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Templeton Landing (Formerly Shanghai Red’s) Opens Tonight

Since closing in November, Specialty Restaurants, which owns 23 restaurants in locations all over the country, has worked diligently to re-imagine the waterfront restaurant formerly known as Shanghai Red’s, and before that, Crawdaddy’s.

“We’re here to stay,” said Bill Tallichet, the corporate representative who provided me with a tour when I stopped in yesterday afternoon for a preview of the newly christened Templeton Landing. Modern decor with an appropriate theme for the waterfront strives to provide customers with a contemporary experience. The fantastic view of the water is augmented by the shapes, colors and finishes selected for the remodel. Rest assured, there are no faux portholes or anchors here.

IMG_2019.jpgThis location has never had issues initially attracting people who wish to dine near the water, but in the past it has had a hard time transforming first time customers into repeat customers. To be completely honest, it suffered from poor service and lousy food. But it appears that won’t be an issue any longer. Not only has the building been given a face lift, but the newly-hired staff has been through an intensive training program, and management is keen to prove that good service is at the heart of the restaurant’s re-invention.

IMG_2016.jpgIn addition to the new decor and waitstaff, they’ve also brought a new chef on board. Chef Norman Nichols is credited with bringing most of the significant restaurants at the Seneca Niagara Casino to life and has been consulting all over the U.S. for the last few years. I had the pleasure of meeting him a few months ago at a Chaine des Rotisseurs dinner. Chef Nichols has some very serious credentials, and the management of a busy kitchen and large staff are just two of the skills he brings to the table. “With the menu here at Templeton Landing we wanted to keep it fresh, but keep it simple. Trust me, people are going to be happy,” Nichols said with his trademark smile, a beam of confidence.

IMG_2022.jpg And simple it is–classic oceanside offerings include a variety of seafood preparations, burgers, prime rib, steaks and veal oskar. A quick tour through the kitchen revealed a staff buzzing with anticipation for tonight’s opening, and a chef who keeps his staff focused and on point. I also learned that unlike most of the larger restaurants in the area, Templeton Landing will be making its own desserts from scratch.

IMG_2030.jpg A pared down bar menu is an option for diners regardless of where they chose to sit within the restaurant’s numerous settings, classic salads and sandwiches make up the lunch menu, and a raw bar loaded with fresh seafood is also available. Knowing their former status as the go-to hot spot for post-work cocktails, Templeton Landing has added ten beers on tap and from-scratch cocktails that use only fresh fruit juices.

With Chef Nichols on board, the updated interior, the extensive patio area, panoramic view and what appears to be a solid commitment from the management team to friendly service and a quality experience, I think Templeton Landing may have given itself a second chance to be part of the emerging reinvention of the waterfront.

Templeton Landing will be open to the public as of this evening, a soft opening if you will, where they will refine and hone the kitchen’s turnaround times and break in the front of the house staff. When they conduct their grand opening a few weeks from now, the majority of the kinks will have been worked out. Stop in tonight and check it out, stroll the patios with a from-scratch pina colada or a muddled mojito in hand and see for yourself.

Templeton Landing
2 Templeton Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202-4309
(716) 852-7337

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  • rb09

    Sounds like they made the right changes.
    Chef Norman Nichols is an outstanding chef.

  • LouisTully

    Those high bar chairs tend to make dining difficult. It’s one thing when you’re at the bar moving around talking and can extend your arm to simply pick up a glass. Sitting at a table and eating food is a little more difficult. You have to be an acrobat either wiggling it in to proper eating distance from the table while balancing your feet on the lower rungs, or you have to slide the chair in then try and squeeeeeeeze onto it. Or stand between the chair and the table and pull it in suck in your gut then limbo your way onto the chair, all so you can be close enough to comfortably eat food without having it end up all over your lap.
    What’s wrong with normal table height? Does sitting at a high booth improve the food? Or is it just distracting you from what may be a continued mediocre dining experience? (I never had a problem with Shanghai’s food. But I was in the Army so I guess I’m able to shovel anything in. I’m just speaking for what seems to be many other displeased diners)

  • LouisTully

    Oh, and the decor is AWFUL! The chandeliers, the carpet, the chairs, the wallpaper, the booth covering, those light fixtures(?) on the mirrors. None of it goes together or with the beams on the ceiling; and it all looks quite tacky. And how does that stone wall fit into this whole design? Barf bag!
    Can someone please! put a nice dining experience on the water and near the city center! Dug’s Dive and Harry’s are nice options but far/ not walkable and high end. Can someone transplant Shores to the marina?

  • DMZ

    So you can handle basic training in the Army, but sitting on a chair is too difficult for you?

