This wing review needs a back story because this Cinderella was never supposed to be happen. On Sunday evening I convinced my buddy Ryan to a take a drive (his truck and gas of course) with me out to North Tonawanda and finally try the vaunted Dwyer’s Pub chicken wings I’ve heard so much about. Famished and excited we get there, only to have to have the waitress tell us two things: There’d be over an hour wait for food and also they literally had no chicken wings. You’ve gotta be freegin’ kidding me, right.
Heartbroken and rattled I summon the strength to explain to her we took a 35-minute drive to get here and ask if there’s any place nearby she’d recommend. She said there’s a place called Klimek’s nearby but I instantaneously grew skeptical of her not saying Crazy Jakes, just one half block down. Defiantly thinking she didn’t want us patronizing their direct competition, we went to Jakes. Well, that was a misstep because once we got to a table a waiter walked past us twice without so much acknowledging our presence let alone feigning interest in taking our order. Let’s say patience isn’t a stronghold of mine and aggravated at this point we take the Dwyer’s waitress up on her offer and head to Klimek’s.
Naturally, it’s closed because fucking of course it is.
In the truck, I recall some suggestions about Bocce Club Pizza from Facebook and Twitter so I look it up to find it’s all the way in Williamsville. We then were choosing between tossing ourselves at the mercy of the waiter at Jake’s or throwing in the towel all together and heading back south when I remembered a gentlemen on Twitter with a handle of @UBJCII (Joe) endorsing a place in Amherst called Audobon North. As usually is the case I paid the recommendation no mind, even temporarily forgetting the dude also emailed me about Audubon being a great under the radar place for wings. Whatever, dude—quit bothering me and your brother probably works there or something. Desperate, I look it up on my phone and low and behold, it’s only eight minutes more out of the way.
I mean, we’re already in this deep—-may as well finish it off in total disappointment as I envisioned my next review in advance—“Idiots spend full hour driving around aimlessly before finding shitty wings on their fourth attempt.”
However, a funny thing happened on the way to that headline. That Twitter dude with the weird handle couldn’t have possibly been more right.
Oh My Gawddddd, read on…..
The Good: When I tell you everything about this place is good, I’m not embellishing. It’s a nice bar, a little bit on the small side but with two levels. Let’s call it quaint—that sounds like a pretty word. The pricing was excellent—-we would get a double order of wings (more on that in a moment) and a soda/refill with a total bill being under $19.00. The bartender, and I apologize for not getting her name couldn’t have been lovelier and more valuable. In fact, she’s the real MVP of the trip because I was going to simply order medium wings with something else “normal” and she literally convinced me the Hot Cajun Double Dipped on the grill was to die for, with medium BBQ on the grill being a solid choice for the other 10. Considering the wings were being grilled, they came out timely enough.
The medium BBQ were pretty damn good. If Ryan and I had only them I’d still strongly consider putting em in my Top 10. However, those were child’s play compared to the Hot Cajun Double Dipped. Those weren’t good… Those weren’t great… Those were fucking PHENOMENAL!
I’d been in a slump with wings of late, call it a daze if you want, and Audubon North slapped me right in the nuts with some of the tastiest wings I’ve ever had— ever.
One more thing which I considered a little fun nugget—the wings aren’t cooked in a back kitchen. The fryers and grill are dead smack behind the bar, so you can actually watch your wings get prepared as you drink a beer and lose all your money playing Quick Draw like a degenerate moron—sorry mom.
The Bad: Look man, if I said something bad about this place I’d be making shit up. There’s NOTHING about this place I didn’t like, other than staying in Orchard Park and having to drive a good 35 minutes to get there.
QB Comparison: Audubon North is the Joe Montana of chicken wings. Joe fuckin’ Cool, man. Somehow Montana stayed under the radar enough with NFL teams to last until the third round. Unfathomable with the power of hindsight as he went on to become one of the very best quarterbacks the league’s ever seen. That’s I feel about this place and their wings. I’ve read countless reviews and countdowns on the best places in Western New York to go to for wings, and it’s flat-out laughable this place isn’t included. To quote Notorious B.I.G., “and if you don’t know, now you know.”
The Verdict: About a wing and half in I knew these were hitting the spot and also my top 10. It became a matter of how far would they rise. About 3-4 wings in I distinguished they’d enter the top five and I’m telling you, when I was done the conclusion was a Moran-Alytics Podcast wing review series shocker—they supplanted Bar Bill in my top three. They’re that fuckin’ good. I have them right there with the personal chicken wing titans—Nine Eleven Tavern in South Buffalo and Elmos in Getzville.
Real talk here, I’m no connoisseur or chicken wing aficionado when it comes to good eats. I’m just a fat dude getting increasingly fatter back up in Buffalo on business, missing the shit out of chicken wings while living in Florida these past few years and binging Buffalo wing joints nearly every night while I can. I’ve had wings at well over 30 places when back in Buffalo since moving away, including this being my (no exaggerating) 11th stop in the past 15 days.
I’m not overly fond of recommending places because truth be told—I’m that guy like that wants all the credit when something is good but none of the blame when it’s bad.
But I’m going to make an exception here and it’s a big one. There’s not a place in Western New York I’d more highly recommend than here for chicken wings. You already know about Nine Eleven, Elmos and Bar Bill among other famous places (Duffs, Anchor Bar, etc.) and they all deserve their fame. I’m telling you right now though —- Audubon North is on that same level, and I’m willing to best most of you have haven’t even heard of it, let alone ate wings there.
That needs to change, very soon.
Oh, and thank you Dwyer’s for not having any wings. You made this happen.
UPDATED CHICKEN WINGS POWER RANKINGS
1- 911 Tavern
3- Audubon North
4- Bar Bill
6- Gabriel’s Gate
7- Big Tree
10- La Nova
The Others (I’ve had): Sonny Red’s, Anchor Bar, Kelly’s Corner, Duffs, Steel City, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sal’s Lounge, Bella Pizza, Biergarten, Vinnys, Geckos, Rusty Buffalo, Pour House, Danny South, Doc Sullivans, Pappas, Nino’s Pizza, Blasdell Pizza