Chicken Wings
Chicken Wings

Buffalo and Beyond

Cheapism Choice-Best Chicken WingsThere is no denying America's love of chicken wings. Americans eat more than a billion chicken wings during Super Bowl celebrations alone, according to the National Chicken Council. Yet the nation's palate has expanded beyond fried, barbecued, and butter-and-hot-sauce-dipped wings to include Thai chili, thin Korean batter, and Jamaican jerk varieties. There is no one recipe for chicken wings in the U.S., which is why we've laid out a road map to the best wing spots in all 50 states.

Related: Eat These Gut-Busting Appetizers at Your Own Risk

Baumhower's in Alabama
Baumhower's Victory Grille/Yelp

Alabama: Baumhower's

Multiple locations
Wings to get: Buffalo, Lemon Pepper, and Jamaican Jerk

In a state with culinary tradition as diverse as Alabama's, there is no consensus on what makes a good wing. Fried wings, smoked wings, Jamaican jerk chicken ... there's a lot to process. Former Miami Dolphins nose tackle Bob Baumhower brought the Buffalo wing to this state in 1981, but his Baumhower's restaurants offer perhaps the broadest sampling of Alabama's wing repertoire. Note that prices have gone up exponentially due to a shortage of wings, but the company says it's only temporary.

Related: Best Hole-in-the-Wall Spots for Fried Chicken in Every State

Alaska: 907 Wingman
Andrew H./Yelp

Alaska: 907 Wingman

Wings to get: Flame or Lemongrass
Alaska doesn't have a whole lot of options when it comes to wings, nor is it particularly known for its chicken dishes. The folks at 907 Wingman get a bit more experimental than the competition by emphasizing heat, varying its milder sauces, and enhancing the menu at its tiny spot with smoothies, teas, and other meaty offerings. Maybe after the coronavirus it will revive its classic wing-joint gimmick: Customers can win $500 by eating 15 of its hottest "Explosive" wings in seven minutes. Currently takeout only.

Related: 31 Belly-Busting Food Challenges That Offer Winners a Free Meal

Arizona: ATL Wings
Eric W./Yelp

Arizona: ATL Wings

Multiple locations
Wings to get: ATL Style
Arizona has a diverse array of wing options, with heavy emphasis on Asian styles. But when it came to finding consensus on the state's trademark wing, the ATL Wings mini chain came through. You're going to see a lot of sauces on this list, but the ATL Style wings with their dry rub, crispy skin, and unique blend of spices is best enjoyed with no sauce at all. 

For more great restaurant guides and dining tips,
please sign up for our free newsletters.

Arkansas: Foghorn's
Kent A./Yelp

Arkansas: Foghorn's

Wings to get: Acid Rain and Habanero Sweet BBQ
There are now six locations of this wing-centric chain along Interstate 49, but Foghorn's roots as a sports bar catering to University of Arkansas students and fans still comes through. The televisions are big, the chain gives off a kind of Hooters-lite vibe, but the wings and their 50 accompanying sauces remain. If the Razorbacks don't put up much of a fight, the fiery, flavorful wing offerings will.

Related:20 College-Town Restaurants That Are Worth a Splurge

California: Ye Rustic Inn
Gigi D./Yelp

California: Ye Rustic Inn

Los Angeles
Wings to get: Medium-Spicy
This place looks like it did on opening day in 1971, though by now Ye Rustic Inn has achieved the coveted status of dive bar — one treasured by insiders for its cheap, yet meaty and perfectly sauced and seasoned wings. (And, in better times, pitchers of beer to go with them.) No fancy sauces and varieties on this stripped-down menu. Just get the wings crispy and medium spicy, with a side of vinegar-based hot sauce to customize. 

Related: The 17 Spiciest Foods Around the World

Colorado: Ace Eat Serve
Regina W./Yelp

Colorado: Ace Eat Serve

Wings to get: Tiger Wings
Colorado has an abundance of hot wings, barbecue wings, and sweet Asian-influenced wings, but Ace Eat Serve's triple-fried wings with sweet-and-salty fish sauce tilted the axis of Colorado's wing world. The kitchen-sink cocktails are a nice complement, but we can't recommend them if you're going to try the $15-an-hour happy hour pingpong. The table tennis gets awfully serious here.

