BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Restaurants from around the globe made a pilgrimage to the world’s chicken wing mecca this weekend, showcasing a mix of traditional and unique flavors and competing for the honor of first place in several categories as voted by media members and wing experts.
Restaurants submitted entries in categories honoring traditional wing flavors — like hot, medium and BBQ — as well as more creative or unusual offerings. The winners list was as geographically diverse as the restaurant pool, with restaurants as far as Wyoming and even Iceland taking podium places alongside legendary Western New York joints like the Anchor Bar.
Here’s a list of eateries that took home prizes from this year’s judging panel as announced by the festival on social media. If we missed a category, email us at email@example.com.
Iceland restaurant wins Best in Show
The restaurant that took home the crown in the overall category of Best in Show came from perhaps an unlikely location: Reykjavík, Iceland. Just Wingin’ It won the prize for its lemon pepper cajun honey wing.
Just Wingin’ It’s co-owner, Justin Shouse, is from Erie, Pa. but moved to Iceland to play professional basketball. He told News 4 there were no good wings there, so after he retired from the game, he opened a food truck. He’s since expanded with two brick and mortar wing restaurants, one of which stands 500 feet away from where he played professional ball. This was their first year at Wing Fest, and Shouse was pumped to win.
Winners in other categories
- Legend Larry’s — Wisconsin
- Weitzel’s Wings a.k.a. Double Dub’s — Laramie, Wyo.
- The Blind Rhino — Norwalk, Conn.
Double Dub’s, a personal favorite of Bills quarterback Josh Allen dating back to his days playing college football in Wyoming, took second place in two categories including Best Hot.
- Anchor Bar — Buffalo, N.Y.
- Legend Larry’s
- The Dirty Buffalo — Norfolk, Va.
Best BBQ went to an iconic local spot: the birthplace of the Buffalo-style chicken wing, Anchor Bar.
Best Traditional Medium
- Wing It On! — Raleigh, N.C.
- Anchor Bar
- Legend Larry’s
Best Creative: Sweet
- Booty’s Wings Burgers Beer — Surprise, Ariz.
- Millie’s Cafe — Ottoville, Ohio
- Steelbound, Ellicottville, N.Y.
Best Creative: Spicy
- Booty’s Wings Burgers Beer
- Weitzel’s Wings a.k.a Double Dub’s
- The Blind Rhino
Best Dry Rub
- Center Street Grille — Enola, Pa.
- Wing It On!
- Millie’s Cafe
News 4’s Kelsey Anderson contributed to this report.
Justin McMullen is a Western New York native who joined the News 4 team in 2023. You can read more of his work here.