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JOHN YOUNG’S MUMBO WINGS

REMEMBERING BUFFALO'S PIONEERING CHICKEN WING RESTAURATEUR

JOHN YOUNG’S MUMBO WINGS - THE ORIGINAL CHICKEN WING OF BUFFALO, NY

Buffalo Bike Tours and the Young Family have proudly partnered together to preserve and promote the legacy of John Young through a chicken wing tourcommunity mural, and bottled sauces.

REMEMBERING JOHN YOUNG (1934-1998)

John Young was born in Stockton, Alabama in 1934. At the age of 13, he moved to Buffalo, NY and married Elizabeth Christine at age 24, and soon started a family with three children. Young worked at American Radiator and later Bethlehem Steel, and began his self-employed life as an entrepreneur selling Blair Products door-to-door.

In 1961, he opened a store located at Carlton and Jefferson, specializing in Blair Products, but soon focused exclusively on food. His first restaurant, Wings N’ Things, was started with his sister Dorothy Young and friend, Julius Blazer. Young moved to High Street and Jefferson Avenue, and became known for selling whole chicken wings dipped in mumbo sauce. In 1966, Young’s now-thriving business moved again to East Utica St and Jefferson, where he filed his business at the County Clerk’s office as John Young’s Wing N’ Things.

In 1970, due to increased racial turmoil in Buffalo, John and Christine moved their family to Decatur, IL. There, John continued his business ventures, opening two restaurants and two mobile food trucks (named Meals On Wheels) that served high school students and workers at the Wagner Steel Plant.

In 1980, the Young family returned to Buffalo and opened three restaurant locations on East Delevan, at Central Park Plaza, and on Bailey Avenue. In the mid-1980s, Young also established two restaurants businesses in Tulsa, OK.

John Young was not only a business innovator but he was also invested in improving the community, which he felt started with the youth. In the early 1960s, he started Tots & Teens, an organization that focused on teens investing their time, energy, and finances to improve themselves and their community. In the 1990s, Young would try to expand on his idea of community service by creating a master plan for a soul food processing business based in the East Side of Buffalo, with its managers and workforce being young people.

John Young passed away in 1998 before his goal could be achieved. Still, Young’s legacy lives on and his story continues to resonate today.

JOHN YOUNG MEMORIAL MURAL

In 2021, Buffalo Bike Tours, in conjunction with the Young Family and Michigan Street Corridor, launched a fundraising effort to recreate a mural honoring John Young at Jefferson and Carlton, at the site of his first restaurant.

With funding from a GoFundMe drive, the Baird Foundation, and Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, John Baker and the WNY-Urban Arts Collective were commissioned to paint the mural. The design takes inspiration from a painting that once stood in Young’s restaurant, originally by muralist Bill Cooper and completed by Dalton Easton. The mural is located at Jefferson Ave and Carlton. 

BUFFALO BIKE TOURS’ WING RIDE

Lina Brown Young carries on her father’s memory by preparing his original recipe, just as he did in the 1960s, on Buffalo Bike Tours’ Wing Ride. Tours operate May-October. Simply put, you don’t know Buffalo until you’ve tried mumbo wings!
John Young's Original Mumbo Sauce

JOHN YOUNG'S ORIGINAL MUMBO SAUCE

John Young’s mumbo sauce is now available in bottles! Buy the original sauce that started the entire Buffalo wing phenomenon! Sweet, tangy and delicious, you’ll truly savor this barbecue sauce that has been unavailable for more than two decades.

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