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There are people – good, well-meaning people, friends of mine – who say there’s no such thing as bad barbecue. We’re still friends because we can always settle our differences – with tacos, wings or Chinese regional specialties. Not barbecue, though. Once I began investing 12 to 16 hours babysitting pork butts as they crust up in the smoke, softening to sweetness as the…

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J.J. Richert and his brother Kevin have put their City of Tonawanda restaurant up for sale. Smoke on the Water, 77 Young St., has been serving up barbecue and kicked-up family food since the Richerts opened it in 2012. Now that their families have grown, the brothers said in a statement, it's time to reconsider how they spend their time. "Eight years, five children, …

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Since 2014, Akron native Melissa Babiarz has balanced her thriving barbecue food trailer and catering business, Babz BBQ, a full-time job as an automotive inspector and being a caregiver for her mother. "I have a full plate," Babiarz said. “If you love what you do then, you know, you never work a day in your life. That’s the truth. And that’s how it is with barbecue." …

Food and Drink

It was a sad time in Buffalo-area barbecue when Kentucky Greg's closed last May after 21 years of service. While owners Greg and Pamela Englehardt have catered events and organized pop-up service featuring items such as Brunswick Stew, smoked chicken and a line of desserts, Jan. 12 will mark one of the few times that Kentucky Greg's has offered barbecue staples since it…

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Pastor Al Robinson and his wife, Vivian, look around the Lovejoy District and see hope, a word seldom used to describe the East Side of Buffalo. This hope stems from La Verdad Cafe, the Robinsons' new barbecue enterprise, inside the former "crack house" they took over at 1132 E. Lovejoy St. in early September. The restaurant is warm and welcoming, and that's intentional…

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The barbecue at La Verdad Cafe, the new smoked meat enclave at 1132 E. Lovejoy St., extends far beyond its popular Stretch Mark brisket sandwich, even if that choice steals the thunder because of its size and quality. Read the story behind the restaurant opened by pastors Al and Vivian Robinson and how it shows promise in helping to change a neighborhood with a rough re…

Food and Drink

The newly opened Sticky Face BBQ in North Tonawanda is adding another smoky destination to the slowly expanding barbecue scene in Buffalo. Never something for which we've been particularly known, Buffalo barbecue has experienced a recent uptick in spots serving smoked meats both full-time and as rotating specialties. Sticky Face is a full-time barbecue joint serving …

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Though the national conversation about Buffalo food revolves around pizza and wings (and there's no question that Buffalo is the place for these delights), one of the area's best-kept secrets is that it has some very good barbecue joints. There are a growing number of very good barbecue restaurants popping up around the area to join smokehouses like Smokin’ Little Dine…

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BW’s Smokin’ Barrels Barbecue is a Southtowns treasure. The spacious restaurant includes a roomy bar area, and seating between the two is ample for even a Saturday evening crowd. On this day, though, my family would indulge in BW’s loaded take-out menu. Struggling for time that saw two kids each competing in  tournaments, we skipped the pizza-and-wings and went straight…

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Constrained by zoning restrictions that prohibit open flames and a building structure that won’t accommodate a formal kitchen, Matthew Krupp, the co-owner of new The Lackawanna Grove Bar with Morgan Crewson, has managed to offer a brand-new barbecue menu. The smoked meat offerings at The Grove leverage three meats in a variety of sandwiches, resulting in a respectable s…

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When Bill Storr and his wife Marla purchased the former Adventures in Heat in Clarence three years ago, they thought they were stepping out of the manufacturing and financial sectors to get into the retail business. Little did they know they would be devoting most of their free time to a venture that is part retail, part restaurant, and a whole lot of delicious. They…

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Dickey's Barbecue Pit Cuisine: Authentic hickory-smoked, Texas-style pit barbecue. Owner: Abban Westby Price range: $10-$15 Established: 2016 Dishes to try: Frito pie (corn chips smothered in pulled beef brisket, pinto beans, cheese and onions, sprinkled with rib rub), $9.75; brisket mac stack (pulled beef brisket over creamy macaroni and cheese), $9.75. Br…

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J&L's Boulevard BBQ Truck Cuisine: No-frills classic barbecue and smoked standards. Owner: Joe Tomasino Price range: $4-$14 Established: 2015 Dishes to try: Baby back ribs with a side, $10; rib and smoked chicken wing combo with french fries, $14. Brick and mortar location: 697 Erie Ave., North Tonawanda Social media: Facebook, Twitter

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Fat Bob's Smokehouse Cuisine: Southern barbecue with award-winning mac and cheese. Owner: Patrick Ryan Price range: $2-$13 Established: 2017 Dishes to try: Texas mac bowl (macaroni and cheese topped with chopped beef brisket, house-smoked bacon, and jalapeños), $12; Memphis pulled pork sandwich (slow smoked pork shoulder with house barbecue sauce on a Kaiser r…

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Babz BBQ Cuisine: Barbecue Owner: Melissa Babiarz Price range: $6-$13 Established: 2016 Dishes to try: Brisket sandwich on a Costanzo's roll; $11; smoked chicken wings, $10. Social media: Facebook