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“A favorite go-to” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Smoke on the Water

Smoke on the Water
77 Young Street, Tonawanda, NY
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Ranked #5 of 98 restaurants in Tonawanda
Cuisines: Barbecue
Description: The chefs and owners of Torches Restaurant have now opened a new BBQ place right on Ellicott Creek, in the City of Tonawanda. They use homemade rubs, a water churned smoker they builit themselves, and plenty of inovative recipes. JJ and Kevin Richert , Owners and Executive Chefs of Torches Restaurant on Kenmore Ave. in Buffalo, and their creative brother, Mark Richert, are the creators, owners and chefs. There is outdoor seating on the 2 story deck, tables inside, along with a one of a kind bar. All food is of exceptional quality!!!!!
Restaurant details
Description: The chefs and owners of Torches Restaurant have now opened a new BBQ place right on Ellicott Creek, in the City of Tonawanda. They use homemade rubs, a water churned smoker they builit themselves, and plenty of inovative recipes. JJ and Kevin Richert , Owners and Executive Chefs of Torches Restaurant on Kenmore Ave. in Buffalo, and their creative brother, Mark Richert, are the creators, owners and chefs. There is outdoor seating on the 2 story deck, tables inside, along with a one of a kind bar. All food is of exceptional quality!!!!!
Buffalo, NY
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
50 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“A favorite go-to”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2012

The Richert brothers of Torches restaurant opened this BBQ place on the canal last summer to rave reviews. The prices are cheap, the BBQ quite excellent - the ribs, pulled pork and smoked turkey are especially good, and the sides, especially the cornbread, are very good. Don't miss the killer chocolate chip cookies, and for a good investment, but a round of drinks for the kitchen.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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31 reviews from our community

80% Recommend
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Grand Island, New York
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Soooo good”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012

Great service, food and atmosphere! We have eaten here several times and have not had a bad meal. The porch is the best spot to sit. The inside is very small, but great bar with fun and yummy drink specials. Food is good with more than just BBQ to offer, will admit, not the best BBQ i've ever had, but good. Sweet potato waffle fries are killer and their baked beans and greens is amazing.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Niagara Falls, NY
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
“So surprised by the other reviews--loved the food!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2012

I've been to SOTW three times now and I'll keep returning. Yes, the inside is small. There is a patio which is lovely for nice days. The owner tells me they plan to expand/enclose for winter months. There is only 2 or 3 parkng spaces in front of building but you can drop your party off and park for free at the huge public lot across the street near Walgreens. Works for us. Now..to the food. We can't say enough good things about it. We've ordered the three meats, three sides platter for two of us and had food to take home to the boy (and we are NOT small eaters). I don't like super smokey so the pulled pork, ribs, and turkey have been just right. We love the sweet potato fries! The honey butter with madagascar vanilla in it is the best! The mac n' cheese has a good taste and the little goldfish crackers on top are cute. The baked beans are unusual and so tasty. Last time we had green beans with bacon that were perfect. The Hand Grenade is a potato appetizer that we just love! The plantains have been done to perfection every time. Funny, my least favorint thing is the cornbread (kinda dry). They donot have every drink under the sun, but we've been satisfied. Our service has been fast and friendly every time (we've had Lily each time). And compared to other BBQ places in the area, we think the prices are reasonable.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Buffalo, NY
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Hoping for better”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2012

As BBQ lovers, my husband and I stopped in for an early Saturday evening dinner because we knew the place is small with limited seating. We were able to be seated immediately at 5 pm. However, that was probably the highlight of the dinner. Drink orders were taken, asked for ice tea but was told that they did not serve it. Next asked for diet pop and was offered a low budget diet cola. Decided to get a beer and when I asked for Coors light and was told they were out. I ordered pulled pork with BBQ shrimp with sides of greens and beans and sweet potato fries. Servings were sufficient anline sides were tasty. No smoke flavor to the meat.. Hubby ordered a half rack of ribs with cole slaw and corn bread. He was very disappointed in the ribs as he thought the ribs had been boiled initially with sauce brushed over it as the meat was bland and did not have a smokey flavor to it. He felt the best part of his dinner was the corn bread. Outdoor seating on Ellicott Creek was nice however the plastic folding chairs need to go. We are not large people and the chairs were very uncomfortable. Beware of the parking if you plan on eating at the restaurant unless you have a boat or a motorcycle. There is one parking spot. Not sure if I will be able to convince my husband to return to this place again with other BBQ places opening in the area.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Buffalo, New York
Top Contributor
116 reviews 116 reviews
83 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
81 helpful votes 81 helpful votes
“Under preforming BBQ”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2012

