A signature taste of Buffalo is making its debut Thursday in New York City. Anchor Bar, which came up with the recipe for spicy chicken wings in 1964, is opening its eleventh location right in the heart of Manhattan.
The restaurant, which has been in the works for over a year, is in a space that formerly housed the restaurant Kennedy's. It was completely transformed over nine months of construction, including an all-new kitchen that features several large fryers, a grill and a pizza oven.
Anchor Bar Franchise and Development Vice President Mark Dempsey says the 3,840 square-foot restaurant is located in a prominent location at 327 W. 57th Street, near the foot of Central Park.
"It's kind of located in a triangular famous spot: Columbus Circle, Times Square isn't too far away and you've got Hell's Kitchen right nearby. It's really a great spot, a very heavily-trafficked area," Dempsey told WBFO.
The space will have the feel of the original Main Street restaurant with its tradtional menu, familiar maroon and black color scheme and walls filled with memorabilia. There will be a sports bar section with 13 televisions and a family dining area. The restaurant seats 155 people and will employ 55 workers, more than half of them full-time.
Dempsey says he expects the restaurant will be a popular spot for Buffalo natives now living in The Big Apple to watch Bills and Sabres games.
"We've already had a few people stopping by asking if we'll be showing the games. Absolutely, we will. People were adorning their Bills caps and t-shirts and they even had a baby decked out in a Bills nighty," he said.
According to legend, Anchor Bar co-owner Teressa Bellissimo came up with the idea for spicy wings one late night in 1964 as a way to feed hungry bar patrons, nearly 30 years after the iconic restaurant first opened.
Anchor Bar has six locations in Western New York, three in Ontario, Canada and one in San Antonio, Texas. Dempsey says many more are in development.
"We've got about seven more in the works after this location. Two of them closer to home, in Southern Ontario and Michigan. Then we're going to be expanding down south around Texas and hopefully Maryland. Maybe even one in Los Angeles. We've got some lofty plans and if everything comes through, we'll be up to 20 units before you know it," Dempsey said.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will be among the dignitaries cutting the ribbon at 3 p.m. Thursday.