Tonawanda News — T
he newest barbecue joint in the area, Smoke on the Water, is off to a busy start after its opening July 4. The waterfront restaurant, owned by the Richert brothers, J.J., Kevin and Mark, is quickly becoming a staple for many locals.
“It’s been crazy, almost overwhelming,” Kevin said. “The community has been extremely supporting.”
The restaurant, located on the Erie Canal on Young Street, has been absolutely packed — averaging 80 to 100 people for lunch, and 200 to 300 for dinner, making it hard for the brothers and the rest of the staff to get a full night’s sleep.
“We only have the capacity for about 50 at best with the bar and outside eating area,” Kevin said. “So we’re turning this place over three or four times a night.”
Smoke on the Water’s take out business is also taking off, an aspect that Kevin said is a large part of their business. He’s also working on developing a catering service for office lunches and parties.
And customers keep coming back, too. Kevin said the restaurant already has regular customers — like the couple that arrived by boat on opening day.
“It was like love at first sight. They said that this is what they had been waiting for here,” Richert said. “The first day, they had some appetizers, the next day, salad, then dinner, then dessert. They just kept coming back. They went through the whole menu, so they said, ‘well, let’s go through it again.’ “
The restaurant’s menu is fun and a bit out there, according to Kevin. One can buy a round of drinks for the kitchen for $6, or try out the Uncle Joe — which features waffles, apples and bourbon.
“But once you get comfortable with it, it can really fall into place. The smoked turkey and the ribs are flying off the shelves,” Kevin said.