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Buffalo Wild Wings Boneless Wings Lawsuit Leaves Chicken Fingers Alone

A Chicago man pursues processed poultry transparency in in claiming boneless wings are just chicken nuggets

Buffalo wild wings store in Kingston. Dunkin Donuts / Baskin...
Buffalo Wild Wings is popular during March Madness.
Photo by Aimee Dilger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

A Chicago man’s lawyers are sharing news with every publication they can that Buffalo Wild Wings’s marketing misleads consumers when it comes to its boneless chicken wings. In a class-action lawsuit filed last week, the plaintiff claims the sports bar chain’s menu and commercials lead “reasonable consumers” to believe the company’s boneless wings are deboned chicken wings “comprised of entirely chicken wing meat,” when in reality they’re glorified chicken nuggets.

“The products are not wings at all, but instead, slices of chicken breast meat deep-fried like wings,” the lawsuit, filed on Friday, March 10 in federal court, reads.

The alleged deception stems from a January visit to a Buffalo Wild Wings, commonly known as B-Dubs, in Chicago’s Northwest Suburbs — Mount Prospect to be exact. The plaintiff, Aimen Halim, alleges he thought he was purchasing an actual batch of chicken wings that had their bones removed.

“Surely, if Buffalo Wild Wings was being transparent with its customers, it could readily change the name of the products (e.g., “boneless chicken”), or disclose on its menu that the products are actually made of chicken breast meat,” the lawsuit reads.

If Halim had known, the lawsuit claims he “would have paid significantly less for them,” and that he’s “suffered a financial injury as a result of defendants’ false and deceptive conduct.”

Buffalo Wild Wings’s Twitter account appeared to respond to the lawsuit posting on Tuesday, March 13: “It’s true. Our boneless wings are all white meat chicken. Our hamburgers contain no ham. Our buffalo wings are 0% buffalo.”

Of course, Buffalo wings are named after the city where they were created and the wings don’t contain any Super Bowl rings, perhaps for authenticity. That’s why the word is capitalized as a proper noun. However, in a crusade for transparency in the world of processed poultry, the lawsuit argues that Domino’s Pizza uses the term “boneless chicken,” while Papa John’s uses “chicken poppers.” Tyson recently rebranded its frozen processed chicken product, previously called “Wyngz,” to “boneless chicken bites” with an asterisk: “Contains No Wing Meat.”

There is no mention of “chicken fingers” in the seven-page filing.

The suit doesn’t ask for a specific amount of monetary compensation for “damages, injunctive relief, restitution, declaratory relief, and all other remedies,” the plaintiff’s attorneys are looking for more people to join in the class action. Buffalo Wild Wings has 1,200 locations all over the world; many of them will be airing NCAA basketball tournament action in the coming weeks: “The number of individuals who purchased the products during the relevant time period is at least in the thousands,” the lawsuit reads.

It seems Chicago is becoming ground zero for chicken wing intrigue. In January, a suburban school official was accused of stealing $1.5 million in chicken wings.