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Roaming Bison Tavern under way to replace Nortel Grill

Roaming Bison Tavern is opening in the former Nortel Grill space, bringing a menu rich in smoked meats and bourbon to the corner of Hertel Avenue and Norris Street.

Owner Greg Herzog said that he’s planning to open at 732 Hertel Ave. by late February or early March.

“We’re describing it as upscale pub food with a Southern twist, a lot of smoked meats,” said Herzog. “We’re making it into a true Kentucky bourbon bar, like an old tavern down in Kentucky.”

The liquor collection should include 40 to 60 varieties of bourbon, rye and whiskey, he said. The word “roaming” in the name refers to a diverse menu. “We’ll have a bunch of things on the menu representing the different cultures of Buffalo.”

Expected menu items include a po-boy sandwich version of beef on weck, with beef, horseradish aioli and smoked sea salt. Chicken wings will come in basic Buffalo style, but also in a version that’s fried, smoked and grilled, served in a bourbon glaze.

The smoker will get a workout, with chicken, turkey, brisket, pork and more getting a run under low, slow woodsmoke heat before it’s on the menu.

Herzog said this is his first restaurant. His restaurant resume includes security and management in Las Vegas and Buffalo, most recently recent restaurant experience was as security at The Bend and DBGB’s on Allen Street. Phil Evans, currently a sous chef at Mythos, and Rebecca Muir will run the kitchen.

Changes inside the space includes a new floor and back bar in the barroom. The booths are staying, but paneling has been replaced with drywall, he said. “Just a bit of a facelift, modernizing it without taking away from the character.”

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