The Ruck v. The Ale House: A Rebuttal

Reading Jess’s post about wings was like being hit by a bus. I really didn’t see it coming. I found myself asking “Do I really know her?” and “How have we been friends this long?”. She really destroyed my whole afternoon… Now instead of doing the job I actually get paid for, I’m stuck proving how wrong my former friend is. My day really has taken a turn.

First, I just want to say that I am the most qualified to discuss buffalo wings. To paraphrase our pal Bane, Jess merely adopted the buffalo wing. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t realize there were different flavors til I was nearly an adult and by then my taste buds had been seared off…


4 out of 5 Banes agree that the Ruck has better wings

4 out of 5 Banes agree that the Ruck has better wings


I digress. My point is I was quite literally raised eating buffalo wings at least once a week. I was that kid in The Arc on 10 cent wing night. I was also that kid in Jessica Stones covered in wing sauce during the Derby and the Breeders’ Cup. I was the teenager eating 8 Scubber’s atomic wings, 7 more than my companions, without any blue cheese. I was the college student at Hooter’s on all you can eat wing night putting down 34 of those breaded monstrosities. That one wasn’t my finest hour but whatever. As an adult, I’ve been to more Wing Wars than a normal human should go to. The point I’m trying to make is not that I’m a fat kid or I’m better than anyone that hasn’t done any of the above, just that I know and love wings.

I’ve also been to both Duff’s and Anchor Bar in Buffalo, both of whom claim the title for the first to make a buffalo wing. While I commend them for their effort, I will say that both the Ale House and the Ruck have better wings. By a lot. Just an aside, I find wings to be hotter around the Upstate area than they are in the Buffalo area. Someone give me a reason for this?

Anyway, I don’t like to dabble in funny flavored wings. Yes I’ve had the pb&j wings at Park Pub and they were good, but if I’m going to eat the portion of a chicken responsible for its flight, I only have one flavor I want to taste, and that is buffalo. Anything else seems wrong and makes me make a face. An ugly, unhappy face.

With this preface, my requirements for a good wing are as follows:

1) Flavor: Hot. Very hot. I want my sinuses to clear. However, I don’t want it to be at the expense of good flavor. There needs to be more than Frank’s Hot Sauce and butter on here. The bar that Jess used to work at had the worst wings. It wasn’t her fault because it wasn’t a cooking issue but whomever bought or made the wing sauce really failed. It was atrocious.

2) Crispy: There needs to be a crunch however there is a fine line between fleshy, crispy, and dessicated. I’ll forgive the occasional miss towards overfried(hell, I understand. Sometimes I accidentally overcook bacon which everyone knows is a food sin), but if they are undercooked I’m never coming back.

3) Saucy: I want this to be a sloppy fiasco and wearing buffalo sauce like war paint is part of the experience.

4) The Extras: A side of celery and/or carrots with blue cheese is a must. Personally, I don’t dip my wings in blue cheese because I don’t want to tame the spice but soggy veggie sides and ranch dressing are a sure fire indicator that I’m about to get shitty wings.

I don’t care about anything other than these four things. I’ll gladly eat wings with flat soda, shitty beer, a glass of white wine, or apple juice and I think wet wipes are for people that worry about burning their eyeballs when they take out their contacts later due to residual wing sauce on their fingers. Wimps.

Based on my objectively better qualifications, the Ruck wins. I won’t turn down the Ale House if people are going but if I’m craving wings, I’m headed to the Ruck. On their worst day, the wings at the Ruck are heads above the local competition with only the Ale House anywhere in the rearview. On their best day, which is most days, there’s no question. I will concede that the spicyness for hot wings is dependant on who is on the fryer that night, but I’ve learned that if you just say “really hot” to  ANYONE working, I’m going to be just fine and my sinuses will be totally cleared out. Add to that that the Ruck has the best blue cheese in town and it’s game over.

TL; DR: Ruck wins the battle of Troy. Period. The End.

Mic Drop.


  1. Welf says:

    Good point on the Celery/Carrots.

  2. Jessica says:

    You WOULD drink flat soda. Sicko. Also, you don’t even like celery OR carrots. Who is Bane?

    Let’s settle this the old fashioned way. Sharks VS. Jets. Tonight. Corner of 2nd and State.

    (I do love when you mic drop… know that gets me every time. )

    • cmaxby says:

      I don’t actively drink flat soda, it’s just that drinks don’t factor into my wing experience. Also, since you don’t know Bane you aren’t allowed to post Grumpy Cat pictures anymore. Internet license revoked!

      And I do know you love the mic drop. That’s why I do it. ;)

  3. Brando says:

    I lived in buff for a semester, you’re def right about their wings. You’ll never convince a native until their crying in scubbers tho.

  4. pfam518 says:

    The Ruck is a great place their tapline is the best in the capital region, hell it might be the best on the east coast. But The Ale House has better wings, the key here is consistency. I have had wings many times at The Ruck and while for the most part they have been enjoyable I have gotten a few clunkers there as well. The Ale House wings are consistently great. That said I am lucky to live in Troy to be able to frequent these two great taverns.

    • CMaxby says:

      Totally agree regarding how lucky we are to have them both. Troy may not have a supermarket but we have amazing pizza and wings. It’s about priorities!!

  5. Mike says:

    At Duff’s it says right on the menu “Medium means hot.”

    whatchu know about chicken WANGS

  6. -R. says:

    I’ve tried, really tried to get into The Ruck’s wings, but I find myself slithering back to The Ale House every single time. Then again, it’s my go-to bar and not just for the wings – their entire menu is consistently tasty, and they make one hell of a burger.

