It was in Buffalo, New York that Teressa Bellissimo began serving spicy chicken wings at the Anchor Bar. That was the 70s. Now, wings are popular and the Buffalo style is served all over the U.S. As the market got larger, many restaurants introduced variations of the original such as garlic, barbecue, honey mustard, Caribbean jerk or Asian style. Smoked meat predates the more recent Buffalo Wing fad and Minnesota is home to authentic Southern-style smokehouses. Read on to learn more about five places where you can find some of Minnesota’s best wings.
WCCO Viewers’ Choice
Ray J’s American Grill
9854 Norma Lane
Woodbury, MN 55125
(651) 714.2035

“First off, nothing better than a full, whole wing,” says owner Mark Jacob to WCCO’s Matt Brickmann. Not only are they whole, but also jumbo-sized wings in three-pound servings. Half servings are available too. Minnesota native Mark and his brother Paul Jacob learned the trade from their dad, Ray, owner of Schuller’s Tavern in Golden Valley and named the restaurant after him. Mom gets credit for the delicious garlic dry rub. “The sauce is what makes a wing,” says Jacob. Popular menu selections are the traditional Buffalo Wings, spicy Habanero Wings or sweet and spicy Drunken Wings, with all sauces made from scratch. Ray’s now has a second location in Minneapolis at Hennepin and Central.

Related: WCCO Viewers’ Choice For MN’s Best Chicken Wings: Ray J’s

Best Smoked Wings
Smoke In The Pit
3733 Chicago Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55407
(612) 315-3145

They’re not Buffalo style, but Dwight and Ivy Alexander’s wings are delectable, juicy, salty and smoky. They are easy to eat, dry on the outside and juicy on the inside. Smoke In The Pit has offered take-out barbecue since 1998. You can find smoked chicken wings, turkey legs, ribs, whole chicken and beef brisket here. Take them out with Southern-style side dishes and sauces.

Related: Best Barbecue In Minnesota

Best Variety Of Buffalo Wings
705 Century Avenue N.
Maplewood, MN 55119
(651) 730-7768

What D-Spot lacks in few menu choices it makes up by serving the widest variety of deep-fried wings imaginable. There are nearly one hundred different flavors on the menu. There are so many flavors to choose from that the menu groups them as savory, sweet spicy, haunted, scorpion’s lair, or death row. Patrons are met with a smoky ambience in this no-frills restaurant that is primarily take-out.

Related: DeRusha Eats: Chicken Wings At D-Spot

Best Caribbean Jerk Wings
Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque
423 Main Street S.
Stillwater, MN 55082
(651) 439-5375

Executive Chef and Co-owner Shawn Smalley grew up in Stillwater but travelled to Jamaica to discover the art of preparing its unique spicy fare. Now patrons can choose the degree of spiciness from a little heat index card, including the typically sweet-hot jerk sauces. Food Network’s Guy Fieri went all the way to the top of the spicy list for Smalley’s 666 wings, served with a side of Death Juice, a tasty torment of ghost pepper burn. Food Network’s Tim Allen rated Smalley’s chicken as the best jerk chicken ever, according to this Amelia Santaniello feature.

Best Beijing-Style Wings
Monte Carlo
219 3rd Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 333-5900

Crispy, crusty, Asian tangy covered with a dry rub of 18 select spices. Monte Carlo’s owner John Rimarcik created a unique Asian flavor unlike anything else. They make a great munch for lunch, or an after-work tasty treat with a drink at the copper-topped bar of this North Loop landmark.

RelatedDara Moskowitz Grumdahl’s Top Buffalo Wings

Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at