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Dec 1, 2009 04:38 PM

Duffs: good or bad?

Hi Chowhounders,

I'm having the guys over for poker night this weekend, and was considering getting wings from Duffs. I've been going there for many years and find that the quality is up and down. When it's good, it's great. When it's off, it's a dried out saucy mess.

Has anyone been there recently? How were the wings?

Please let me know. I'd appreciate it.


P.S. - I did try thewingcompany on King St, based on reviews here. Good reco! The wings were crispy on outside and moist on the inside. I enjoyed them alot. The only thing is, they were a bit on the small side. Otherwise, I'd go with them.

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  1. Tried them once thanks to frequent recommendations from this board. Completely unimpressed.

    Too much vinegar/hot sauce, not enough butter (if they used any at all) -- it's like the wings were dunked in pure hot sauce. Did not like them at all. Wife's order of "mild" (she can't handle heat) meant dry wings with a few dashes of hot sauce sprinkled on top. Mild at Anchor Bar means more butter less hot sauce. I'll probably get flamed or otherwise shouted down/voted out for this, Duff's did not live up to Chowhound hype at all.

    1 Reply
    1. re: TexSquared

      If you like the tabascoey, sour and spicy flavour then you will like them, I don`t, too vinegary for me.......

    2. I've never had a bad batch there. Even after getting reports of bad wings we went and they were still great. That was two summers ago so I can't say what they're like now.


      1 Reply
      1. re: Davwud

        I didn't say the batch was bad. The meat was cooked to perfection, juicy, not overcooked or dry. The problem is the recipe. Anchor's recipe beats theirs hands down.

        (what's the over-under on when someone answers with "no, Bar Bill beats both"?)

      2. Yes, they are vinegary. You might prefer anchor-bar style Buffalo wings with butter. Duff's clearly don't have butter added. They do seem to cut the mild sauces with oil so you should still get decent coverage. I like non-saucy wings anyways, so, I'm a bad judge for that.

        Yes, they can be a touch inconsistent (especially on the spice level of the hotter wings – the chef makes it by recipe rather than by taste). But, they are big. They are never dried out. They will do custom orders (well done if you crave crispy more than juicy, not too saucy, or extra sauce, or whatever). The staff is consistently pleasant, the service prompt and efficient.

        I can't think of a Toronto Buffalo-style wing that is better and I don't like battered or breaded wings. So, for me, Duff's it is.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Atahualpa

          I agree. The only way to get an authentic Anchor Bar wing in Toronto is to make it yourself. Turns out a lot better if you make the sauce from scratch (butter and Frank's Red Hot) rather than use the pre-mixed Anchor Bar bottled sauce.

          The only problem with making the wings here is the size of the wings you can buy. Canadian chickens aren't allowed to grow like American ones.... we've seen KFC chicken legs in Canada that would be the size of the Anchor Bar "drumstick" half of the wing!!

          1. re: TexSquared

            Hey Tex,

            Good sized wings to cook at home are available. I get them at Bruno's (St. Clair and Yonge). They vary in size a bit but average 6 pieces to the pound. I am sure St. Andrews Poultry has big boys too.

            One sauce strategy is to ask for sauce on the side. It will give you control on quantity, the wings will stay hot and crisp longer and if you are getting more than one order you can get other sauces to try or mix and match.

            I normally take some of my own sauces as wing joints can't afford to serve anything more than $12/gallon paint stripper. Try Frontera's and El Yucateco for example.

            Oh, BTW Tex, Barbill beats both!!

            1. re: sumdumgoy

              Before I waste a trip to Bar Bill's (and I guess the answer to my over-under was 1/2 an hour), are their wings closer to Anchor (balanced with butter) or to Duffs (all hot sauce)? If they're Duff's style, pass....

              1. re: TexSquared

                Sorry Tex, I don't know.
                Bar Bill has 14 sauces all made in house. The one I like, Medium, tastes like Frank's Red Hot blended with onions and garlic , which thickens it a little and adds a layer of flavour. My kid likes spicy BBQ so I have tried that one too and rather liked it. As mentioned we always order sauce on the side.

                That said, I focus on the actual wing. No more than 6-7 pieces to the pound, unbreaded (a dusting of flour is OK), no broken bones (i.e. no utility grade) and not over-cooked (sometimes a problem at Duff's on Tuesday night).

                Restaurants pay a lot of money for wings and proceed to ruin them by tossing them in 10 cents worth of sauce.

                1. re: TexSquared

                  I don't remember Bar Bill's wings being head and shoulders above Duffs (or Anchor Bar if that's your preference). They were large and perfectly cooked however. I can't seem to remember the exact flavour profile of the wings, I was there for the beef on weck. The trip to East Aurora was a nice drive, and the town is quaint. It'd be a nice drive in the summertime, I went in the spring when the trees were bare and the grass brown.

                2. re: sumdumgoy

                  I LOVE El Yacateco, def going to try it for my wing sauce next time. Good idea, sumdumgoy.

            2. I don't know what part of town you're in, but if you're anywhere near Parliament, Cranberries gets rave reviews for their wings ( about 1/4 way down the thread). They're breaded wings, which some don't like, but apparently really huge and well prepared.

              1. I guess its all personal preference and location (ie what's actually close by).

                As to Duff's - I went there about 2 weeks ago for the first time (Bayview location) with a buddy from work who raves about their wings (and drives from Richmond Hill to get them).

                Unfortunately I do not have a good review about their wings. I ordered a batch of medium wings. I must agree with a previous poster who said that they had too much vinegar and hot sauce and not enough butter. Also, I am not a BIG sauce fan. I like them sufficently covered but mine came in what looked like a bowl of soup.

                To me .... way too saucy and too much vinegar.

                This was a first try so I will go back and see if it was isolated. For what its worth..I love the extra large format wings and consistently get great wings at:

                Sloppy Joe's Bar & Grill
                3527 Lake Shore Blvd.W., Etobicoke, Ontario
                (416) 251-9080

                I am from the west side so I am biased to wings out here.

                Hope this helps.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Hawkeye1970

                  Thanks for backing me up on this, surely I can't be the only one who isn't sold on Duff's hype... the all vinegar/hotsauce coating did not work for me at all.