Tonawanda News

December 22, 2012

TOP TEN: No. 8: Upscale eateries bolster local culinary scene

Staff Reports
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — The Tonawandas’ traditional fare of pizza and wings got an overhaul in 2012, with the addition of a handful of upscale, higher-end restaurants opening in the area. 

The newly opened spots add to recent additions in past years, including Crazy Jake’s, which opened in 2008 and Yummy Thai, debuting in 2010. Both have become North Tonawanda staples.

This year, Remington Tavern and Seafood was added to that list. Restaurateur Mark Hutchinson, owner of Hutch’s in Buffalo, and his friend Paul Jenkins, owner of Tempo, brought seafood to the newly renovated Remington Rand building in North Tonawanda when the pair opened the restaurant over the summer.

Located on Sweeney Street right across from the canal, the restaurant prides itself on healthy fish options, with the hallmark of the business being the indoor raw bar, which offers oysters and clams to customers.

But Remington’s true value is its ability to attract local residents who want to go out for a nice meal. Instead of driving out of the city to eat, customers are able to invest in the newly developing downtown of North Tonawanda.

Romeo’s Ristorante is another NT newbie that held its grand opening over the summer. City resident Michael DiGiulio opened the Italian restaurant after being in the business for years.

Food offerings are based on old recipes and include homemade pasta and pizza. Although DiGiulio planned on closing the restaurant during the day, the business quickly took off, with many local customers visiting for lunch.

Romeo’s tapped in on a fun option, too, offering take out to those in boats over the summer — a delivery service the new Smoke on the Water owners have long extolled.

J.J. Richert, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, and his brother, Kevin, opened Torches in Kenmore five years ago, but their love of BBQ  led both to open Smoke on the Water in the old Suzz Cafe right on the Erie Canal.

The brothers emphasized a lack of quality barbecue restaurants in the area ( though there are a couple of well-regarded others depending on what you consider local) and the new option offers the cuisine cooked by professionally trained chefs. Residents now don’t have to travel far for a specialty dessert, as the Richerts also offer a bourbon and apple waffle.

And local business people are continuing to turn the old into the new, with Barbara and Kevin Hughes purchasing the Webster Street building that used to house the beloved Nestor’s Texas Red Hots until it closed last year.

The Hughes plan to convert the building into a french bistro to add to the new culinary scene in the Tonawandas.

The Tonawanda News is compiling its annual list of the top 10 stories of the year. Here's a look at the list so far. • NHL lockout threatens season • HSBC sells out to First Niagara • Upscale restaurants open in area