To honor the upcoming 50th anniversary of the invention of the Buffalo chicken wing at the Anchor Bar, head down Route 400 to East Aurora today.
Get 20 percent off a wing necktie at Vidler’s 5 & 10. Dip a chocolate wing in a white chocolate sauce at Fowler’s. Eat spicy popcorn at the Aurora Theatre. At 11:30 a.m. or 4:30 p.m., watch the “Great Wing Hunt” documentary’s interview with the last surviving taster of the first Anchor Bar wings. After the last show, ask the director about his road-trip quest for the best wing. Sample East Aurora-style wings painted, not shaken, with sauce.
“I think the chicken wing is one of the remarkable things that we have to enjoy,” said Clark Crook, owner of the Bar Bill tavern, home of brushed-on wing sauce. “I think we believe that we’re Buffalonian as well. We embrace living in Buffalo as much as we embrace living in East Aurora.”
Plans for the quirky wing birthday celebration began to unfold last month when “Wing Hunt” director Matt Reynolds asked the Aurora Theatre to show his movie near the wing’s anniversary, which the Anchor Bar says is March 6. Village businesses saw opportunity, which included Firefly bakery’s invention of a $3 cupcake baked with hot sauce and blue cheese.
Reynolds said he is glad his movie will get some attention near where it all started. “It’s the great rags-to-riches story, which is so American ... It’s this great combination of chance and ingenuity,” Reynolds said of wing creator Teressa Bellissimo. “Her being a great cook who had the ability to wake up in the middle of the night and to come up with a recipe that was this good.”
Reynolds, a former Reuters reporter, quit his job to make a movie with a group of wing tasters he recruited online. After winning a collection of independent film awards last year, he formally released the film in January.
The movie also chronicles tastings at 72 places across the state’s “wing belt.” Reynold’s hopes the audience won’t be offended by contenders from outside Buffalo.
“I’m wondering if I’m going to have tomatoes thrown at me,” said Reynolds, who will answer questions from the audience after the 4:30 p.m. showing. “I salute Buffalo for making this awesome food.”