North Tonawanda eatery takes top prize in annual NFP contest
By Joshua Maloni
Lumberjack’s Waterfront Patio Grill is the place to go for a relaxing lunch or a fun dinner. Its 100% Angus burgers taste the way burgers should taste: juicy and beefy. French fries are crispy and seasoned perfectly – and your burger comes with a basket full of them. The staff is friendly and attentive, checking to make sure you have everything you need – even delivering food to your table. Guests can sit inside, or dine outside on a patio with a view that can’t be beat.
For the second year in a row, Lumberjack’s took the top prize in Niagara Frontier Publications’ “Savory Summer” food contest: Best Summer Dining Spot. Our audience cited the North Tonawanda eatery for its sensational seasonal ambiance.
Owner/operator Carol Tallichet said, “I'm overwhelmed; I'm flattered; and I thank everyone out here that voted in favor of us, because it's a very special honor.”
She explained, “I always stress the most important thing in a restaurant are your customers. And all of my customers we value; we value their patronage to our restaurant. We treat each and every one of them as special people in our lives.”
At Lumberjack’s, both return patrons and newcomers are treated like longtime friends.
“As they walk in the door, we always welcome them to our place. ‘Welcome to Lumberjack’s,’ ” Tallichet said. “If they're new, we walk through the menu with them, ask them if they have any questions, explain everything to them.”
She added, “We have boaters that come and they side-tie next to the restaurant. We have the marinas, and a lot of our people that are leased at the marina seasonally come to the restaurant. We get a lot of bikers that are doing the bike trail along the parkway, and we get a fair amount of senior groups that come via a bus. So, we have a wonderful draw. We have water, we have car, we have boat, we have bicycle, we have walking.”
“If there's a wait, we tell them at the counter there is a wait,” she said. “Our kitchen is small. We can only handle so many. We cook to order. And when that food is put on the tray, one of the duties of the counter girl who's delivering that tray is to make sure everything is correct. The proper condiments are on the hamburger. Proper fries are there. It is her duty to make sure that tray goes out of the kitchen as the order was placed, and the serving should look appealing.”
Lumberjack’s also won the Best Hamburger and Best Fries food contest categories.
“We make the french fries daily. We cut our own french fries manually with this little manual machine,” Tallichet said. “They’re curly-Q french fries, and seasoned. We serve them seasoned. If they don't want them seasoned, all they have to do is request that and say not be seasoned.
“The hamburgers, again, are pattied daily. We are not a fast-food operation. Our kitchen is small, and we aim to please – and we cook per order.”
She noted, “There's basically just the basic hamburger with lettuce and tomato and onion; cheeseburger; or we can elaborate with chili; or we can do a protein burger, which is served on a bed of lettuce for those who are watching their carbs.”
Lumberjack’s menu features an assortment of Western New York favorites, including Wardynski’s hot dogs, Mineo & Sapio sausage, Anderson’s Ice Cream and Costanzo’s Bakery rolls.
In addition to the food, “We have music every Wednesday and Sunday night” at Lumberjack’s, Tallichet said. “When September comes, we’ll be closed on Tuesdays. A lot of the help will be going back to school; 75% of my help are all college students.”
Moreover, “We're dog-friendly, and a lot of people love that in our area. Their dogs are welcome on our patio any day, and we always bring out a fresh bowl of water with ice in it for our fur friends.”
Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
“Our first day of operation is always Memorial Day,” and “The very last day of September is our last day of operation,” Tallichet said.
To date, 2023 has been “busy, hectic and lovely,” she emphasized.
The "Savory Summer" top vote-getter, Lumberjack's, and its hamburger and french fries. (Submitted photos)
The Lumberjack’s Waterfront Patio Grill team is pictured. (Submitted)
‘Savory Summer’ Winners
The full list of “Savory Summer” category winners includes: