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Tour de Buffalo Wing: Downtown Albany

February 13, 2017

For the first time in a long time I’m feeling like I’m ahead of the game. And that’s despite my cold coming back, and even despite the fact that some enthusiastic shoveling resulted in a tweaked back.

You see, last year the micro regional Tour de Buffalo Wing in Downtown Schenectady didn’t happen until March. And this year, we’re going to be touring the buffalo wings of Downtown Albany on February 18! That means I can start cleaning up my culinary act in March and hopefully be back in fighting shape by swimsuit season.

Yep. I said Downtown Albany. Team Pine Hills made some compelling arguments, and I have absolutely every intention of getting back to Pine Hills for a follow up Tour de Buffalo Wing, but this Saturday, we’re completing the three city downtown trifecta.

Some other decisions have been made too, so get ready to hear about which local places made the cut and learn the rest of the details for Saturday’s tour.

Last year, doing the Tour de Buffalo Wing in Schenectady, I learned something important. It pays to be flexible. It can be challenging to go into a local business with a group of eight people, order one or two baskets of food, eat, and leave.

So in 2016 we chose a central gathering place, divided into teams, and went our separate ways to evaluate the five wing joints on the list. And that worked beautifully.

This year we will replicate that strategy.

Depending on how many people show up, we’re going to split up into groups with a maximum size of five people per group and a minimum size of three. The idea here is that a basket of wings typically has 10 pieces. Two pieces per person is more than enough to evaluate the specimen. And should we need to break into smaller teams, it’s still a manageable task.

Downtown Albany has a new coffee shop. Well, an old coffee shop with a new location. Stacks Espresso is now downtown at 488 Broadway. We’ll meet there at 11:30am.

There we will divide into teams, and hand out scoresheets. Each team will split the cost of the wings as evenly as they can. Please bring cash and bring it in plenty of small bills to facilitate the process. Some places we’ll be going are cash only anyhow. So seriously, don’t show up without cash. K? Thanks.

As usual, we’re not making any effort to alert the places in advance that we’re coming. We’re not hiding what we’re doing, but we’re not looking for any special treatment. It does no good if the wings we get on the tour are better than the wings we would get on a return visit.

So which places made the cut? Well, once we decided on the part of town, the places were pretty easy.

Wings come from a bar tradition, and for this outing we’re going for a traditional version of buffalo wings. That means we’re sticking to places that are more like watering holes. And to keep things consistent at each place we’ll ask for one batch of wings, “medium crispy”. Although, if we end up with enough people, we may field a “hot and crispy” team as well.

So here’s the list, with their Saturday opening times, and the accompanying map:

Hill Street Cafe (11am)
The Excelsior Pub (noon)
McGeary’s (11am)
Albany Pump Station (11:30am)
Graney’s Stout (11:30am)

Sadly, we had to say goodbye to The Hollow since it doesn’t open until 5p on Saturday. The Victory Cafe of today is not the Victory Cafe of blessed memory. While I had some initial interest in The Olde English, it’s clear they do not specialize in traditional buffalo wings. And while I was tempted by the downtown tavern Pinto & Hobbs in the nominations phase, it became clear with further research that the food isn’t why people go there.

So we’ve got our plan. We’ve got a date, February 18. We’ve got a time, 11:30am. We’ve got a meeting spot at Stacks on Broadway.

Now all we need are a few crazy people who want to be a part of this. Let me known in the comments, email, or via social media if you want in so I know how many scoresheets to bring. Don’t forget a pen, small bills, comfortable pants, and a good pair of walking shoes.

Hope to see you soon.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 13, 2017 11:11 am

    I’m in and may bring a friend – I’ll let you know! Edit your date in the almost last paragraph – Feb. 18 is Saturday!!! xxx Zena

    • February 13, 2017 11:18 am

      Fixed. Thanks. Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday, February 18!

    • Susan D'Entremont permalink
      February 13, 2017 12:18 pm

      Zena – I can’t be there, but let me know your winner!

  2. Buffsoulja permalink
    February 13, 2017 1:50 pm

    I think I am in as well – maybe bringing the little one too for part of it if timing works out

    What happened to Victory Cafe btw? I haven’t been in years.

  3. ericscheirerstott permalink
    February 14, 2017 5:24 am

    I’m in!

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