Before we became gluten-free, Torches was one of our favorite places. The owners have recently opened Smoke on the Water in Tonawanda, on the creek near the Canal. This spot is a bit hard to spot since it’s tucked away on the corner of Young and Broad. There is very little parking in their lot, but plenty across the street behind Walgreens.
The restaurant is pretty small inside with a bar and some tables and it has a bar ambience, but the back deck is wonderful. There are plenty of tables with a view of the Creek. We enjoyed our visit here very much. Our server was friendly
and helpful and she was happy to inquire in the kitchen about what was gluten free (I’m still hoping for a server somewhere who will know this without having to check, but I can’t complain since she was very thorough!).
The four of us decided to order The American Dream. This allowed us to get 4 BBQ entrees , 4 salads, and 3 sides for $75, less than it would cost to order just the entrees and sides separately, so with the salads, it was a nice bargain. There are only two salads on the menu, so we got two of each – Caprese salad was very nice with fresh basil and smoked mozzarella dressing up the tomatoes, olive oil and balsamic glaze. The Smokehouse salad was a wedge of
iceberg with bacon, potato chips, tomato and bleu cheese dressing. Everything was gluten-free and all were nicely done.
For our entrees we ordered turkey, chicken, ribs, and pulled pork. They arrived on a big wooden platter. They cook everything in a big smoker in the parking lot, so this is the real deal. The BBQ sauce is gluten free. Everything was tasty. The turkey was something you don’t normally find at a BBQ joint and it had just enough smoke. The ribs were tender. The chicken was perfect and the pulled pork was tangy and moist.
For our sides, our kids got cornbread (NOT gluten-free so I didn’t sample). We chose sweet potato fries as our second side. These are waffle cut and come with
honey butter. They were fantastic – crisp and sweet. They are not fried in oil with anything else, so they are safe. We also ordered the Chiavetta’s potatoes – baby potatoes that have been boiled, soaked in Chiavetta’s dressing (by the way, I’ve confirmed with Chiavetta’s that their BBQ sauce and Italian dressing are gluten-free) and grilled. I wasn’t a fan of these. They needed to be grilled much more than they were – there were faint grill marks on one side of only some potatoes. There was nothing crisp or crunchy happening there. The dressing was very sour and tasted like straight vinegar. I wasn’t a fan.
The menu has several sandwiches, but some would be good without the bread – the bologna sounded pretty good to us! Other eye-catching items included the baked beans that have collard
greens in them, French fries with voodoo powder, blackened grouper, whisky smoked shrimp with aoili, and a smoked pork stuffed potato. They have a specials menu, so be sure to check that out – prime rib was on it the night we visited with a creative preparation. Desserts appeared to be all gluten so we didn’t partake, but this is nice and close to Mississippi Mud’s at Niawanda Park, so ice cream is just down the street!