  • NBuffguy

    When I hear (or read) the word “Templeton” I can’t help but think of a song from “Charlotte’s Web” and the rat who sang it. Paul Lynde’s voice singing “A Veritable Smorgasbord”…
    A fair is a veritable smorgasbord orgasbord orgasbord
    After the crowds have ceased
    Each night when the lights go out
    It can be found on the ground all around
    Oh, what a ratly feast!
    Melon rinds and bits of hotdogs
    Cookie crumbs and rotton cotton candy
    Melted ice cream, mustard dripplings
    Moldy goodies everywhere
    Lots of popcorn, apple cores
    Bananna peels and soggy sadwiches
    And gobs of gorgeous **** to gobble at the fair
    A fair is a veritable smorgasbord orgasbord orgasbord
    After the gates are shut
    Each night when the lights go out
    It can be found on the ground all around
    That’s where a rat can glut, glut, glut, glut!

  • rdominguez

    It’s possible someone *has* put a nice dining experience on the water and near the city center… and you’ve just dismissed it because of tall chairs and a couple of photos of the decor.

  • LouisTully

    Ha, fair comment. Although I was an officer, so I didn’t go through BCT. I guess I’m the only one who has a problem with those bar chairs at a dining table. Nonetheless, the decor is… ehhh.

  • sho’nuff

    we’ll get a bite
    and say goodnight
    to our own special friend
    Mr. Templeton

  • boozehound

    The interiors pictures scream ‘OMG I’m dying for a modern facelift!’ I’ve read that 500K was invested in sprucing the place up and giving it a modern comfortable feel? It looks just as bad as Red’s. The lack of imagination in this area is depressing. Such a first rate location with so little to offer. Even the menu seems blah. While chef Nichols might be able to prepare the best seafood preparations, burgers, prime rib, steaks and veal oskar I have ever tasted. The menu just seems stale as the new interior reovations.
    Sad thing is I’ll still be there this summer as it is still one of my favorite locations to relax and have a drink on one of our great summer nights.

  • NorPark

    I had no problem with the menu or decor of Shanghai, it was the service and quality that killed them, and the same will happen again unless they get it together because a new menu and look isn’t going to do it on its own.

  • KenS

    It would be nice if they had a website. Also, is the Sunday Brunch still happening? Instead of the chefs resume, it would have been nice to cover some of the basics in the above article.
    PS If you don’t like the interior, DON’T GO. It’s a restaurant..you know the place where probably the most import thing is the quality of the FOOD. Do the wannabe architects/designers here ever give it a rest!

  • oldwaiter

    The age old problem with hiring servers is that all of the professional servers in Buffalo have established gigs and no one is going to give up their restaurants for a “seasonal” job. You can do all of the training that you want, but this restaurant is only going to get second string waiters/waitresses. I am sure that there will be some that do a great job and give excellent service, but all of these people will be searching for another job come September.

  • Christa Glennie Seychew

    Old Waiter,
    I agree that Buffalo’s best waiters have permanent gigs and that good servers are hard to find, so this can make it tough (and in some cases nearly impossible) to establish a solid staff right out of the gate. However, I neglected to mention that Templeton Landing will be open year round, and is already in the process of planning some special events for December.

  • BuffaloNiagaraPlanner

    I was thinking the same thing. Ha ha.

  • BuffaloNiagaraPlanner

    Same here. I never ate at Shanghai Red’s, but loved going there for drinks on the patio and being able to take a lady out for drinks on the water without having to worry about her getting cold. Those gas fire pits are a great amenity.

  • Katy

    I just got back from Templeton Landing. My girlfriends and I sat at a table in the bar for her birthday. We were the only table in the bar, and a waitress didn’t stop by for 15 minutes. When she did, we ordered a draft beer, a glass of Riesling and a Cosmo. The beer and Cosmo came out, but no Riesling. The wine arrived TEN MINUTES later, at which point we sent back the Cosmo because it tasted so bad (sickly sweet). We couldn’t find our waitress again, so we ordered another glass of wine and a margarita at the bar. Later, the waitress walked by our table and dropped the check on it without a word–not asking if we wanted another drink. For 1 draft beer, 2 glasses of house wine and a margarita the bill was over $30.
    Oh! And they had a seafood stand in the bar area. 4 shrimp = $13. Yikes!
    Hopefully they’ll iron out the kinks–the location rocks, the views are spectacular, and they’ve sunk a lot of money into this place. It looks like most of the waitstaff is in their late-teens, early 20’s. I would have expected more experienced waitstaff at a place with these prices (ex: steak dinner in the mid $30’s)

  • Scott Norwood

    What a terrible start. I honestly would really like for this place to be good. But i’ll take good service, good food, and a decent cocktail over a lake view anyday. Why can they not get their act together?

