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New restaurant planned for Tonawanda waterfront

Chef J.J. Richert, who got to exercise his showmanship as a Nickel City Chef, aims to make a splash next year with a new seasonal place: a barbecue joint with boat parking.

Richert, who operates Torches on Kenmore Avenue with his brother Kevin, said he plans to open Smoke on the Water next spring with Kevin and a third brother, Mark. The trio has purchased 77 Young St., formerly Suzz Cafe, which is perched on the Erie Canal in the City of Tonawanda.

It might seat 30 inside, but construction is under way, with plans including a 2,000-square-foot deck, J.J. Richert said.

The menu will include barbecue standards like pulled pork, brisket, spare and baby back ribs and chicken, Richert said. It also will pay extra attention to side dishes, with offerings like the mac and cheese from Torches, collard greens with speck and smoked ham hock, pinto beans with chorizo and fresh corn, and fresh spins on cole slaw, potato salad and macaroni salad.

Lots of places have cole slaw, but the parking will be unique. "We'll have an 85-foot dock out back," Richert said. "It'll be so boaters can pull up, tie off, come in and have some barbecue, then take off."

Also on the planning board, Richert said: barbecue dinghy service, serving local marinas. "Call the restaurant, order your barbecue, and we'll bring it to your boat."


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