Pick a place and its food and, sure enough, you'll discover a story that's a load-bearing pillar on which an entire facet of culture is built. And for Buffalo, N.Y., one of those cornerstones of local culture is the story of the Buffalo wing.
Not every piece of fried chicken covered in sauce is a Buffalo wing. The secret is in the sauce – the defining ingredient that sets this wing apart from the rest. Buffalo wing sauce is butter mixed with Frank's RedHot sauce – a simple two-part recipe.
Most Buffalo wing experts agree that a pivotal moment in the wing's history was one night in 1964. Teressa Bellissimo of Anchor Bar whipped up a plate of Buffalo wings for her son Dominic and his friends after they went out for an evening of drinking.
However, another important figure who influenced the Buffalo wing is an African-American chef named John Young who was frying up wings at his restaurant Wings'n Things before Anchor Bar. His wings were also saucy, coated in "mambo sauce."
The main difference, and where traditionalists would argue it's not a true Buffalo wing, is that Young's wings are breaded with sweet sauce as opposed to deep fried without breading and coated in a spicy sauce.
Bellissimo's individuality can be seen in her choice of Frank's RedHot sauce as the official Buffalo wing sauce. In an interview with Anchor Bar's hot sauce supplier, Bovino says that Bellissimo only picked the sauce based off of its name.
"Her husband's name was Frank," explains Bovino, "she walked into the grocery store and picked Frank's RedHot Sauce for no other reason except it had her husband's name on it."
Over 50 years later, Buffalo wings can be found everywhere; not just in Buffalo, but in bars and restaurants across the country. The flavor has also found its way into other foods like Buffalo chips, Buffalo poutine and even Buffalo ramen.