The Best Chicken Wings in Every State

PHOTO: Baked chicken wings with sesame seeds and sweet chili sauce. (photo courtesy of DronG/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
Scott Hartbeck
by Scott Hartbeck
Last updated: 11:15 AM ET, Mon April 9, 2018

Alabama: Jefferson's

Jefferson's has been serving up wings since 1991 and it has since grown to several locations throughout the great state of Alabama. Their wings come fried in a spectacular spectrum of sauces and regulars also adore their devilish Double Dipped option-wings fried, coated in hot sauce and refried for added flavor.

Alaska: Big Daddy's

Big Daddy's isn't your typical "Buffalo wings and big screens" kind of place (not that there's anything wrong with that.) This down-home venue in fascinating Fairbanks claims to the be the home of the northernmost Southern barbecue in America and they shine with their range of house-smoked wings.

Arizona: Long Wong's

Long Wong's is one of a kind and they've been dishing up deep-fried goodness for more than 25 years. There are a few locations scattered around the vacation-paradise of Phoenix, with the restaurant on E. Thomas Road being the best place to sample their quirky "spicy-and-divey" atmosphere.

Arkansas: Chicken Wang's Cafe

This casual cafe in emerging travel hotspot Little Rock specializes in serving hot and spicy wings alongside crispy fried fish. Expect the wings here to be tossed in your choice of homemade sauce and paired up with a couple slices of white bread.

California: Ye Rustic Inn

Los Angeles' Ye Rustic Inn will never be mixed up with your neighborhood T.J. McFunsters. This is an authentic American dive bar that just so happens to also knock out sensational wings. They keep things simple here by only offering four sauces with the option of regular, crispy or extra crispy finish.

Colorado: Grillin' Wings

This venue in cool-as-can-be Denver puts a slightly different spin on wings. Grillin' Wings finishes off their deep-fried-and-already-sauced flappers on the flame grill, which gives them just a kiss of smokiness and a unique texture. Classic deep-fried wings are available on request.

Connecticut: J. Timothy's Taverne

This Plainville, Connecticut pub is housed in a building that dates all the way back to 1789. While their "Dirt Style" wings don't have as rich of a heritage, they have still managed to make a little history. These wings are fried, doused with sauce and then dipped again to reach caramelized perfection-a method purportedly invented at J. Timothy's.

Delaware: Smitty McGee's

This Irish bar sits steps from the sea on gorgeous Fenwick Island, Delaware, so it should come as no surprise that an island-themed wing has become one of their staples. While they will definitely do you right if you stick to the classic Buffalo, it's the sweet and spicy Key West variety that has them coming for miles.

Florida: Shenanigan's

Venturing out of Miami Beach can help make a South Florida trip special, and Hollywood is one of the best destinations for wing lovers. There, you'll find Shenanigan's serving up jumbos and offering an array of ways to enjoy them. Choose between a classic deep-fried wing in a range of sauces or choose to have them grilled and served either blackened or "Italian style".

Georgia: J.R. Crickets

If it's good enough for Paper Boi and Darius from Atlanta, it's good enough for the rest of us. J.R. Crickets has been synonymous with hot wings in hip Atlanta since 1982 and fresh off their TV appearance, they have added a Lemon Pepper Wet option (the "secret" option the characters get hooked up with on the show) to the menu.

Hawaii: Dirty Lickin's

You will find this wing spot in an unassuming strip mall on the outskirts of always-happening Honolulu. Dirty Lickin's specializes in classic, Buffalo-style cluckers and they cover them with an array of sauce flavors that range from Mild to Volcanic.

Idaho: City Limits

Idaho is hot with travelers right now and on the fringes of the historic mining town of Wallace, you will find this welcoming brewpub. City Limits serves fine beer beside bodacious boneless chicken wings tossed in standard sauces or new school zingers like garlic parmesan.

Illinois: Bird's Nest

Tourists are flocking to Chicago and wing nuts are heading straight for the Bird's Nest near DePaul University. They slather their wings in a signature hot sauce but also throw modern sauce lovers a bone with sweet delights like Teriyaki and Honey BBQ.

Indiana: Peanut's

From a humble beginning, Peanut's in Fort Wayne has become famed for its wings and grown their menu to now include multiple sauce options. Try the Sriracha Ranch-featuring homemade Ranch dressing-or stick to a classic coating.

Iowa: Filling Station

The Filling Station resides in a down-home roadside location in Davenport, Iowa. They've been pleasing people here since 1971 and you'd be hard-pressed to find better hot wings anywhere in the Hawkeye State. They make a mean order of classic hot wings, but it's the breaded variety that is regarded as the best.

Kansas: The Peanut

The Peanut and their enormous whole wings are an institution in the ridiculously-underrated Kansas City region. At both of their locations in Kansas (Overland Park and Shawnee mission), you can expect heaping platefuls of fresh-fried flappers served up with a side of Midwest friendliness.

