Fed up with the snow, scraping ice off my car, and four-minute summers, I packed my bags and trekked from Buffalo, NY to Charlotte after college. While I wound up in yet another—but warmer—Queen City (fun fact: Buffalo is also called the Queen City), I quickly realized the ONE error in my move: no more Buffalo food…
…NO MORE REAL CHICKEN WINGS. *cue horror music*
Luckily, other Northerners also saw this as an issue, and solved the problem long before my move. Now, I can enjoy true Buffalo wings, beef on weck, and Western New York pizza here in the South.
Former Buffalonians, here are your foodie havens:
1514 East Blvd. and other locations
The one place I miss eating the most in Buffalo is Ted’s Hot Dogs, so it’s only fitting that I’m a regular at JJ’s Red Hots—a self-proclaimed “hot dog joint” here in Charlotte. What makes these dogs so special? They’re Sahlen’s Smokehouse brand, and they’re wedged between a toasted roll (necessary). When you try one, you’ll understand. And if you don’t believe me, put your faith in Guy Fieri, who visited JJ’s for an episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
Order: Double Dog Combo: Chili Cheese Coney dog (house-made chili, shredded cheese, diced onions) plus Quarter Hounder (queso, bacon, lettuce, tomato, secret sauce) with a side of JJ’s “Soon to be Infamous” onion rings.
Pro Tip: Put your phone number in at the register to gather points. I earned enough to get a super soft hot dog tee shirt—and yes, I wear it all the time.
710 W. Trade St. and 1381 Chestnut Lane, Matthews
Yes, chicken wings taste different in Buffalo than they do anywhere else. Luckily, Bisonte Pizza Co. brought their award-winning recipe to the South, earning the title of “Charlotte’s Best Wing” two years in a row at the Charlotte Wing Fest.
Order: Chicken wings, duh! And yes, you have to try them with the homemade bleu cheese. Couple them with “The Bisonte Classic” pizza and a side of garlic bread.
1411 S. Tryon St.
If you’re wondering where all of the crazy, table-crushing Bills fans prefer to hang out during a game, you’ll likely find them enjoying a bite and a beer at Tavern on the Tracks in South End. Relax with friends at their trivia night, or tie a Bills bandana to your pup and enjoy the game on their dog-friendly patio.
Order: Beef on Weck. This Buffalo staple features a slow-cooked sliced beef round on a weck roll topped with caraway seeds and kosher salt. It’s served with au jus and horseradish.
1524 E. Blvd.
Founded by the Weaver family, who migrated South from Buffalo, Lebowski’s Neighborhood Grill brought the “Buffalo wing” to Charlotte. An official Bills Backer bar, this venue sits beside JJ’s Red Hots in Dilworth and offers homey Western New York favorites.
Order: The Buffalo Trifecta: six Buffalo wings, Beef on Weck slider, Haddock filet, fries
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9610 Sherrill Estates Road B, Huntersville
“Home of the original pit wings and sheet pizza” in the South, Taste of Buffalo Pizzeria took shape when owner Bradley Battaglia visited family in North Carolina and realized the lack of true WNY pizza (I, too, struggled to find this when I first moved here). A short drive from Charlotte, this Huntersville staple brings the best of the North to pizza-craving Southerners.
Order: Brad’s Buffalo Style Wings “from the pit” and a traditional pizza topped with meatballs. Drink: Aunt Rosie’s Loganberry.
Pro Tip: Throwing a party? Grab the “Buffalo Bills Pack,” a sheet pizza with cheese plus a barrel of 75 wings.