  7. DUFFS FER LYFE says:

    I find it sacrilege that you just said wings made in Albany are better than Duffs. I’ve have wings from far and wide, and Duffs are the pinnacle of chicken wings. They make the perfect combination of adequate sauce, heat, crisp and meatyness that is all good things chicken wing – things the ruck and ale house lack. Chicken wings from the Capital Region are mediocre at best for me. Just lacking something that Western New York perfected a long time ago. The ruck scores points for loading the sauce on, but the ale house wins in crispy wings. Ale house takes this battle for me.

    • cmaxby says:

      I said the wings in Troy are better than Duffs. Albs doesn’t have a dog in the fight.

      • DUFFS FER LYFE says:

        By Albany I was talking about the Capital Region ie. Troy. Sorry for not clarifying. It’s the same to say that the Duff’s in Amherst is far superior to the one Williamsville on Transit Rd. But people just generalize by saying Duff’s in Buffalo. That said, Duff’s at any location have superior wings than ones from anywhere in the Capital Region by leaps and bounds. But, people will always have their own taste for things and locational biases, so I guess it is an argument that will never really amount to much.

  8. Will says:

    You’re off base, Duff’s doesnt claim to have been the first, simply the best, and they are. End your discussion there. as I wrote on the other article, both Ale House and the Ruck would do just fine out in the ruff buff as well, they rock.

    • cmaxby says:

      I knew I was risking waking the sleeping giant that is the Duff’s fan base when I said the Ruck was better but I stand by what I wrote. I’ve found that while Albany tends to be indifferent to a good swipe, Buffalo/WNY gets defensive and I respect that. There’s nothing wrong with local pride. If it softens the blow any I think there are things in Buffalo that are done better there than in Troy. Buffalo has a really nice botanical garden and it’s very easy to get prescription pain meds from the doctors. Makes for a nice afternoon!

  9. Father Philbert says:

    Having come of age at the rise of chicken wingery, I can say that there have been many posers of deep fried knowledge. It wasn’t too soon after the Temple of Anchors popularized the morsel that multiple attempts were made to improve it. None succeeded. And, even though you may find Chicken Wings available in most, if not all, grocery meat departments, there was a time where anything that came off a bird was called a “chicken’s wing”. During the time of the Great Chicken Wing Shortage of 1979, other species started showing up on some menus. Squab (aka pigeon) wings can not and will not be acceptable substitutes. Pheasant, quail, and duck may have there place in European cuisine, but not while downing $2.00 pitchers of Moli Goli’s or Heini’s (Molson Golden and Heinenken were two very popular “imports” at the time.) Just think was the bird’s had to sacrifice!

    Wings (as any experienced person calls them) are not to be battered, breaded, or baked. They can’t be dropped into that same oil in which you just did your Friday Fish Fry* (*Buffalo reference, not necessarily associated with the Lenten season.) Preferably, wings should be fresh, not frozen, taken from young birds with exceptionally large appendages. AND, for God’s sake, don’t let a restaurant ever serve them with the distal tip. That might look good on some antacid commercial, but also means some poultry salesman just unloaded a whole bunch of crap. Watch out for the clams.

    It will never happen again in your lifetime, but “10 CENT WING NIGHT” made many a college student very happy back in the day. You throw in some 25 cent drafts, and you’ve got yourself a PARRR-TY! The only thing better was the occassional “FREE WING HAPPY HOUR”, but these bar owners soon learned that there were a mutlitude of young males in the world who would sacrifice their mouths, tongues, and other delicate body parts for a chance at FREE food.

    There was an instance, when this idea first came to pass, that a good friend and I wanted to test the system. The “free” period started at around 4 o’clock in the afternoon,, so we arrived just a little early to get a good seat. This, in and of itself, was a premature, as we two were the only ones there. When time arrived, the bartender brought out a plate of 6 wings; three for each of us. Slowly sipping on the first of only two beers, we survived that service and awaited the next batch. There was no one else there yet, so out came the next serving; 6 wings, 3 for each of us.

    The bartender soon discovered that we weren’t chasing the heat of the wings with large quantities of the sudsy brew. We continued to nurse just that one glass each. He disappeared into the kitchen. We could tell by the tone of the converstation, that a “special” batch was being prepared for us. Sure enough, the next 6 wings came out dripping in sauce. Not to be outdone, we took extra care to make sure not one bit of sauce got wasted. We were still on our first drafts. The bartender was getting quite upset.

    The next serving had a definite “aroma” that made our eyes water. And yet, we took our time, and finished these six coincidental to bottoming out our steins. Another round of each was ordered, but to make us suffer, both the second beer and the fifth serving of wings seemed to take an extra long time coming. Paper napkins were called for, not so much for our fingers and mouths, but for the sweat that was pouring from our brows. We were being made to experience pain. ….. (Nice try.)

    This command performance continued, as we slowly consumed beer and wings alike. The “Happy Hour” of free wings came to a close just as we dropped our now-emptied glasses back on the bar.
    Although the establishment continued to offer “Happy Hour”, they never again advertised “Free” chicken wings. Nor did we ever wish to inadvertantly challenge another chef to see how HOT he could make them.

  10. Jessica R says:

    Ladies and gents, come join us on the FussyLittleBlog’s Tour de Wings of Troy! Then we can hopefully put the Ale House/Ruck argument to rest! Comment on the blog to state where else you think we should go.

Speak Your Mind