Americans consume well over one billion chicken wings each year—a mania that started in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, when co-owner Teressa Bellissimo concocted a late-night snack of leftover wings and hot sauce.
Purists may debate the merits of barbecue vs. Buffalo style, but the jerk version served at Yabba is an authentic recipe that owner Skip Quillen acquired several decades ago while spending time in Jamaica. “It takes days to make the sauce,” says Chris Metzler, corporate executive chef for Culinary Concepts, Quillen’s restaurant group. “The herbs and spices are dry-roasted, and then the wings have to marinate for three days. It gets even better after the flavors have blended together.”
Even though Yabba is now focused on seafood, the dish remains extremely popular and perfectly captures the restaurant’s island flavor. “Once you’ve had them, you’ll come back for them,” adds Metzler.