Wing Trail Review #3: Blackthorn Pub & Restaurant

WBEN's Mike Baggerman reviews the chicken wing joints in WNY

Mike Baggerman
June 22, 2018 - 12:00 am

DISCLAIMER: I'm just a guy who likes wings and happens to work at WBEN.

I started this project for two reasons. The first? My love for chicken wings. The second? A desire to try something new. I've already been to some of the places on the wing trail but my goal with this project is to rate the top-12 chicken wing joints. 

When I order the wings, I'll get one order of "medium" wings and another order of the "specialty" wing (if applicable). If the place has a local beer, I'll grab that.

One bite of each wing and a reaction. A perfect ten will send me into a state of euphoria. A one will make me puke.

Medium wings and "South Buffalo" wings at Blackthorn Pub & Restaurant (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

The Blackthorn Restaurant & Pub | 2134 Seneca Street, Buffalo

Blackthorn Restaurant is one of the restaurants that I previously visited but I’ve never tried their chicken wings. I lived in West Seneca in 2016 and 2017 and this restaurant is located relatively close to the West Seneca/Buffalo border.

It’s an Irish Pub that lacks the flair of Gene McCarthy’s in South Buffalo, though there’s an array of local beers from Rusty Chain to Big Ditch Brewing. This bar does not have any of their own specialty beers. That’s not anything to be disappointed about, though, because WNY has seemingly a dozen breweries.

Don’t be fooled by the basic atmosphere inside the restaurant. While indoor seating looks like your classic pub, outdoor seating is where you need to be any time it’s nice out. Cornhole, table tennis, and even a Jenga set give options for those of you who are looking to mix food and fun on a beautiful day.

As for their chicken wings, Blackthorn opts for quality over quantity. The chicken wings selection is limited, with your standard batch of “traditional” wings that range from mild to hot. They also supplement their traditional wings with “South Buffalo” wings.

Aside: What does that mean…”South Buffalo” wing. My waiter told me it’s a spicier wing and he wasn’t joking. More on that in a bit.

Their traditional wings were your standard fare of chicken wings, though they’re far from bland. The wings have a trace of sauce that’s just enough to be noticed but not overpowering. If you’re not an adventurer and looking for a standard, quality chicken wing, this place is it. However, for me, it was not euphoric…just fine. Medium Wing: 6/10 ($10.50 for single order).

If spicy and flavor are your fancy, their “South Buffalo” wing is what you’re looking for. This was a perfect balance of hefty and spicy wings without the spice that results in a lack of enjoyment. Their South Buffalo wing only comes in one form, which feels like it’s been mixed with a comfortable dose of cayenne pepper. No complaints from me on the South Buffalo wing. In fact, it’s one of the best I’ve had yet. “South Buffalo” wing: 8.6/10 ($10.50 for single order…and totally worth it).

The wings here appeal mostly to a person like me who enjoys spice and light sauciness. Blackthorn Restaurant also has a BBQ variety, which I did not try and is an additional $1 per order (or maybe they said BBQ sauce side was $1…but that would be weird, right?)

Blackthorn doesn’t seem like a place that takes pride in their chicken wings, though they should. It’s on the wing trail…own it and give your wings a prominent place on the menu. Here it’s sandwiched between a sampler platter and chicken fingers, but I wish they highlighted it more. An average customer would not know to buy their wings because of its placement.

A double order of wings is $17.99 which is an incredible value based on what you’d normally buy for a chicken wing…and I went here on a SATURDAY.

Final Verdict: 7.3/10


Power Rankings

1.     Blackthorn Restaurant & Pub – 7.3

2.     Mammoser's Tavern & Restaurant - 6.3

3.     Gene McCarthy’s Old First Ward Brewery – 5.0

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