Visited SOTW after much anticipation of it opening. The chef/owners also run one of my favorite area restaurants, Torches. So being a major BBQ fan, I was expected nothing short of brilliant with the food offerings. The establishment is literally a short bike ride away from my house so I was even more excited of the idea of eating good BBQ on the reg. It is located right on a canal right off the main canal that separates Tonawanda and North Tonawanda. They boast two decks with a dock to allow you to drive your boat right up to catch some food and drinks. Parking is very limited in front of the restaurant but you can most likely find parking on the street or behind Walgreens. My gripe with the front of the restaurant is that is cluttered with a bunch of junk that makes the place look very unsightly. They have a large truck that they have had there for a year now. MOVE IT!! Park it at Torches! Plus a bunch of other stuff that just needs to get out of there.
Inside of the place is pretty small, but I think it adds to the charm of the restaurant. There are probably not more than 8 tables plus the bar. When we got there it was pretty and our tables was being cleared on the back deck. Once the weather get cold and you can't sit outside, you probably won't be able to get more than 4 people at a table, so don't think about bringing a large group here. So we started by ordering some drinks from the bar as we waited.
My first strike- Very unpleasant bartender. Not very knowledgeable and not very friendly.
So we sit down and it was a pretty warm and humid night so I was jonsing for some water. 10 mins later they bring us water. Apparently they had no glasses. Really? A new and small restaurant that have no glasses? It took equally as long to get drinks too. We ended up going back to the bar and had to deal with that witch of a bartender that made us feel like we were inconveniencing her that she had to actually work.
Anyway, we order our food. All three couples ordered the three combo meal to share. My choices were baby back ribs, pulled pork, smokes turkey, with sides or fries and slaw. Everyone else basically ordered the same thing. The food came out on a large platter. For the price you are paying, I expected more. But I expected the quality to be where that didn't matter to me. Needless to say, the food never lived up to my expectations. My assessment:

Ribs- Very ordinary and very average. In fact, I was shocked. WHERE WAS THE SMOKE!! Now I know they are smoking the ribs because the large custom smoker was in plain view, but I didn't detect any of it! If this is a smokehouse, then you should have smoke on your food, especially the ribs. The ribs were tender and moist, but they were covered in BBQ sauce, one thing I don't like unless the sauce it good which it's not. I prefer more of a drier ribs, with more of a glaze and then you can dip into the sauce. You find this style more in championship style BBQ, and especially in Memphis. However the sauce it very average. Not bunch difference from bottled Sweet Baby Rays. Way to thick, sweet, and not enough spice and vinegar. It just did nothing for me. Now if the sauce had a smokiness to it, it might have made the ribs better, but the lack of smoke in both just made these ribs uneventful. I'm wondering if the chef even tasted the ribs? And if they believe these are acceptable, then they will have a very short life expectancy for this restaurant.
Pulled Pork- Pretty decent. Moist, plump pieces (a positive quality), but again, not enough smoke flavor. It tasted more like the pulled pork I make in my crock pot. However, pulled pork relies on BBQ sauce to balance out the flavors, and adding this sauce didn't improve it. It simply needs a better dosage of apple cider vinegar to give it some zip. The current sauce just makes the pork to heavy.
Smoked Turkey- I actually enjoyed this more than anything because you could actually taste some smoke. unfortunately, they don't give you much of it. They should have a separate sauce for the turkey too. Maybe a mustard base sauce?
On a better note, the slaw was excellent. Very creamy and delicious.
Overall, I was pretty disappointed with the overall experience. I will go back to get a second opinion. Maybe it was a bad batch? I hope so.....

  • Visited July 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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