Connecticut: J. Timothy's
Courtney V./Yelp

Connecticut: J. Timothy's

Wings to get: Buffalo Dirt Wings
The building dates back to 1789, it's been a tavern since 1795, and it's been in its current incarnation since 1985. But its "Dirt Wing" method of frying its wings, saucing them, frying them and saucing them again breathed new life into the Buffalo wing and keeps it a standout even as J. Timothy's remaining wing menu drifts toward teriyaki and Thai chili. With reserved beer taps for nearby Beer'd, Relic, Firefly Hollow, and New England Brewing as well as multiple televisions for folks sitting in the gray area between Yankees and Red Sox country, J. Timothy's has given Buffalo's wings a decidedly Nutmeg State flavor.

2 Fat Guys American Grill in Delaware
Norry H./Yelp

Delaware: 2 Fat Guys American Grill

Multiple locations
Wings to get: Triple Play and PB&J
Founded as a catering company in 2004, 2 Fat Guys American Grill expanded on the back of its steak burgers, ribs, and wings. Its Buffalo sauce are combined with a bourbon barbecue and poached pear and molasses sauces to make the Triple Play. As for the PB&J, don't get too grossed out: Grape jelly finds its way into some of the better barbecue sauces (including this one), while the peanut butter simply evens it all out.

House of Wings in Miami, Florida
Adam S./Yelp

Florida: House of Wings

Wings to get: Jerk
Florida is a massive state with no dearth of wing joints, but Miami is absolutely saturated with them. The best of the bunch lean heavily on a crisp, charred exterior and house sauces and dry rubs, but House of Wings has been throwing everything it has at its wings since 2003. Its sauce menu features dozens of dry rubs (lemon pepper, Cajun), barbecue sauces (honey hickory smoke, habanero mango), sweet sauces (sweet and sour, Jamaican wine), savory sauces (mumbo sauce, bourbon) and hot sauces. But this combination of jerk seasonings and Buffalo sauce stands out from the pack.

Georgia: Jamal's Buffalo Wings
Blissful G./Yelp

Georgia: Jamal's Buffalo Wings

Wings to get: Buffalo or Lemon Pepper
For 23 years, Jamal's Buffalo Wings operated out of an actual shack in the shadow of the Georgia Dome. It moved in 2017 into a larger, full-service restaurant, but the foil trays of spicy Buffalo wings, crispy (but not overly salty) lemon-pepper wings, and crinkle-cut fries remain.

Related: Best Hole-in-the-Wall Spots for Fried Chicken in Every State

Hale Vietnam in Honolulu, Hawaii
Eurina C./Yelp

Hawaii: Hale Vietnam

Wings to get: Stuffed Chicken Wings
Hale Vietnam makes exactly one chicken wing, but it chose well. Based on a recipe the chef encountered in Vietnam more than 30 years ago, these wings are deboned and stuffed with ground pork, carrots, and long-grain rice before being lightly breaded and pan-fried. They're served with fish sauce, but a peanut satay is also available. 

Related: The Best of Hawaii on a Budget

Barbacoa in Boise, Idaho
Barbacoa Grill/Yelp

Idaho: Barbacoa

Wings to get: Hibachi Wings
Wings are a tough proposition in Idaho. When you aren't being pointed toward a national chain, you're being told about pub's wings that are billed on the menu as "Buffalo's Anchor Bar Wings." Boise is a long way from Buffalo, but the Latin/South American fusion restaurant Barbacoa will actually bring you wings on a tiny hibachi grill on a board accompanied by polenta logs and "Latin dipping sauce." It's the most unique wing option in a state that doesn't have many.

Related: From Barbacoa to Yakitori: 25 Barbecue Styles From Around the World

Illinois: The Fifty/50
David Z./Yelp

Illinois: The Fifty/50

Wings to get: Buffalo or Applewood Smoked
Any sports bar in Chicago can get people in to stare at a Blackhawks or Bulls game, drink Goose Island, and stick around for the DJ set. Fifty/50 puts more into it, with a Buffalo sauce that ages eight months and takes on a hint of honey, while the hormone-free wings' breading is made up of whole-wheat flour, cracker meal, and a custom spice mix. The Applewood Smoked wings are brined in maple and cinnamon and served with maple-bourbon barbecue glaze or sweet chili cilantro. All that effort gave a three-story sports bar the best wing in Chicago despite plenty of competition. (There's also a French onion wing with a shallot crunch and a brie Mornay sauce.)

