Touring the Trail (Duff’s)

Editor’s Note: This blog was originally planned for Sunday September 15, 2019, but grad school and killing boars got in the way 🤷🏽‍♂️

Welcome to the first edition of touring the trail hosted by yours truly, Don McCann. This new series will be featured weekly and covers the delicious buffalo wings of the restaurants on the Buffalo Wing Trail. The only guideline in place is that I will be ordering each restaurant’s standard medium wing. On most occasions, I will also order their “specialty” wing, but that won’t factor into my rating.

This week’s restaurant was Duffs “Famous” Wings!

(My intentions were to take the trail on in the order it was presented on the website, but Don Eaves had a Duff’s craving, so Elmo’s will be covered next week!)

The first thing I want to address is my Duff’s bias. I’m never a big fan of the most popular place. Everyone in Buffalo talks about Duff’s like it’s the next coming of Jim Kelly. Can’t knock their marketing I guess. But I’ve always believed this place to be overrated, even before trying their food.

In addition, I absolutely HATE the layout of their Amherst location. We’re talking about a place with 1(2?) small TV at the bar and that’s it. Are you kidding? Nothing in the main dining area? It’s not exactly the speediest restaurant so I’d appreciate some entertainment while waiting. And the ceilings are too low. It’s these type of details that matter.

But luckily, we aren’t judging the physical establishment or their service, we’re judging the wings (and not the damn blue cheese). So let’s begin!

As stated in my last post, I have 4 main things I’m looking for with my wings: taste, crispness, meat, and sauciness. You can check out that post along with the rest of the league’s opinions right here.

Now, without further ado, the review of Duff’s “Famous” Wings!

Taste

The most important thing when it comes to judging any food is the taste (or flavor). Only an imbecile would value other things over taste. Duff’s “famous sauce” is homemade and has been served up to customers for over 40 years. With that type of longevity, it must be good right? Yes and no. While the sauce does have a rich, chili pepper flavor, it’s just too spicy. Their slogan for their sauces is “WARNING! Medium IS HOT! Medium Hot IS VERY HOT! Hot is VERY VERY HOT!” What kind of stupid shit is that? The pride of your sauce should not be based on how spicy it is. (By the way, I tried their hot wings as well and I’ll say their scaling is completely off.)

Duff’s Taste Rating: 7/10

Crispness

While taste is the most important, sometimes crispness is a deal breaker. Luckily, I’ve never had a chicken wing that was unbelievable delicious, with old lady arm skin. Now due to Duff’s utter hubris pertaining to their wing sauce, they fail to focus on this important aspect. I’m sure the wings come out fresh and crispy. But these buffoons insist on dousing their wings with sauce, so much so, there’s actually a sauce pond that you could drink at the end of your meal. As you might imagine, this extreme moisture doesn’t exactly make for a crispy wing. But at the very least, the skin wasn’t slimy, so I’ll give them that.

Duff’s Crispness Rating: 3/10

Meat

Some believe this is the heart and soul of the chicken wing. I do not, despite being a big fan of protein and steroids – two things chicken wings most certainly have in them. But the wing still has to have a little something on it. I’ve bitten into wings with literally no meat on a whole side, it was just fried skin. But Duff’s does a good job at making sure they provide you with quality wings. They were big and juicy and there was enough total meat to fill me up.

Duff’s Meat Rating: 8/10

Sauciness

Last, but most certainly not least, is sauciness. Now I know I covered this in the Crispness section, but there was no way I couldn’t cover it there. The sauce is the complete reason these wings weren’t crispy. Like who in their right mind wants a puddle of wing sauce sitting on their plate/bowl when they’re done eating? This also goes to show a lack of care that Duff’s takes with it’s wings. They just throw them in a bowl with their sauce, toss them, then pour them onto your plate. No drainage or finesse at all. Disgraceful. These wings were certified “Lost in the Sauce”.

Duff’s Sauciness Rating: 1/10

What More Can I Say?

Duff’s is a fine establishment… if you literally have no other means of getting to a different restaurant for chicken wings. Great marketing ploy on their part by calling them “Famous Wings” and luckily being conveniently located near UB north (when the establishment was opened, UB North Campus did not exist). They weren’t even the inventors of the buffalo wing, that was Anchor Bar. This place is for suckers. If you’re a Buffalonian and you somehow think this is the best wing joint in the area, just leave. You’re not welcome ’round these parts no mo’.

Duff’s Final Score: 4.75/10

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