Duff’s

Review by: Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle

In the Buffalo world of wings, there’s Anchor Bar, which everyone in America knows about, there’s Duff’s, which everyone in Buffalo knows about, and then there’s just about every other restaurant and bar in the city (where most Buffalo wings are actually consumed).

Duff’s is often touted as the in-the-know alternative to over-the-hill Anchor. In our experience, Anchor is king-of-the-hill, not over it, serving the best chicken wings we’ve ever had. Duff’s is good, too, but the two places couldn’t be more different. While Anchor is an old tavern in an old downtown neighborhood, Duff’s is about sauce and scene, and pitchers of brew, served in a wing-dedicated eatery in the suburban northeast.

Duff’s sauce is legendary, with good reason. The viscous orange substance is hot, tart, and salty, and it clings to the wings in thick billows. This is good stuff. The house motto/warning, worn on the back of every waitress’ shirt, is “Medium Is HOT, Medium Hot Is VERY HOT, Hot Is VERY, VERY HOT”.

The wings are nicely fried, but with all that sauce poured over them, the crust tends to soften, and the taste of the chicken gets lost in a flavor tidal wave of pepper and vinegar. These wings are a vehicle for consuming great sauce. We find the medium hot to be about right, heat-wise, but a lower heat level (with presumably less sauce) might help bring the chicken/sauce ratio back into balance. Perhaps ordering the sauce on the side is another good approach. We saw one customer eating the wings sauceless, and they looked terrific.

The place is not big, and there is often a wait for a table. The waiting area has access to the bar, and to some electronic games and a TV to pass the time. The noise can be almost deafening, so be forewarned. Duff’s is very popular with college-age and younger customers, who can often be seen hanging around outside (it’s not clear if they’re waiting for a table, or just enjoying the scene). The other food we’ve tried has been ordinary at best. Stick to the wings.

Note: Check the Duff’s website for other branches.

Directions & Hours

11am - 9pm
  • Monday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM

What To Eat

20 Wings Medium Hot

DISH
Small Fries

DISH
Beef On Weck

DISH
Buffalo Wings

DISH

Duff’s Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of Duff’s?

2 Responses to “Duff’s”

byron coley

April 14th, 2014

This past weekend, on a drive to and from Chicago, I hit Anchor Bar on the way out and Duff’s on the way back. The idea was to have a fresh comparison between them. Duff’s wings were much meatier than Anchor’s. The batch of ten I ordered had enough content that I failed to thoroughly clean the last couple of bones in my order. The medium sauce is about the same heat level as the hot at Anchor, but it is much thicker and saltier as well. This means there is less crunch to the skin, and also that you get a whole lot thirstier than you would at Anchor. The wings are served with both celery and baby carrots, which is nice, but the blue cheese dressing seems to be mixed with mayo or something, and is sweeter and much more smoothly homogenous than I’d prefer.

The crowd when I arrived — at 2:00 PM on a Sunday — was largely college-aged, however, and I assume these salty/sweet highlights might well be geared towards the taste-bugs of a generation weaned on processed foods. The wings are quite good — no doubt about that — but the crunchier, less dressed wings at Anchor hit more of a note with me, as does the lighter, more piquant hot sauce. But I must say, comparing them back-to-back was the kind of thing I’d do on a regular basis if I lived around here!

Reply

Frank Percival

March 3rd, 2007

We recently moved back to Buffalo after living in Florida for over two years, and not once did we find a chicken wing that even resembled those from Duff’s in Buffalo, New York. Even so, every wing place down there claimed to be a Buffalo chicken wing. Duffs is the only place we have found with not only the absolute very best Buffalo chicken wings, but also great atmosphere, and you get your food within minutes of ordering.

When you first walk into the restaurant, the smell of the sauce is what grabs you first. Your mouth will begin to water immediately with anticipation. When your order arrives at your table you are delighted with the steam coming off of the wings, tantalizing your senses. The food looks great too. We always order medium wings and I am impressed with how gorgeous they look with the bright red color next to the crisp fresh green of the celery.

We missed Duff’s more than we missed some family members. I have to say that the weather does not keep us in Buffalo, but Duff’s is one of the best reasons we can think of to stay. Thanks for the great food and the great service.

Reply

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