Kentucky: Knuk-N-Futz

This slightly irreverent eating establishment in Northern Kentucky takes its wings very, very seriously. They will set you up with either bone-in or boneless wings dipped in a selection of sauces that ranges from Carolina and Caribbean-inspired to classic Buffalo.

Louisiana: Bayou Hot Wings

Located in foodie heaven New Orleans, Bayou has made a name for itself in a short amount of time with its Louisiana-laced take on chicken wings. Fittingly, their signature sauce is made with local favorite Crystal hot sauce and they also do a variety of other flavors like Korean BBQ and Pepper Jelly.

Maine: Binga's Wingas

Binga's has multiple locations in the gorgeous state of Maine, and they all serve up their signature range of tasty wings. You can enjoy them boneless or traditional-style (both tossed in a crazy collection of homemade sauces) or go for smoked- which comes sprinkled with a dry-rub.

Maryland: Annapolis Smokehouse

The clue is in the name here, as this venue in one of America's most historic cities serves up delicious smoked wings. After finishing a special four-step process, the wings are served up plain or tossed in a range of homemade sauces, which includes an addicting Alabama White Sauce.

Massachusetts: DJ's Famous Wings

DJ's has been dishing up authentic Buffalo-style wings in summer heaven Cape Cod since 1989. They specialize in classic "crispy-fried and sauced" wings but also offer extra-crispy and under-crispy versions. Highlights of their sauce selection include flavorful Buffalo Garlic and punchy Peanut Butter & Jelly.

Michigan: Sweetwater Tavern

Detroit is one of America's most underrated foodie cities and Sweetwater is one of its standouts. Each morning, wings arrive fresh from the city's Eastern Market and these beauties are then fried-up and served in a classic Buffalo sauce to the delight of the masses.

Minnesota: Runyon's

Runyon's elegant high ceilings and colorful vintage floor tiles make it feel like it's been in Minneapolis since Prohibition. In reality, they opened up shop in the 80s and thank goodness no one has ever tried to prohibit the sale of their classic wings served up with crave-worthy blue cheese.

Mississippi: Old School Hot Wings

Turn off legendary Highway 61 in Walls, Mississippi and you'll find this unassuming hot wing hotspot. Old School may not look like much from the outside, but soon after entering the door, you'll be munching down on what might just be Mississippi's best-kept secret.

Missouri: Culpepper's

While St. Louis is home to several unique foods, they still love their chicken wings. Culpepper's was one of the first venues in the city to gain fame for wings and their flagship location in the Central West End is still the best place to dig in.

Montana: Desperado Sports Tavern

Big Sky Country loves its Buffalo wings and Desperado Sports tavern in Missoula will set your taste buds ablaze with their signature Sissy Sauce. It manages to straddle the fine line of heat and spice that so many other places manage to get wrong.

Nebraska: Oscar's

This friendly bar & grill in Omaha know how to do wings. Three ways, primarily: traditional, char-buffed and double-dipped. The Char-Buffed has picked up a cult following as a quick a turn on the grill manages to meld the sauce flavor into the meat wonderfully.

Nevada: Johnny Mac's

When folks from Upstate New York move across the country, they take their wing knowledge with them. That's the case here, as Johnny brought his expertise with wings to suburban Vegas and the locals-and New York transplants-have been flocking there ever since.

New Hampshire: Delaney's Hole in the Wall

Delaney's Hole in the Wall sits in the heart of naturally-stunning New Hampshire and has been a local's favorite for more than 20 years. Their wing sauce is so divine that-by popular demand-it is now sold by the bottle. You won't find a ton of trendy flavors in those bottles, just classic Buffalo and a unique Honey Hot.

New Jersey: Chicken Kitchen

Chicken Kitchen gets high marks for its fried chicken, but those in the know head to this Shrewsbury spot for the wings. They only use the best, freshest birds and serve up the flappers with the finest of sauces. The Original Recipe is renowned for its flavor as is the Beyond Hot.

New Mexico: AJ's Wings

This wing porthole in Portales, New Mexico, can sauce them up with the big boys. Their slogan is "certified saucy" and they more than live up to the billing with their bone-in wings that come slathered in an array of coatings like the obligatory Buffalo, Mango Habanero and their signature Spicy BBQ.

New York: Anchor Bar

Yes, there are some places in Buffalo that locals love just as much as Anchor Bar and yes, there are some places that also lay claim to being the birthplace of the Buffalo wing. Still, general consensus says Anchor Bar was the spot where the saucy magic started and a visit here is a pilgrimage for all wing lovers.

North Carolina: Buffalo Brothers

Like some of the best chicken wing joints around the USA, Buffalo Brothers can trace its history back to Western New York. After running a restaurant there, the proprietors of Buffalo Brothers relocated to seriously-underrated Raleigh and haven't looked back since. Expect authentic Buffalo wings here paired with terrific tenders.

North Dakota: Sickies Garage

Sickie's serves up a sick range of burgers and wings at both its locations in the Roughrider State. Fresh-fried boneless or traditional are bathed in creative sauces like Cranberry Habanero and Cranberry Chipotle alongside staples like Buffalo and Jamaican Jerk.

