)
Both Duff's and Anchor bar serves their wings with celery & blue cheese dip which soothe your palate that became very sensitive after you eat spicy chicken wings. Don't get me wrong, those sauce are good and addictive. However, I can't deny that the sauces of the both restaurants have (pleasing but) sharp taste.

'Medium' was already very hot for Mr.D and I who are not big fans of acridity. Remi only had chicken wings with mild sauce.  They were very crispy and not overly soaked in the sauce.

Anchor bar has an edge in the sense that they invented Buffalo wings for the first time. Their wings are covered with a bit more-than-necessary sauce. It's not a big deal if you like abundant sauce. The only thing about excessive sauce is that your wings become not so crispy anymore. You need a balance between crispness and piquancy.

(If you want to see my healthier Buffalo wing recipe, see here: 

Anchor bar seems maintaining the atmosphere of 1960s when the Buffalo wings were born. it's nostalgic and antique. It's nice for adults, but not so much recommendable for a family with young kids since it's slightly dark. 

To be honest, I like the Anchor bar's atmosphere very much since it's unique. Still do I think that Duff's would be better with kids.

(According to the most popular story about how the Buffalo wings were invented, "Buffalo wings were first prepared at the Anchor Bar by Teressa Bellissimo, who owned the bar along with her husband Frank. 

Upon the unannounced, late-night arrival of their son, Dominic, with several of his friends from college, Teressa needed a fast and easy snack to present to her hungry guests. It was then that she came up with the idea of deep frying chicken wings (normally thrown away or reserved for stock) and tossing them in cayenne hot sauce." (Source: The Atlas of Popular Culture in the Northeastern United States)

It was nice to have deep-fried Buffalo wings after a long time. For sure, we will come back. Probably, we'd be at Anchor bar next time, to be fair ;-) Can’t wait!

Meanwhile, if you want to see my oven-baked Buffalo wing recipe, see here: 

Anchor Bar vs. Duff's Buffalo wings


  1. OMG, I can't believe you guys atcually ordered the suicidal ones! That was literally suicidal XD
    Thx for the less calorie version of chicken wings, which indeed looks crispy and still yummy.
    Hope you had a great time on the road!

    1. Hi Carolina,
      I know. I think we were out of mind when we ordered :( Since then, we've never dared a spicier sauce than "medium hot" again.
      Oven-baked chicken wings give me some peace of mind :) hopefully they do the same to you.
      Thanks. We had a really great weekend :)