New mural pays homage to Buffalo’s original ‘King of Wings’

BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) – A highly anticipated mural pays homage to Buffalo’s original ‘King of Wings’.

The mural, which features Buffalo John Young Restaurant, was erected this month at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Carlton Street – the site of Young’s first restaurant in Queen’s Town.

Young owned several restaurants in town in the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s, and his famous “Mumbo Wings” were what they were best known for.

Young’s daughter, Lina Brown Young, says the mural is a recreation of the one that adorned the walls of her father’s restaurant on Delavan Avenue.

“It brings back a lot of memories to me – I remember when he was walking up to the location in the 1980s,” Brown Young said. “I remember when the mural was being painted – every day the gentleman was there, very detailed, while we were busy serving food.”

Buffalo Bike Tours organized the crowdfunding and commission for the mural.

Buffalo Bike Tours owner Marc Moscato included information about John Young and his contribution to the city’s wing culture on his Wing Ride tours. Brown Young prepared his father’s Mumbo Wings for the riders to try out.

Talking about Young’s impact raised the question of public memory, what is remembered and what is not, Moscato said.

“Recreating that story behind the mural – it’s a great way to honor a pioneer in our culinary history,” Moscato said. “We probably wouldn’t have wings like we have today without him.”

The grassroots campaign raised $ 12,000 through pop-up sales of Mumbo wings, grants and more.

It was painted by members of the Urban Arts Collective WNY – by artists of three generations.

Artist John Baker has first-hand memories of John Young’s restaurants.

“You would be surprised, the people who answered it who have their own connection to the story,” Baker said. “It’s amazing when you have the chance, as an artist, to contribute to your community and be a part of something like that – it’s invaluable. ”

Tyshaun Tyson was the youngest artist on the project. He says he learned of Young’s legacy through the process.

“Being from the city and a chicken wing lover, it was cool to bring all of these factors together,” Tyson added.

Artist James Cooper says he’s seen a lot of reactions to the mural on social media, with many people sharing their own memories and photos of Young and his restaurant.

“It gives people a sense of pride, history and the real story behind the Buffalo Chicken Wing,” Cooper said.

Bike Tours in Buffalo plans to hold a fresco ceremony this spring to coincide with the kickoff of the touring season.

You can also buy Mumbo Wings at The Kitchen in the Broadway Market Wednesdays and Thursdays in November and December.

Kaley Lynch is a digital journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of her work here.

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