Legend, lore and tradition has it that Buffalo, New York — birthplace of the famed and ubiquitous buffalo wing — has the best hot wings in the world.
Not this year.
That honor goes to Booty’s Wings Burgers Beer in Surprise, in Phoenix’s far West Valley.
The 5-year-old restaurant snagged the coveted Festival Favorite nod at the 16th annual Buffalo Wing Festival in the Queen City over Labor Day weekend. The award goes to the purveyor who sells the most wings, which is a strong indicator to the judges of who the crowd of tens of thousands liked best.
Booty’s sold more than 25,000 wings during the two-day festival, restaurant officials said.
“We have the best wings in the world, and the reason we can say that is because we had Mexico there” — Wings Army of Mexico — “and we beat them, and their company had 18 stores,” Booty’s manager Juli Parr said last week as the company’s owners were being interviewed for a national TV news show. “We always are favored there because of the energy we bring to the competition. We’re always energetic and loud and we have fun.”
This is the fifth year Booty’s has competed in the Buffalo contest, which attracts wing shops from around the country. In its inaugural year, Booty’s energy landed the Festival Spirit Award along with a first-place finish in the creative spicy category for its Buffalo Chipotle Garlic and second place for traditional medium for its house medium wings.
Last year, the restaurant, which also has a location in Buckeye, repeated its Spirit Award win while its Desert Sweet Heat wings earned a third-place finish in the creative spicy category.
In addition to the Festival Favorite win, Booty’s this year took home two second-place trophies — for best craft wings (its Cajun Bacon Alfredo) and medium traditional wing sauce.
Booty’s is at 1300 S. Watson Road in Buckeye and at 15557 W. Bell Road off the Loop 303 in Surprise — both off Interstate 10. Details: bootyswings.com
If you happen to be heading in the opposite direction on Interstate 10 toward New Mexico, you can find another festival winner: Deming, New Mexico’s Forghedaboudit Pizza. It won first place in the dry-rub wings category, edging out the famous Anchor Bar — birthplace of the hot wing — and third in the extra-hot category.
In the 2016 contest, Forghedaboudit won second place for its maple bacon wings.
Forghedaboudit Pizza is at 115 N. Silver Ave. in Deming, off I-10. Details: fgbpizza.com