  • sanrusbuf@gmail.com

    Experienced restaurant last night. Love the bar switch to face marina – perfect! Disappointed in dinner – $19 small piece of chicken, no side dishes included, was pricey and really not anything special. Patio menu same as indoor menu – won’t fly in Buffalo. Need more light dinner menu choices for patio dining. Would not order dinner there again.

  • lilned2

    just returned from a regretful trip to Templeton Landing! Will never return
    Service was aweful, drinks were worse. Heaven forbid you actually receive what you order!
    DO NOT BOTHER GOING!!!!!!~

  • Chef1

    I recently dined at the “Old” (new) Templeton Landing…formerly Shanghai Reds. Upon arriving we were not even greeted until we had to get the attention of the hostess. There was such confusion right from the beginning it was almost commical. The service was really out of tune and mostly non existent, something I would expect at Denny’s but not an establishment that has one of the highest priced menu’s in Buffalo. The food and menu are so uninspired and amateurish, as a Chef I was astonished. Bad seasoning to no seasoning, horrible sauces, overcooked poor quality steak, bland vegetables that looked to be birds eye frozen vegetables and on and on. No creativity or cooking knowledge. The “chef” needs to go back to school! I would not return ever! Don’t waste your money or time, there are far to many exceptional restaurants in Buffalo for lower prices.

  • buffalo101

    AWFUL SERVICE! It was my graduation and my family was in town and of course, my mom wanted it to be special. When we got there there were waitresses standing outside smoking and we asked if it was open for lunch, and they said to come on it. When we got in, the hostesses did not even acknowledge us we had to walk up to them. Then they made us feel out of place for not having reservations,and said they had to go check with the manager and chef to see if we could come in. What?
    Anyways, they said it would be 20 minutes to get seated. So we went to sit in the bar area, like they instructed us to. They never took a name or anything, so 40 minutes later we went up. they thought we “left” so they started to seat other people. We had to wait 15 more minutes, idk why we didnt leave at this point. There were tons of empty tables and they set us down at a cramped table. Our waitress did not write any orders down and messed up half of them! So many problems with the food, they should really let people know they put cinnamon on their fries before ordering. too pricey for the service you receive. I do not recommend it at all

  • John Carocci

    “there are far too many exceptional restaurants in Buffalo”
    There’s the bottom line. There’s no reason to settle for mediocre food and poor service, especially at this price point. Go to Left Bank or La Tee Da or the Rue or literally dozens of other places and you’ll be treated like royalty while you enjoy an amazing meal. If the water view is so important to you, swing by Templeton Landing after you eat for drinks and dessert. Or skip it entirely and go to the Hatch.

  • Jen

    My fiance and I went there for a late dinner (about 8:30pm). When we walked in there were three hostesses standing around. I went up and asked for a table. The hostess said that it would be 30 minutes. I looked around and there were plenty of open tables. I asked if she wanted to take my name and she said no just come back in 30 minutes. I thought this to be quite odd. Never the less we were going to go to the outside bar. When we went outside, again I saw plenty of open tables and saw people being seated. I asked the waitress that was walking by if we could get a table since there were plenty available. She said that we had to go see the hostess inside. So I went back in and asked if we could be seated outside. About 10 minutes had gone by at this point. The hostess said very rudley that it would be 30 minutes. I asked why when there were plenty tables available and she said in not a very nice tone “mame come back in 30 minutes”. I was very taken back by how rude these hostesses were. My fiance and I decided to leave and go somewhere else and as I walked out one the of the hostesses said bye to me in a very nasty tone. I am very dispointed at the customer service. Not much has changed since Shanghi Reds. You have a new restaurant with three hostesses standing around doing nothing telling people at 8:30 at night to come back in 30 minutes. If it’s because they were short handed with waiters and waitresses that is very poor mis managment on the restaurants part especially when they are trying to redeem themselves from the bad reputation of Shanghi Reds. From the other reviews it looks like we didn’t miss out on much and I am glad we didn’t stay. I will never step foot in that place again.

  • JSmith

    Seems like Buffalo is really lacking a good restaurant with a water view. I’ve never been to Shanghai Reds / Templeton Landing because of consistent reviews like these. I’ve been to Harry’s Harbour Place a couple of times but was not impressed enough at the price to choose it over Hutch’s or Left Bank for a special dinner.
    I would think this would be a no-brainer in Buffalo, except that the available sites for a waterfront restaurant are limited, between the 190 making access to the water’s edge difficult/obscure and the many parks along the river.
    Even a restaurant overlooking the Scajaquada Creek could be nice! (Maybe that could even happen once the Expressway gets improved to a 30 mph parkway.)

  • https://me.yahoo.com/a/2ejNu0cinpG6BhREYs4kW6T62NXDyA–#290cf

    Although Chef Nichols may be an outstanding chef, I’ve worked for him and he is one of the rudest, most arrogant, degrading chefs i’ve ever worked for. Hope he fails here.