The Ale Emporium in Indianapolis, Indiana
John C./Yelp

Indiana: The Ale Emporium

Wings to get: The Hermanaki Wings
This wasn't really close. Ale Emporium has become synonymous with Indiana wings, reducing the dozens of beers on tap (including from Indiana brewers) to a footnote. So what do the locals eat while watching the Pacers, Colts, or March Madness? The Hemanaki wings, named after the owner and involving dry rub and a final grilling after a trip through the fryer.

Related: Top 25 U.S. Cities for Craft Beer

Iowa: Jimmy Jack's Rib Shack
Kevin M./Yelp

Iowa: Jimmy Jack's Rib Shack

Iowa City
Wings to get: Original BBQ
Taking the barbecue approach, Jimmy Jack's coats its wings in house rub, smokes them for 2½ hours over hickory, and fries them once they're ordered. You can get a Buffalo-style sauce if you'd like, but the tangy, vinegar-based original just feels more appropriate.

Related: Bucket List Barbecue in Every State

Kansas: Bigg's Ribs
Cimmy R./Yelp

Kansas: Bigg's Ribs

Wings to get: Bigg Buffalo Wings
Bigg's Ribs near the University of Kansas puts its smoker on display outside and lets customers know just how it's going to go down. The wings here are massive, treated with Bigg's own rub and smoked before getting their sauce. Barbecue sauce isn't even offered as an option, so you're getting a take on Buffalo wings that's specific to Jayhawks country.

Kentucky: Chicken King
Shelby Z./Yelp

Kentucky: Chicken King

Wings to get: Spicy Party Wings
The state that lent KFC its name is swamped with chicken chains. Chicken King has Buffalo wings, but just as you wouldn't go to Buffalo to sample fried chicken, it's kind of odd to come to Kentucky and bypass the chicken that the state made famous. Chicken King isn't the biggest chicken place in the state, but its wealth of spices and huge portions make it hard to miss.

Wing Snack in New Orleans, Louisiana
Emiel B./Yelp
Gritty McDuff's in Maine

Maine: Gritty McDuff's

Multiple locations
Wings to get: Black Fly Stout BBQ or Salt and Vinegar Dry Rub
Founders Ed Stebbins and Richard Pfeffer opened their first brewpub in Portland in 1988 and watched the city turn into a beer mecca all its own. While Gritty McDuff's may not get the same beer-geek love as its neighbors at Allagash or Bissell Brothers, it's been cranking out its Best Bitter and Black Fly Stout for 30 years while not-so-secretly making the best wings in the state. At three locations in Maine, Gritty's treats its customers to wings tossed in Buffalo, Thai chili, teriyaki, "berry me slowly" extra hot sauce and cinnamon chipotle or Cajun dry rubs. We're partial to the beer in the barbecue sauce and the simplicity of a salt-and-vinegar rub.

Kislings Tavern in Baltimore, Maryland
Demond S./Yelp

Maryland: Kisling's Tavern

Wings to get: Honey Old Bay
Putting the Mid-Atlantic's favorite crab seasoning on wings in a state synonymous with blue crab was a stroke of genius, but we give Kisling's Tavern even more credit for just flat-out using "" as its website. Kislings thinks enough of its standard sauce to bottle it, but its master stroke was taking the red pepper flake, paprika, and celery salt of Old Bay seasoning, cutting it with honey and applying it to wings. A more than 20-year-old wing joint doesn't stay around that long by missing the simple connections, and that was a big one to make in this region.

The Hangar in Amherst, Massachusetts
Maxwell R./Yelp

Massachusetts: The Hangar

Wings to get: Jet Fuel and Sweet Chili
We know about the locations in Greenfield and Westfield. But any UMass student who's ever ordered 60-wing B-17s with their friends, played in the arcade, or ordered a pint from the in-house brewery Amherst Brewing knows why generations of alumni love The Hangar. It launched dozens of Wings Over pickup and delivery locations across the country, but there's still nothing like the occasional homecoming.