Ohio: Smokehouse Brewing

This spot in suburban Dublin outside of Columbus shines brightly when it comes to both barbecue and wings. Lovers of drumettes will love the fact that they offer a "Smoked Drums" option with the splendid standard wings being brined, hickory-smoked and grilled before turning up at your table.

Oklahoma: Wing Supreme

Started back in 1989, Wing Supreme reigns supreme when it comes to gourmet wings in OKC. Their Buffalo-style flappers feature a secret blend of 11 spices but if you are feeling adventurous, they've got you covered with concoctions like Old Bay or Honey Love.

Oregon: Fire on the Mountain

Fire on the Mountain has brought proper wings to foodie-centric Portland. This small-chain is laser-focused on quality, using only all-natural, free-range chicken wings that are fried and tossed in a myriad of homemade sauces. Expect excellent Buffalo sauce and sidekicks like Raspberry Habanero and Spicy Peanut.

Pennsylvania: Boro Bar & Grill

The Boro Bar-with locations in Hummelstown and Harrisburg-has become the base of wing lovers in Central Pennsylvania. They serve them up with a handful of staple sauces and a dizzying selection of dry rubs like Cajun Habanero Lime and Sun-Dried Tomato Southwest

Rhode Island: Bonehead's

Bonehead's combines a love for music with a lust for mouthwatering chicken wings. The star attraction here is the insane spectrum of sauces available-all named after popular songs. Highlights include the honey sriracha diddy Wrong Side of the Road and Breakfast at Tiffany's-candied bacon and maple.

South Carolina: Publick House

This South Carolina classic has been serving up great food since 1990. And a good majority of the plates that come out of the kitchen during the evening overflow with wings. Each order is individually sauced over an open flame, with flavors ranging from classic Buffalo to unique ones lie Garlic Butter and Pterodactyl.

South Dakota: T.C.'s Referee Sports Bar

Since 1991, T.C's has been the place to go in Sioux Falls to watch sports and eat wings. They serve them up sizzling hot and doused in Buffalo sauce or your choice of a few other more creative sauces. Pork-lovers should also try the Ballpark Shanks-pork shanks tossed in wing sauce.

Tennessee: Edley's

Edley's menu is a tribute to Southern classics and they have a presence in several Volunteer State cities-including sizzling hot Nashville. Their take on a Northern classic draws rave reviews as their wings are known for being thick-n-meaty and full of flavor and their signature sauce is zingy and flavorful.

Texas: Tommy Want Wingy

Austin is an epicenter of creativity and that spirit also trickles down to the city's food scene. This Chris Farley-inspired food trailer serves up fried chicken lollipops in a sensational range of sauces and dry rubs. Sample Spicy Pineapple and Sweet Chile before moving on to Ranch on Fire.

Utah: Boneyard Saloon

This casual spot in Park City serves up, in their words, "colossal yardbird wings". Drench your bird in standard Buffalo sauce or broaden your horizons with flavors like Root Beer BBQ or Mango Habanero. Either way, they are the perfect way to end a day spent in the great outdoors.

Vermont: Ruben James

Over the years, this venerable bar has become of one Burlington's most beloved hangouts. The wings are well known for their quality (and come in a wide range of flavors) and serve as the perfect precursor to a night spent partying at the bar.

Virginia: Jimmy's Old Town Tavern

The namesake of this Herndon bar hails from Buffalo, and he's brought his hometown recipe with him. The wings feature a sauce shipped in from Western New York (just classic Buffalo flavor, thank you very much), but that's one of the few things brought in as Jimmy's takes pride in the number of menu items made fresh in-house.

Washington: Nate's Wings & Waffles

You could be forgiven for worrying that the waffles would take the focus away from the wings, but you have nothing to fear with Nate in charge. His namesake wings have become stars in Seattle and come plain or breaded and in a drool-worthy range of sauces like coconut jalapeno, lemon pepper and Buffalo.

West Virginia: The Cold Spot

Their slogan is "it's a wing thing" and they do that thing better than pretty much anybody else in West Virginia. The Cold Spot serves traditional and boneless wings and pairs them up with a huge variety of beer for cooling off the taste buds.

Wisconsin: TomKen's Bar & Grill (Milwaukee)

At this point, it's getting hard to keep track of how many awards TomKen's has picked up for their chicken wings, so why not add another one to the list? You won't do better than the "Home of the Friendly Fried Chicken" in the Badger State as their wings are all slathered in homemade sauces, including the devilish "Buffalo Sings the Blues" with blue cheese crumbles.

Wyoming: Born in a Barn

Located in historic downtown Laramie, Born in a Barn has brought great burgers and wings to Wyoming. They serve them up bone-in, boneless, smoked and even plate up "pork wings". After sampling their lip-smacking, spicy Buffalo sauce, experiment with Pineapple Sriracha or Maple Bacon.

What a time to be a wing lover.

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Scott Hartbeck

Scott Hartbeck

Born in the USA but now based in England, Scott has been writing about travel for over 10 years. He specializes in Europe, rail...

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