Wingstop Vs. Buffalo Wild Wings: Which Is Better?

Coke or Pepsi? Smooth or chunky? Chick-Fil-A or Popeye's? These are just some of the burning questions that divide Americans in 2020. Add to that list one more great divide – whose wings do you prefer, B-Dubs or Wingstop?

For many years Buffalo Wild Wings ruled the roost as undisputed King of the Wing, but eventually, every pizza place and chain restaurant out there got in on the action. When it comes to places that specialize in nothing but wings, however, there are still a limited number of large-scale competitors (not counting impostors such as Neighborhood Wings, which was really just Applebee's in disguise). Of these restaurants, perhaps the biggest threat to BWW comes from Wingstop. This chain has only been around since 1994 to B-Dub's '82, but they've been working hard to catch up. By now they've got 1,400 restaurants open all across the US as well as in Mexico, Colombia, Panama, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the UK, and the United Arab Emirates. BWW, for its part, has over 1,2000 restaurants (via Business Wire) throughout the US as well as in India, Mexico, Panama, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.

While that info might be good to know if you plan to invest in either company, what everybody really wants to know is, whose wings taste better? And the verdict, all things considered, is: It's a matter of preference. Seriously, we can't say one is absolutely better than the other since it all depends on what you're looking for.

Why some think B-Dubs is best

B-Dubs has it all over Wingstop when it comes to atmosphere – well, at least if a loud, noisy sports bar with a zillion giant TVs showing every sporting event going on in the world (and not the remotest possibility of hearing sound from a single one of them). It's also the place to go if you want to booze it up as you chow down on wings since they offer a full cocktail bar (with house-branded booze!) as well as a wide selection of beers, wines, hard seltzers, and any other kind of adult beverage you can think of as well as a couple of dressed-up lemonades for non-drinkers. (It is nominally a family place, after all, especially if you have very noisy kids and you're looking for a place where no-one will even notice this fact.)

As far as their wings go, well, they do offer a much wider range of flavors. A comparison of similar flavors from The Takeout found their flavors overall to be more "vibrant" and flavorful, as well as being much spicier. They tested classic Buffalo, BBQ, Asian Zing (BWW)/Spicy Korean Q (Wingstop), mango habanero, and lemon pepper, and found BWW to be the clear winner in every category but lemon pepper since Wingstop does tend to do a better job with dry rubs.

Why others say Wingstop's the winner

Another taste test, this one by the staffers at Business Insider, came up with a very different verdict. They also compared the Asian, classic (both hot and mild), and mango habanero flavors as well as the garlic parmesan, and found that their taste testers all went for Wingstop due to the fact that the flavors were more balanced (not too sweet, too salty, or overwhelmingly hot as was the case with BWW) and the chicken itself was juicier and more flavorful. Wingstop also definitely comes out ahead with their fries, as even The Takeout agrees. While Buffalo Wild Wings' fries are pretty standard stuff, Wingstop coats theirs with a sweet/salty spice blend that gives them a little extra something that makes them a can't-miss accompaniment.

What Wingstop can't offer, however, is anything much in the way of atmosphere. They seem to do the bulk of their business by takeout or delivery, as their sit-down area has a definite fast-food vibe. While some Wingstops do serve beer, their ambiance is anything but barlike. Still, if you want to eat your wings in peace, or you prefer getting takeout so you can eat in front of your own massive flat-screen TV (with sound you can actually hear), their no-frills atmosphere may not be much of a drawback.

Maybe neither one offers the best wings

When the BWW vs Wingstop question comes up on social media, which it does from time to time, there are always those wing connoisseurs who insist that neither one is worth eating at. Instead, these purists insist that true Buffalo wings, even if you can't eat them at the source (that being the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY), should be consumed only at small neighborhood dive bars in order to get the authentic wing experience. One recent Reddit thread devoted to the topic drew responses such as "I live 2 minutes from a BWW and 5 minutes from Wingstop and there are probably at least a dozen local and chain restaurants that have much better wings in that radius," and "there are many, many local hole in the wall pizza joints and bars – not to mention my own kitchen – that make better wings."

Well, if you're more of a BWW partisan, or you'll eat Buffalo wings wherever you can get them, you can put that whole "my own kitchen" theory to the test (using your kitchen, not that Redditor's). Here's the very best Buffalo Wild Wings copycat recipe we could find, but feel free to tweak it however you like to make it even better. Who knows? Maybe you could be the one to come up with the ultimate wing sauce recipe and have the whole world beating a path (or flapping a wing) to your door.