Related: 31 Bars With Arcades That Are Worth Your Quarters

Sweetwater Tavern in Detroit, Michigan
Jon R./Yelp

Michigan: Sweetwater Tavern

Wings to get: Sweetwater Wings
There's rarely consensus about a state's best wing, but just about every ranking within Michigan and out puts Sweetwater Wings at the top of the pile. The reason is simple: Using chicken from the Eastern Market, Sweetwater Tavern bathes its wings in a secret sauce for 24 hours before dousing them in spice and frying them up. All of the ingredients above leach deep into the wings that make it into your table, leaving hints of spice and vinegar. They'll offer you celery and blue cheese, but you won't need the latter. This is just barbecue technique executed to perfection.

Psycho Suzi's in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Ross A./Yelp

Minnesota: Psycho Suzi's

Wings to get: Polynesian Wings or Dry Rub Wings
A sprawling complex of faithfully replicated Tiki theme bars, Psycho Suzi's (which rebrands as Mary’s Christmas Palace for the final three months of the year) would have every right to be more focused on decor and potent drinks served in bowls than on the food menu. But the brown sugar and nutmeg dry rub and the sweet Polynesian sauce with green onions make for some of the more creative wing entries on this list. You can try them alone and forget you're in Minnesota for a while, or have the Dry Rub Wings as part of a pu pu platter of cheese curds, pickle roll-ups, cocktail smokies, and tater tots to remind yourself just how far from the islands you are.

Supreme Hot Wings in Southaven, Mississippi
Ted C./Yelp

Mississippi: Supreme Hot Wings

Wings to get: Seasoned or Honey Hot
Southaven has multiple wing joints, but Supreme Hot Wings points out that there's one downside to making wings in Mississippi: They often share a fryer with catfish. This is why Supreme Hot Wings puts its chicken, fries, and catfish in separate fryers and feels confident enough to offer a sauce-free version of its wings. Made with only its house-concocted seasoning, those wings stand out among a lineup of sauce options that can easily be found elsewhere.

Missouri: The Peanut
David P./Yelp

Missouri: The Peanut

Kansas City
Wings to get: Buffalo
The Peanut likes to remind people that it's been around since 1933 and has the oldest liquor license in Kansas City, but its wings are a somewhat newer development. The massive wings are peppered, deep fried, and dipped in a house-made sauce, served with house-made blue cheese that, like the sauce, is available to take home. In the barbecue-heavy state of Missouri, The Peanut gives tremendous respect to the Buffalo wing.

Related: 30 Historic Dive Bars Across the Country

Double Front Chicken in Missoula, Montana
Samuel M./Yelp

Montana: Double Front Chicken

Wings to get: Spicy Hot
Montana is not exactly wing country. You can count the number of the state's independent wing joints on your hands, and few would resemble anything a visitor from the South or Northeast would see at home. A standout: The Double Front, built in 1909 and possibly home to a bootlegging operation before selling its first chicken in 1935, which offers its own take on wings. It cooks everything to order and uses house-made batter. That's not a quick process, but if you get impatient, there's an underground bar through the Double Front's second entrance where you can kill time (depending on current coronavirus rules).

Addy's in Omaha, Nebraska
Rob G./Yelp

Nebraska: Addy's

Wings to get: Hot or Hot Ranch
Omaha has its own approach to wings. The "char-buffed" method at the city's eateries involves frying the wings, dipping them in sauce, grilling them and, in some cases, dipping them again. Addy's, for example, will char-buff and dip your wings again for an extra $1. In a packed sports bar with the Cornhuskers game on, we can't recommend making that big a stink about the sauce.

Nevada: Wing King
Raina H./Yelp

Nevada: Wing King

Las Vegas
Wings to get: Sweet Chili Jerk and Brown Sugar BBQ Dry Rub
With exactly 100 sauces, dry rubs and "fusion" combinations to choose from, Wing King has easily the most diverse array of offerings on this list. Sure, there's Spicy Raspberry Cheesecake sauce and a rub that mimics Cool Ranch Doritos, but the Buffalo and barbecue basics are also here for those easily overwhelmed in Sin City.

Related: 20 Bucket List Restaurants in Las Vegas

New Hampshire: Wing-Itz
Kent S./Yelp

New Hampshire: Wing-itz

Wings to get: Southern Style
There are about 30 sauces to choose from here, but we aren't going to recommend any. Instead, we're going to suggest you get your wings fried up extra crispy and see if you can taste the difference a fresh chicken makes. Since 2007, Wing-itz has butchered its own antibiotic-free, hormone-free chickens and cut its wings fresh daily. 

