A Bite of Chicken Wing History

A Bite of Chicken Wing History

There are two versions to every story, and it’s no different for the chicken wing. Was the beloved bar appetizer born out of necessity, or a mother’s knack for feeding a hungry crowd on the fly? It all depends on who you ask.

The Anchor Bar

One thing most people can agree on is that the chicken wing was invented at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, back in 1964. Frank Bellisimo, co-founder of the bar, once recounted to the New Yorker that the creation of the chicken wing started out with a mistake. The bar received an incorrect delivery of chicken wings instead of the backs and necks that were supposed to simmer in his wife Teressa’s famous spaghetti sauce.

“[The wings] were looking at you, like saying, ‘I don’t belong in the sauce,'” Frank said. But they couldn’t afford to let perfectly good chicken go to waste. So instead, he asked Teressa to concoct some kind of new appetizer, and that’s when she came up with the Buffalo chicken wing.

Food for Friends

Now Dominic Bellisimo, Frank and Teressa’s son, offered a slightly different and more detailed version of the story when he took over management of the bar in the 1970s. According to Dom, the chicken wing came into existence very late on a Friday night during the season of Lent. A group of his friends arrived at the bar with ravenous appetites, so he asked his mom to prepare something special for them to eat at the stroke of midnight. According to Dom, Teressa deep fried some leftover chicken parts — wings — and flavored them with a secret hot sauce. She served them with celery and blue cheese dressing taken from the house antipasto salad.

We Are the Champions

Whichever version of the story you choose to believe, the outcome was the same. Teressa Bellisimo’s delicious innovation was an instant hit that evolved into a chicken wing phenomenon across America and the world. Right here in the home of the best wings in Philadelphia, the Wing Bowl was a Super Bowl weekend tradition for 26 years.

Thanks to our championship winning Eagles, you no longer have to be a competitive eater to appreciate a proper chicken wing. You know the ones: They’re cut in half to give you a drumstick and a flat, then deep-fried (without breading), and slathered in a sauce that makes you forget any semblance of manners. With six sauce options to suit any wing craving from traditional to sweet and tangy to “enfuego,” the best wings in Bucks County are served up fresh and crispy — and always with a side of blue cheese and celery.