Everyone knows that watching sports is exponentially better when wings and beer are involved, and Buffalo Wild Wings is the place where the trifecta of fun comes together. You'd be hard-pressed to find a spot with a wider range of wing sauce flavors, and the vision of multiple TVs blaring every sport imaginable is enough to bring grown men to tears. For those reasons, any sports fan worth their salt has spent hours at this chain cheering on their team, but you'll definitely want to read up on how B-Dubs came to be before tearing into your next order of boneless wings.
1. It all started on the Ohio State campus
Jim Disbrow and Scott Lowery were business partners living in Columbus, Ohio when a craving for Buffalo-style chicken wings struck. They weren't able to track down the tangy sauce anywhere nearby, so they made their own concoction and opened their first restaurant on campus at Ohio State University in 1982. The chain is now based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but many locations are still placed near college campuses to give students their wing fix.
2. The original name was Buffalo Wild Wings & Weck
The founders served up their signature wings alongside another Buffalo-area favorite: beef on weck. The sandwich consists of hot roast beef on a kummelweck roll, studded with kosher salt and caraway seeds. Though upstate New York residents love the stuff, chicken wings were more popular and the sandwich was dropped from the menu as well as the restaurant name. It's now widely referred to as B-Dubs for short, which is a registered trademark!
3. There are over 1,120 locations, and counting
B-Dubs has opened locations across the United States and it even went international in 2011 with an expansion to Canada. Now, people can chow down at the sports bar in Mexico, the Philippines and Dubai. Next up are Saudi Arabia, India and Panama as the chain aims for 1,700 locations across North America and 400 internationally over the next 10 years.
4. Boneless wings are the big moneymaker
It's no surprise that the top seller on the menu is the chicken wings! The chain sells nearly 2 billion wings each year —that's over 1 billion boneless wings and about 768 million traditional, or 27 million per week on average. During March Madness in 2015, they reportedly sold more than 100 million. WOW.
5. Buffalo Wild Wings is trying out the taco biz
The wing king decided to dip its toe into another fast-casual concept, and acquired a majority stake in the chain R Taco (formerly Rusty Taco) in spring 2016, which serves "street-style tacos," beer and margs on the cheap.
6. The chain is the largest pourer of draft beer in the country
Locations usually offer at least 20 (and as many as 30) draft beers, and customers really guzzle it! In addition to national brands like Sam Adams, expect to see regional picks from craft breweries on tap.
7. B-Dubs is serious about sports
The tagline is "Wings. Beer. Sports." and they don't skimp on the third element. Servers and bartenders dress in B-Dubs gear designed to look like jerseys and activewear and, in 2015, the chain even hired "guest captains" to change TV channels, offer beers and sauce samples and play trivia games with customers during major sporting events. Not to mention the fact that the brand sponsored the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl in 2015 and 2016!
8. The restaurants are getting high-tech
The TVs used to play music videos, but as the place became a popular destination to watch sports over the years, they've had to up their game in the gadget department. With the new Stadia restaurant design, customers can take advantage of 30+ high-definition flat screens that stretch from wall to wall, plus strategic seating and state-of-the-art sound and video. The idea is to mimic the feeling of being inside a real sports stadium, and a video gaming wall just adds to the fun. A tablet system is also rolling out to improve convenience by letting customers order and pay right at their table, without the help of a server.
9. They have their own Sauce Lab
There are 21 signature sauces, ranging from the mild Sweet BBQ to the much-feared Blazin'. B-Dubs' Sauce Lab is always developing new flavors to keep customers licking their fingers, plus they'll periodically re-release retired flavors like Wicked Wasabi and Ghost Pepper. Keep an eye out for Summer Shandy and Strawberry Sriracha, debuting in May 2016.
10. You can take the Blazin' Wings Challenge
Customers who think they can take the heat can test their tastebuds by eating 12 of the restaurant's hottest wings in under 6 minutes. Make sure to follow the rules: No drinks, no dipping sauces, no puking and absolutely no crying. If you complete the challenge, you'll take home a free T-shirt!
11. There are serious discounts to be had
Happy hour gets you discounts on mixed drinks, domestic drafts and craft and premium beers, plus $4 Shareables like tacos, chips, fried pickles, mozzarella sticks and queso. Happy hour runs from 4–7pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and all day long on Wednesdays. Get discounted wings all day on Wing Tuesdays and Boneless Thursdays, too!