Sharky's in Clifton, New Jersey
Kristina S./Yelp

New Jersey: Sharky's

Wings to get: Hot or Chili Lime
New Jersey has a wealth of wings, but it keeps them obscured from view. Tucked in a sprawling New York City suburb just off the spaghetti-bowl intersection of three major roadways, Sharky's is a neighborhood place that makes its own wing sauces including Old Bay, Pineapple Habanero and Salt & Vinegar. 

Big D's Downtown Dive in Roswell, New Mexico
Tiffany C./Yelp

New Mexico: AJ's Wings

Wings to get: Teriyaki or Honey Chipotle BBQ 
A former food truck that grew into a full-fledged restaurant on the strength of juicy wings. AJ's Wings' signature menu items don't stint on crispiness before coming drenched in 16 kinds of sauce or a mixture of any — most on the sweet side (even the Mango Habanero), at least before you venture into Ghost Pepper territory.

New York: Duff's Famous Wings
Sauton T./Yelp

New York: Duff's Famous Wings

Multiple locations
Wings to get: Between Mild and Medium Hot
If you go to Buffalo, you'll be reminded at the airport and in the city about how the Anchor Bar bestowed the butter-and-Franks-Red-Hot-slathered Buffalo wing upon the world in 1964. What you'll likely hear more of, if you listen carefully to the locals, is pitched debate over which is better: Anchor Bar's wings or Duff's, which made its first wings just north of Buffalo in Amherst, New York, in 1969. We're going to side with the meatier, similarly spicy Duff's. Now the official wing partner of the Buffalo Bills, Duff's has expanded to several locations in New York, as well as outposts in Texas and Canada. Note that, due to an uptick in the price of products and labor, the cost of making wings has more than doubled recently, so prices are temporarily higher.

Related: Beloved Local Eats That Can Be Shipped to Your Doorstep

Moosehead Grill in Charlotte, North Carolina
Nikki W./Yelp

North Carolina: Moosehead Grill

Wings to get: Uncle Donnie's Famous Blackened Wings and Hemo-Goblins
There is no room for complacency when making wings in Charlotte. A North Carolina address is no guarantee that customers will like your barbecue, while introducing a Korean, Thai, or Vietnamese take on your menu will only bring the crowds if you execute it correctly. Moosehead Grill walks that line deftly by sticking to its regional legacy with blackened chicken and chipotle barbecue, but bringing into the mix flavors such as blood orange and ghost pepper.

Sickies Garage in North Dakota
Sickies Garage Burgers & Brews/Yelp

North Dakota: Sickies Garage

Multiple locations
Wings to get: Jameson Sauce and Kickin' Bourbon
The original Sickies Garage in Bismarck looks like an actual garage and gas station, while the other locations look as if they've taken over vacant Ruby Tuesdays or Carrabba's locations. (There's also one in Las Vegas.) Yet the aesthetics matter little once wing-craving patrons see the more than 20-deep list of wing varieties. Just about everyone is doing Thai Peanut, Teriyaki, and Barbecue, but spiking wing sauce with booze such as Jameson, Fireball, and an unnamed bourbon is a bold move for this growing chain.

Fat Head's in Cleveland, Ohio
Jen Z./Yelp

Ohio: Fat Head's

Multiple Locations
Wings to get: Fat Head's Dry Rub and Fat Head's Original Buffalo
This Great Lakes brewpub chain shuttered a location in Portland, Oregon, but only because that market wasn't as enthusiastic about its menu as fans in Ohio and Pittsburgh. While known at all its locations for a solid lineup of German-style beers and more U.S.-friendly experimental batches, Fat Head's wins hearts and minds in its home region by making massive portions of sandwiches and wings. Be warned that a little garlic-parm or honey chipotle goes a long way on Fat Head's chicken-sized wings. 

Related: Great American Beer Gardens

Oklahoma: Wing Supreme
Alex D./Yelp

Oklahoma: Wing Supreme

Oklahoma City
Wings to get: Teri-Que and Honey Love
It's an Oklahoma City staple as of 2015, but this wing spot was founded in Washington, D.C., by two Howard University students almost 30 years ago. The fact that Old Bay remains a menu option despite blue crabs being a half a continent away suggests the transition isn't quite finished at Wing Supreme. But is it really so bad to give Oklahoma a taste of D.C.'s wings-and-sides combo culture? Apparently not, as Oklahoma City seems quite content with its Teri-Que wings and helpings of macaroni and cheese.

