The pandemic has changed our lives in many ways. One thing that hasn’t changed: America’s love for chicken wings. This is no more apparent than on the biggest football-watching weekend, when Americans will devour a record 1.42 billion wings while watching the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers battle for the Lombardi Trophy.
This figure is up two percent from last year, according to the National Chicken Council’s annual Wing Report.
There are several reasons for the uptick, says National Chicken Council spokesman Tom Super. “If you think about it, restaurants like wing joints and pizza places were built around takeout and delivery, so they didn’t have to change their business model that much during the pandemic. Wings travel well and hold up during delivery conditions. Plus, they align with consumer desire for comfort food during the pandemic. Chicken production remained steady in 2020, and as long as people are sitting around watching TV and maybe drinking a beer, wings will remain in the game. Don’t forget the air fryer revolution, either.”
How do 1.42 billion chicken wings stack up? Picture this:
- Assuming Kansas City Chiefs’ coach Andy Reid can eat three wings per minute, it would take him more than 900 years to eat 1.42 billion wings.
- 1.42 billion wings could circle the circumference of the earth three times.
- 1.42 billion wings laid end would stretch 19 times from Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
In restaurants, servings of chicken wings were up seven percent in 2020 versus 2019 despite an 11 percent decline in trips to commercial restaurants over the same time period.
Additionally, total U.S. wing retail/supermarket sales during the pandemic months totaled almost $3 billion, up 10.3 percent from a year ago. The in-store frozen wing category is up an astonishing 37.2 percent. Air fryers?
A recent National Chicken Council survey also reiterated that the pandemic didn’t keep people from their wings—in fact, one quarter of respondents said they ate more wings during the pandemic. Additional wing findings include:
- Americans are more likely to prefer eating bone-in, traditional wings (53 percent) than “boneless wings.”
- Two in five (38 percent) Americans say that the breast is their favorite cut of chicken, but wings (20 percent) are second.
- While there are a variety of wing sauces to choose from, BBQ (52 percent), ranch (46 percent) and buffalo/hot sauce (41 percent) are the preferred.
- French fries are by far the preferred side for wings (72 percent), distantly followed by celery (14 percent).
Maybe one day we can settle the debate over flats versus drums, but for now, editors at Anton Media Group, along with some of the most credible “Foodies” of the Facebook page Long Island Foodies, have shared their top picks for best local wings, in no particular order:
Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza
- 137 Old Country Rd., Carle Place; 516-877-7750
- 3430 Sunrise Hwy., Wantagh; 516-679-2625
- 8063 Jericho Tpke., Woodbury; 516-367-2625
- 250-36 Jericho Tpke., Floral Park; 516-775-7521
Brews Brothers Grille
- 183 Franklin Ave., Franklin Square; 516-216-5008
Brooklyn Wing House
- 2441 Jericho Tpke., Garden City Park; 516-636-5191
Changing Times Pub
- 1247 Melville Rd., Farmingdale; 631-694-6462
Croxley’s Ale House
- 129 New Hyde Park Rd., Franklin Square; 516-326-9542
- 190 Main St., Farmingdale; 516-293-7700
- 7 S. Park Ave., Rockville Centre; 516-764-0470
- 2823 Long Beach Rd., Oceanside; 516-766-9547
- 29 Jericho Tpke., New Hyde Park; 516-302-8412
- 295 Main St., Huntington; 631- 824-6236
- 182 New Hyde Park Rd., Franklin Square; 516-502-6126
- 59 Main St., East Rockaway; 516-593-4949
- 37 Great Neck Rd., Great Neck Plaza; 516-570-6814
- 437 S. Oyster Bay Rd., Plainview; 516-433-8070
- Paul’s Terrace Cafe
- 239 Merrick Rd., Oceanside; 516-536-1806
- 3964 Hempstead Tpke., Bethpage; 516-731-7544
The Main Event
- 799 Old Country Rd., Plainview; 516-935-5120
- 1815 Broadhollow Rd., Farmingdale; 631-522-1030
- 284 E. Meadow Ave., East Meadow; 516-794-6600
NY Flying Wings
- 554 Stewart Ave., Bethpage; 516-433-2463
Spanky’s Food Factory
- 2458 Jericho Tpke., Garden City Park; 516-280-8440
Via Roma Pizza
- 1764 Merrick Ave., Merrick; 516-868-2311
Wings Over Farmingdale
- 221 Main St., Farmingdale;
Your Mother’s House
- 2349 Jericho Turnpike, Garden City Park; 516-493-9030
Zorn’s of Bethpage
- 4321 Hempstead Tpke., Bethpage; 516-731-5500
—Compiled by Christy Hinko