The Real Reason Chicken Wings Are Common At Pizzerias

Whether you're visiting your hometown pizzeria or a major pizza chain, you almost always see these on the menu: chicken wings, those crispy, juicy hunks of chicken tossed in a variety of flavorful sauces. You may have even enjoyed something like buffalo chicken pizza, a dish that combines the heat of buffalo sauce with the richness of a cheese pizza. Pizza and wings may not be the most intuitive pairing, but they are a delicious one, which is why they're the staple foods at every pizzeria, bar, or bowling alley. Who was the first to pair poultry and pizza together?

Domino's has been selling pizza and chicken wings together since 1994, according to itsĀ website, narrowly beating Pizza Hut's wing debut in 1995, perĀ The Gazette. Surely this credits them as the geniuses behind the combination of hot wings and pizza, right? Well, not exactly. While everyone from Papa John's to Little Caesar's can claim to sell the best wings and pizza on the market, the origin story behind this unlikely duo isn't tied to any of the famous big-name pizza chains. In fact, the true story behind everyone's party food tag team can be traced back to a little pizzeria in Buffalo, New York, and the now near-absurd belief that chicken wings were "scraps."

La Nova Pizzeria is the birthplace of pizza and wings

In 1957 Buffalo, New York, the Todaro family opened La Nova Pizzeria, the website says. Today, the restaurant is famous for giving out T-shirts to customers and helping to host Wingstock, a massive charity event where customers can sample wings and pizza from "Buffalo's best." La Nova was also the first pizzeria to be credited with selling chicken wings and pizza together. According to Thrillist, La Nova began packaging wings alongside pizza in a party pack in the 1990s. The combo's success was fast; now, La Nova operates a secondary business, La Nova Wings, that sells its famous wings wholesale to other pizza chains across the nation.

As for why the wings idea took off with so many other pizzerias, a few reasons are because they are very cheap, can be cooked in existing pizza ovens, and come with sauces that also taste delicious with pizza crust, Mental Floss explains. Plus, Thrillist points out, they're also hand-held and perfectly greasy, just like pizza. It's hard to believe that wings were once considered by some to be a throwaway cut of the chicken. Now, many pizza lovers couldn't imagine the perfect pie experience without an order of wings on the side.