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The OVERTIME Blog Series

 

Few things go together like an ice-cold beer, a steaming plate of chicken wings, and a vicious sports game on TV. Interestingly though, chicken wings have only recently become a staple of the typical sports bar menu.

About 50 years ago, chicken wings were considered one of the most worthless parts of a chicken, but all that changed when, upon receiving an accidental shipment of wings, the owners of Buffalo Anchor Bar decided to make the most out of what they had received.

Instead of returning the chicken to their incompetent shipper, the owners slathered the wings in a mixture of hot sauce, vinegar and butter, creating the sports night delicacy that we have all come to know and love.

Bill Roenigk, chief economist at the National Chicken Council, describes how chicken wings have managed to beat out older, more traditional sports bar delicacies, explaining: “Ribs and pizza were the competition. But ribs cost more money, and pizza—well, tends to lose its charm if it sits on a table for too long.”

In a bizarre turn of events, what was once considered the most worthless part of the chicken soon became the most popular, with desirability and a rising price point reflecting the change.

But what is it exactly that makes chicken wings so universally loved and adored amongst sports fans and restaurant-goers alike?

There are a few different theories.

Some say chicken wings have become popular because they are freaking delicious— which is true, but still doesn’t quite explain the entire phenomenon.

Matt Reynolds, who actually quit his job to hunt down the perfect chicken wing in The Great Chicken Wing Hunt documentary, attributes the popularity of the chicken wing to the basic, human way they are eaten, explaining: “There’s something communal about eating something off the bone that can be in a big bowl that everyone can share.”

And it’s true— there’s something primal and satisfying about devouring a basket of wings while socializing with friends— but food-wise, it also goes much deeper than that.

Chicken wings, or more specifically, the sauces we cover them in, allow for innumerable varieties of tastes and flavors, making them an “equalizer” amongst cuisine and classes.

While you might hear someone say they don’t like a kind of chicken wing, how many people can honestly say they don’t like any type of chicken wings at all?

Sorry, but vegetarians don’t count.

Hy Elrich, co-owner of Duff’s Famous Wings in Toronto, explains: “Everybody can eat [wings] with their fingers and not have the appearance that they have to be upper management and use knife-and-fork only. We’ve gone from families to business people, all ethnic backgrounds… Everybody’s eating them.”

And when Elrich says everybody— he means everybody.

Chicken wings are no longer restricted to sports bars and sports fanatics, with 30% of all restaurants offering at least 1 winged plate, and each Canadian reportedly eating the equivalent of 70 pounds per year.

As one of the most popular sports bars in Sudbury, we’ve made it our duty to perfect the art of the chicken wing in order to provide you with the multifaceted, wing experience you’ve been craving.

With sauced and dry options ranging from normal (like our buffalo wings) to glamorous (like our exotic Asian Sweet Ginger), there is literally a wing for everyone. So, come on down, grab a seat and indulge in a bit of Canada’s favorite pastime with us— cause nothing’s more Canadian than hockey, beer, and some damn good wings!

Fred Johnstad