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.
This 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.
In 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.
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.
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.
2 Templeton Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202-4309