Best Buffalo Wings in the International League
With 72 games on the road in 13 different cities, minor league ballplayers and broadcasters are forced to eat out probably more than we would like. Although a home-cooked meal sounds like heaven to all of us, there are some great eats to be found on the road throughout the International League.
On the current nine-game road trip, I’ve had my first visits to Rochester, Buffalo, and Syracuse. The latter two locations have between them arguably the two best buffalo wings in the International League – if not all of minor league baseball. Now that I’ve given them the official taste test, here are my results.
2nd Place: The Anchor Bar – Buffalo, NY
This iconic establishment is the original birthplace of buffalo wings and is a must for visitors and locals alike. The story goes that on a late Friday night way back in 1964, the current owner’s mother was preparing a “fourth meal” for some after-hours friends and instead of putting a few pounds of chicken wings in a pot for soup, she decided to toss them in the fryer – the rest is history.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t help myself and ended up eating a wing before taking this picture. They had a great buffalo sauce and were some of the biggest wings I’ve had. For as tasty as the wings were, they were soured by my broadcast partner, Steve Hyder, continually telling me that they were good, but not the best …
1st Place: Change of Pace Sports Bar – Syracuse, NY
I know it doesn’t look like much from the outside, but Hydes was right. Change of Pace served some of the best wings I’ve ever had – and I consider myself a bit of a buffalo wing snob. Steve and I went here last night after the PawSox 4-3 win over Syracuse and were joined by a number of Chiefs’ front office members.
I learned from my previous mistake in Buffalo and took a picture before my first taste. On the left I had original buffalo wings, and on the right I decided to try their new chipotle BBQ citrus wings. Both were tremendous and had a better texture than the wings at the Anchor Bar. They were incredibly moist while staying crisp and, although I maybe liked the buffalo sauce at the Anchor Bar more, these wings overall were better.
For some reason I loved these vintage NFL pennants above the bar. As if the pennants weren’t enough indication that they haven’t re-decorated lately at Change of Pace, here’s the biggest clue:
If you can’t tell, above is framed a picture of Steve holding his six month old daughter Eva, standing next to Big East all-time leading scorer Lawrence Moten. The photo was taken in 1993 and has been in their front window ever since! Steve used to broadcast games for Syracuse University and remains close to many old friends in town.
Today is Game 2 against the Chiefs with Justin Germano making his third start of the season for the PawSox. First pitch from Alliance Bank Stadium is scheduled for 6:00, Steve and I will be on-air (with full stomachs) at 5:45 with the pre-game show.