Oregon: White Elephant Asian Fusion
Shelly S./Yelp

Oregon: White Elephant Asian Fusion

Wings to get: Uncle Og’s Sticky Icky
White Elephant Asian Fusion is a family-owned food cart specializing in Lao, Thai, and Vietnamese street eats, with wings that come naked or with seven sauce options, most on the sweet side (Peanutty, Teriyaki Sesame, and even the Mango Habanero and Sriracha Mayo). You'll want to experiment with the more distinctly Asian-style sauces, including Salt & Pepper and Saigon (with a Vietnamese fish sauce) — and not miss the family's signature Uncle Og’s Sticky Icky Wings, which is based in a savory Laotian fish sauce.

Bigham Tavern in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Kalina W./Yelp

Pennsylvania: Bigham Tavern

Wings to get: Coyote (ranch and cayenne rub) and Lou-Q (barbecue and bourbon)
Bigham Tavern has more than 30 sauces for its wings, with about 10 of them are some variation on "hot" — great for eaters who love ascending the Scoville scale. That still leaves plenty of offerings for folks who might want more subtlety. Bigham Tavern takes great pride in mixing and matching its flavors to come up with combinations that work for different palates, and is at its best when it brings a flavor such as the balanced Coyote into existence.

Tomaselli's at Rosario in Providence, Rhode Island
Beth H./Yelp

Rhode Island: Tomaselli's at Rosario

Wings to get: Pink Vodka and Chicken Parmigiana
Setting up shop in an Italian-American club, Tomaselli's doesn't fit a wing-joint mold. There's Buffalo sauce, barbecue sauce, and other familiar wing standards on the menu, but there are also some strong deviations. The French Toast and Buffacue wings are a fine start, but using Caesar dressing, balsamic vinegar, garlic parmigiana, red pepper relish, and other familiar Italian-American culinary fixtures gives this wing joint an identity and sense of place that dozens of other places emulating Buffalo will never have.

Related: 51 Best Old-School Italian Restaurants in America

Hubee D's in Charleston, South Carolina
Jed M./Yelp

South Carolina: Hubee D's

Wings to get: Dry Rub
Hubee D's won't be rushed, but will give you some options. Its wings are smoked for hours over hickory until they are ready to fall off of the bone. Then they are served dry-rub style with nothing but celery sticks, ranch, or blue cheese. It's worth the wait, but for those who just can't stand the sight of a naked wing, Hubee D's offers Low-Country Buffalo, Old Edisto Honey Barbecue, Black Tie Bourbon, and Wadmalaw Island Jerk sauces.

South Dakota: 212 Boiling Point
Kody K./Yelp

South Dakota: 212 Boiling Point

Wings to get: Gold or Sweet Heat Dry Rub
Just outside of Sioux Falls is this gem — ready for a coronavirus-free race season with 17 screens as well as video lottery, video games, and a digital jukebox that makes 212 Boiling Point less of an event space than a neighborhood hangout. That explains the dedication to the wings, whose complement of 10 sauces is bolstered by dry rubs using Frank's Red Hot and a mixture of Parmesan and garlic.

Prince's Hot Chicken
Jeff D./Yelp

Tennessee: Prince's Hot Chicken

Wings to get: 3 Whole Wings
Thorton Prince is credited with creating Nashville Hot Chicken during the Depression, and his namesake Prince's Hot Chicken eateries are still in family hands. The spicy dry-rubbed, battered, and fried chicken that's become a Nashville calling card (even for some Kentucky-born chicken chains) scorches unwitting eaters with a blend of paprika and cayenne, which means Prince's customers have to use their slice of bread and pickles judiciously.

Related: Best Fried Chicken Sandwiches in America

Wayne's Wings in San Antonio, Texas
Steph C./Yelp

Texas: Wayne's Wings

San Antonio
Wings to get: Jacob and Funnel Cake
All of the examples so far show just how many options wing places have used just to distance themselves from competitors and stay relevant. Wayne's Wings somehow managed to find the ones they missed. While still using Buffalo, barbecue, garlic, parmesan, lemon pepper, and other go-to wing sauces and spices, Wayne's manages to blend Sriracha, cilantro, and lime into a palatable wing, while giving other wings the state fair treatment with funnel-cake batter and powdered sugar. By chasing flavor rather than pure kick or burn, Wayne's found a way to bring new elements into the wing shop without evicting its essence.

