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8 Secrets About Buffalo Wild Wings You Never Knew

Their most popular item isn't technically a chicken wing.
FACT CHECKED BY Meaghan Cameron

When it was first established back in 1982, there weren't many places like Buffalo Wild Wings. But apparently, there was a national appetite for wings, as today not only are there 1,234 Buffalo Wild Wings locations across the United States, but there are also plenty more copycat restaurants, like Wingstop, Miller's Ale House, Hurricane Grill & Wings, and so on.

The chain was started by a pair of friends living in Ohio who dearly missed the chicken wings they were familiar with from their native Buffalo, New York. Known as B-Dubs by its massive customer fanbase, the chain's quick popularity influenced its expansion to now have locations in every state in America (Texas alone has more than 100) and a number of overseas units as well.

However, as much as customers love the chain and its rapid growth, there are still some things to learn about the company that are far less tasty than its famed wings.

Here are 10 secrets you never knew about Buffalo Wild Wings.

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Buffalo Wild Wings was sued for not-so-vegetarian menu items

Courtesy of Buffalo Wild Wings

Going to a wing chain likely ensures you'll be enjoying chicken wings and more meaty menu items, but that doesn't mean vegetarians are left with completely nothing. Or so a few customers thought…Back in 2016, Buffalo Wild Wings was sued by a furious customer who thought appetizers like the mozzarella sticks and french fries were vegetarian, only to find out that the dishes were actually fried in beef tallow, Forbes reported. Even though the plaintiff Alexa Borenkoff was confident in her proof of the company's misrepresentation and omission of correct labels for those foods, the case was eventually thrown out due to Buffalo Wild Wings never advertising vegetarian menu items whatsoever.

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Customer opinion of the chain is sliding

Customers BWW
Buffalo Wild Wings/ Facebook

In recent years, customers seem to have soured on Buffalo Wild Wings, with many people taking to social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit to express discontent with the company. Common complaints include slower service, higher prices, and inferior quality of the food itself.

The name used to be different

Buffalo wild wings restaurant sign

When B-Dubs was first opened, the restaurant was called Buffalo Wild Wings & Weck, the "Weck" refers to a roast beef sandwich served on a kummelweck roll that is also popular in Buffalo, according to Delish. But the sandwich did not sell well— while the wings did—so the owners soon dropped the weck from the menu and the name, sticking with the rubric we know today. And yes, the weck is why the place is often called BW3.

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The most popular menu item is not a chicken wing

Boneless wings BWW
Buffalo Wild Wings/ Facebook

Buffalo Wild Wings sells a lot of chicken wings to be sure, but chicken wings are not the top-selling food on the company's menu. That honor goes to the boneless wings, which have outsold traditional wings for more than half a decade now, according to Mashed.

Well, boneless wings aren't actually chicken wings. According to The Counter, they are pieces of chicken breast meat cut into strips, coated, and deep-fried. It's misleading to call them wings when in fact they are simply chicken nuggets or, at best, chicken strips.

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The same company that owns Arby's owns Buffalo Wild Wings

Buffalo wild wings outside
Buffalo Wild Wings/ Facebook

According to Restaurant Business Online, in the year 2017, facing serious financial troubles, Buffalo Wild Wings began to look for someone to buy it. And that someone, who snapped the company up in early 2018, was Roark Capital, also the owner of the fast-food company Arby's, which has been pegged as one of the least respected fast-food chains, via Slate. (Though to be fair, Arby's reputation has been improving.)

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The company has been accused of racism multiple times

BWW sauces
Buffalo Wild Wings/ Facebook

Many former Buffalo Wild Wings employees have complained of being treated unfairly due to their skin color, according to Mashed. And what's perhaps even worse, even customers have reported discrimination issues, such as a group of black diners who were apparently moved to not sit near some white regulars at one location, and a customer who was apparently sprayed by a guard with pepper spray when he entered a restaurant to pick up an order.

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Almost none of the food is healthy

BWW foods
Buffalo Wild Wings/ Facebook

It's, of course, no surprise that fried wings slathered in sauce and dipped in creamy dressing—or fried pickles, fried mozzarella sticks, greasy burgers, and so on—are hardly healthy foods, but the extent of the unhealthiness of Buffalo Wild Wings' food is still impressive in the pejorative sense.

For example, according to HealthLine, a large order of the traditional wings with a spicy garlic sauce packs in a staggering 1,460 calories, 86 grams of fat, and 3,450 milligrams of sodium. A large boneless wings with Thai curry sauce? That nets you 2,040 calories, 133 grams of fat, and a sadistic 7,050 milligrams of sodium. And remember, all of these things are also fried in beef fat.

Very few items are cooked fresh

eat food BWW

According to numerous employees who reported in on the kitchens at Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants, most of the "cooking" that takes place there consists of deep frying and microwaving foods, many of which are stored frozen for extended periods of time, via Mashed. And often prepared foods sit under warming lamps for long stretches of time before they are served.

A previous version of this article was originally published on December 10, 2021. It has been updated with new information.

Steven John
Steven John is a freelancer writer for Eat This, Not That! based just outside New York City. Read more about Steven