The RiverWorks Facts
359 Ganson Street, Buffalo / (716) 342-2292
Hours: Mon-Sat: Open at 11am; Sun: Open at 12pm
Cuisine: American, Pub Food / Price: $$
Perhaps best known for the silos turned into the Labatt six pack, Buffalo RiverWorks is unlike any venue we have in WNY. It is worth the trip just to stop in and look around. The good news is there is plenty to enjoy once you’re there, and they have enough events that if you haven’t been you can find an easy excuse to stop. What seems like a mile of river front is probably only a 100 some yards of patio overlooking what has become (thanks to the heroic efforts of many) a lovely spot along the Buffalo River. Boats, kayaks, canoe, pedal boats all pass by along the river or stop for some refreshment. There is docking space along the entire stretch. Across the river on Ohio Street is the picturesque River Fest Park and the new Ohio Street apartments by Ellicott Development due to come online soon.
RiverWorks is as much as an event venue as it is a bar/restaurant. If I understand it correctly (always questionable) the bar/restaurant is The Ward, the complex as a whole is RiverWorks. The floor plan is nicely open yet intelligently sectioned off to accommodate almost any type of event/party/wedding etc. The complex includes three massive bars, restaurant seating, fast food service, a center “court” where they have games, entertainment, events, an upstairs that is wide open to the main floor with a giant – flat screen TV visible from top and bottom. Outside they boast two hockey rinks, with plenty of area (including a balcony) for viewing, that turn into courts (tennis, basketball, pickle ball) in the spring, summer and fall. Pretty much all of the indoor space opens up to the patio and the river in the warmer months. The main bar is built up against glassed garage-doors that ingeniously expose the entire back side of the bar to the patio. Concrete floors with heavy industrial themed decor fit in perfectly with this factory lined neighborhood. The complex is very well thought out.
While RiverWorks is not known for elegant dining it is a perfect spot to catch a game, enjoy their enormous patio dining or just grab a beer and soak in the scenery. They do hearty fare, like steaks, burgers, and wings quite nicely, and the service is surprisingly efficient with such a gigantic space. If one had a mind to it’s probably a great spot to enjoy the Wednesday night River Fest Concerts.
Plenty of pub grub here like wings, burgers, and Fish & Chips, they also offer a nice compliment of salads, pizzas (including build your own) and full- fledged entrees like Seafood Mac N Cheese ($16.74), Ribeye Steak ($24), chicken, salmon, pork schnitzel, meatloaf etc.
The beers by can/bottle list is extensive, the draft list was only two locals when we went, but more to come when the brewery gets on line this summer. The wine options are just average.
We stopped in on a Tuesday evening to a decent crowd and some action on the floor. There wasn’t an event, but as is often the case there was some practice gettin’ done. One of the Queen City Girls Roller teams was working out their moves in the center area, several dudes and one courageous young woman were working on their championship wrestling moves in the ring. That, in addition to the river view (still a bit chill for the patio) was great entertainment. Be warned – if you are stopping to eat you might want to make a reservation because it does fill up.
We started with:
Conch Fritters, $10.25- Cornbread battered conch, bell peppers and corn served with Lake Effect honey mustard.
These were nice and light without any “conchiness” and they paired well with the honey mustard. I personally wanted the Tater Tot Poutine, ($10) but those were vetoed immediately by the wife.
Harvest Cobb Salad, $11 – Chopped romaine, roasted beets, apples, grilled chicken, dried cranberries, goat cheese, hard-boiled egg and maple cider vinaigrette.
We split this salad in two and I gather from the size of each it could easily have been a meal for one. We were both impressed by this salad. There is a lot here to distract you from the fact this is good for you. Tasty grilled chicken with some zing from the apple, yum from the egg and awesome from the goat cheese. The vinaigrette ties it all together. I even ate the beets.
Veggie Cakes, $14.50 – roasted autumn vegetables and chick pea cakes topped balsamic syrup and arugula.
While these aren’t my cup of tea the wife enjoyed them- “roasted vegetables in a patty”. Adding to the flavor is a healthy dose of garlic seasoning. The nutty flavor of the fresh arugula on top is a welcome compliment to pretty much anything in my book.
Pot Roast Melt, $10.75 – Pearl Street pot roast, mashed potatoes and horseradish cheddar spread grilled sourdough bread slices and served with gravy on the side and house chips.
This is a fine sandwich with plenty of tender braised chuck roast and an oh-so-important beef gravy to dip. While I enjoyed the horseradish cheddar spread I think I would go sans next time and apply my own plain-ole horseradish.
What is Healthy Options Buffalo?
RiverWorks is a member of the Independent Health Foundation’s Healthy Options Buffalo program. The Healthy Options program was designed to help our community make informed decisions about healthy eating, and as a result, help address the high rates of stroke and heart disease prevalent in Western New York. Through this program, the Foundation works with area restaurants to offer heart-healthy food options that are considered lower in fat, saturated fat cholesterol, and sodium. To learn more about the Healthy Options program and to check out more great participating Healthy Options restaurants visit healthyoptionsbuffalo.com.
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