Tucked between a cluster of chain hotels just off the 290 on Niagara Falls Boulevard is one of the area's better-kept secrets — especially if you like a tasty cut of red meat on game day.
Buffalo Roadhouse Grill — the former chain turned independent eatery — draws a solid crowd when there’s a game on the big screen. It doesn’t hurt that it offers enticing game-day drink specials. Swing in to watch the Sabres, as I did on a recent snowy weeknight, and you can grab a pitcher of your favorite domestic beer for $9. Buffalo Roadhouse also offers my favorite special in the history of food and beverage. Order a drink — any drink — and you can add on a delicious taco for a buck. The only thing better than a $3 Long Island Iced Tea (another Sabres drink special) is pairing it with a taco.
Bills fans don’t despair. If you are already planning ahead for a place to watch the playoff drought end in 2017, there are plenty of game-day specials for you, too. This season featured two-for-one house wines as well as 16-ounce draft beers and a $3 Bloody Mary.
If you crave the action at the bar, you won’t be disappointed. Buffalo Roadhouse offers four flatscreens at the bar that are fashioned into a four-sided jumbotron of sorts. Rest assured, if there is a premier sporting event — be it the hometown teams, college action or even Tiger Woods' recent return to the links — it will be on one of the 10 screens strategically placed so you won’t miss a moment of the action.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed dining and cocktails experience, there are both high-top and traditional tables surrounding the bar. Pick your place and bring your appetite. The Roadhouse is known for its steaks and on this visit I opted for The Roadie, a marinated steak topped with a heaping pile of Cajun grilled onions, served with a baked potato and salad ($20.99). Its one of several signature dishes on the menu, including Buffalo Chicken Wing Soup ($3.50 cup/$4.50 bowl) and beef on weck ($9.99).
The bar at The Buffalo Roadhouse won’t be mistaken for an establishment on Chippewa, or even Elmwood for that matter. But if you are looking for a mellow place to watch a game with a relaxed vibe, friendly bartenders and great food, give it a try.
1980 Niagara Falls Blvd., Tonawanda (692-7999)
Open: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Why: Because you’re looking for an alternative to the city scene.
Parking: Plentiful in the lot.
Credit/debit accepted: Yes
Best viewing spot: Thanks to the four-sided jumbotron television over the bar, there isn’t a bad seat in the house.
Drink specials: A daily happy hour is from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with two-for-one domestic drafts and house wines. Sabres and Bills game-day specials also offered.
Can’t-miss bar food: What’s a game without the snacks? Grab an order of the stuffed peppers ($9.99) and a plate of potato skins ($8.99) and you’re set.
Instagram op: Get creative with the giant barrel of peanuts.
And if you hate sports: Order a thick, hand-cut steak and a cold beer and you won’t care what’s on the television.