The Wing Coop
Joshua S./Yelp

Utah: The Wing Coop

Salt Lake City
Wings to get: Loco Lime and Peanut Curry
It's just a little strip-mall wing shop with not a whole lot of ambiance, but that's where some of the great wings on this list have been made. The greatness of Wing Coop lies in the things it didn't have to do — such as use fresh pineapple and Sriracha in its Spicy Teriyaki sauce, actual chipotle peppers in its Raspberry Chipotle, and coconut milk in the Peanut Curry. That it does this indicates just how much potential this place has.

Vermont: Reuben James
Minh-An C./Yelp

Vermont: Ruben James

Wings to get: General Tso's and Curry Ginger Dry Rub
Ruben James set itself up long before coronavirus as a sports bar with 11 televisions (including one roughly the size of the bar), trivia, bands, and drink specials. So a simple lineup of Buffalo and barbecue wing sauces likely would've gotten the job done. But it also offers garlic, Thai chili, and spicy Szechuan sauces, and even something called Kitchen Sink. Combine that with the 10 beers on tap from Zero Gravity, Fiddlehead, Switchback, and other Vermont breweries, and you have a sports bar with a kitchen that's playing well over its head.

Jimmy's Old Town Tavern in Herndon, Virginia
Michael T./Yelp

Virginia: Jimmy's Old Town Tavern

Wings to get: Buffalo
It's a bit of Buffalo in Virginia without moving a Duff's or some lake-effect snow into the area. Jimmy, Maureen, and Kelsey Cirrito opened this place more than 20 years ago, with Jimmy using the wing sauce recipe from the Anchor Bar in his native Buffalo. Not only did it take off, but Jimmy's Old Town Tavern had to expand into a large adjacent space just to keep up with demand. Is it a Virginia wing? No, but when you draw enough Buffalo folks to sell that many wings and become a Buffalo Bills bar, there's no reason to change course.

Hue Ki Mi Gia in Seattle, Washington
Peter C./Yelp

Washington: Hue Ky Mi Gia

Wings to get: Fried Butter Garlic Wings
Hue Ky Mi Gia would likely still be living a quiet existence as a Chinese-Vietnamese noodle house if not for the Seattle Seahawks introducing these "crack wings" at CenturyLink Field a few years back. Crunchy and meaty with salty bits of scallion and chiles mixed in, these are the wings Hue Ki Mi Gia was never supposed to be known for. We're glad the secret is out.

West Virginia: Pies & Pints
Ron P./Yelp

West Virginia: Pies & Pints

Wings to get: Gorgonzola 
Yes, it's a multistate chain. But the Pies & Pints on Capitol Street (the second site to open) knows what it's doing. The char-grilled wings from the appetizer menu come dry rubbed and smacking of Sriracha, garlic, lime, and cilantro. They're served with a gorgonzola sauce for a wing good enough that customers make up words to describe it. "The wings are literally THE BEST I have eaten in my life," one wrote on Yelp. "Get the wings. GET THE WINGS. IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, GET THE ANGELIC, OTHER-WORLDLY, SCRUMPTRULESCANT WINGS!"

Related: Best Hole-in-the-Wall Pizza Joints Across America

Chicken Lips in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
Alan K./Yelp

Wisconsin: Chicken Licks

Sun Prairie
Wings to get: Dry Rub Wings
On a country road just outside of Madison, this little bar has been packing in the customers based largely on its dry rub wings. The dry rub contains 23 ingredients and has been so popular that customers have asked for it on their fries and tater tots. Chicken Licks — until 2019 called Chicken Lips — is a cash-only establishment where the sides still (thankfully) include cheese curds and whose publicity has all come from word of mouth. It's a minor miracle, with major wait times.

Wyoming: Eleanor's Bar
Hannah G./Yelp

Wyoming: Eleanor's ... Still

Wings to get: Buffalo or Honey Chili Garlic
In a bustling resort town that's quickly outgrowing its blue-collar beginnings, Eleanor's is a comforting, reliable standby. "Stan's Famous Jumbo Wings" have all of six sauces and are still regularly named the best wing in town despite some strong, artisanal competition.