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Mmm… tastes like Seattle… or is that New England?
The evolution of the chicken wing has been an ongoing and dynamic process. From its humble beginnings at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY (1964), when Frank’s Hot Sauce was first used for spicing up wings to the modern versions that are limitless sauce and seasoning combinations. For many years, the “Buffalo Wing” was a truly regional affair and folks that were “in the know” found their way to the Anchor Bar or other area establishments to have this local specialty.
That all changed as the chicken wing took hold in the ‘80s and is now an international phenomenon. Not bad from its original purpose for enhancing stock. With the exponential expansion of the wings on menus and even whole concepts being dedicated to them, the chicken wing has still not lost its regional adaptations. If you travel around, you’ll find distinct regional differences in treatment and sauce applications.
Check out this nifty chart from Frank’s King of Wings that allows you to identify which flavors are popular in your neck of the woods. While traditional buffalo sauce and barbecue still dominate the guest’s expectations for wing coverage, there are some great flavors you can consider based on your region. For example: In the Northwest, Asian and Sriracha are very popular, but in the South sweet and parmesan are quite popular.
There are two hacks in one here.
First, you can identify the flavors that are most popular in your region and make sure they are represented on your menu.
Second, you can co-opt flavors from a different region and market them as such.
For example: “Check out our Seattle-styled garlicky wings!” Just add roasted or raw garlic to Frank’s Hot Sauce and let is simmer until the flavor is both spicy and garlicky. Now you have an exotic sounding version of wings that will excite your guests’ palate and sell more product.
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