Review by Drew Pendergast
Located in Western New York, the Flower City, or Rochester as it's properly called, is an area drawing in more and more residents. Some are coming from neighboring cities, others from nearby states and even more are students that attend the Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of Rochester and any of the other area colleges who fall in love with the area and just can't leave.
For newcomers to the city, it can be hard to figure out the best places to eat, or get a good cup of coffee, or where to go for great entertainment. For that I ask that you put your faith in me, and some other Rochester natives, for where you should be eating, drinking and having fun in the Flower City.
Perhaps the most underrated aspect of living in Rochester is the exquisite cuisine available in the area: That might mean you're taking in a delicious gourmet hamburger at the Gate House in Rochester's Village Gate located in the Neighborhood of the Arts or eating the local delicacy that is the "Garbage Plate" at Nick Tahou Hots located on West Main Street (the originator of the food amalgamation, and a dish known to stir cravings in those who have spent their night in any part of Rochester's great bar scene).
Rochester transplant Dan O'Reilly muses on the garbage plate's allure. "There's just something about the taste of macaroni salad and potatoes that only gets better when you add hamburger patties, meat hot sauce, ketchup and mustard," he said. "I'm not sure it can be described properly to the uninitiated any other way than that the experience is sublime."
Located in a small building set back just a bit from the busy Monroe Avenue is a restaurant stop that is a must for lunch at least once (a week) while living in the city. It's a great spot for a cheap lunch, but Dogtown doesn't skimp when it comes to the toppings you get on any of its 20 specialty dogs.
Many in upstate New York like to praise the immaculate barbecue served at Dinosaur Barbecue, which has a location in Rochester on Court Street near the Blue Cross Arena, where the Rochester Razorsharks, Knighthawks and Americans play. But there's a nearby barbecue joint that would like local fans of the cuisine to think twice before deciding the best place to fulfill their desires for meat charred and smoked to perfection: Sticky Lips Pit Barbecue on Culver Road. As barbecue fan Mark Buzzelli put it, "If I'm not eating a brisket I smoked myself, I'm eating a smoked brisket sandwich from Sticky Lips."
Hots, hamburgers and barbecue are all staples Rochesterians adore.
Dibella's Old Fashioned subs is guaranteed to satisfy your cold cut sandwich fix. The subs at Dibella's are packed high with cold cuts and any other toppings you choose on delicious handmade sub rolls made fresh all throughout the day at each sub shop.
Rochester resident Jim Scaletta said, "I eventually end up eating Dibella's for lunch probably once a week. It's hard to resist such a good meal that fills my stomach a lot more than it empties my wallet."
There are Dibella's locations all throughout the city. It's a perfect place to go for lunch or dinner.
When you're done eating all these delicious local eats, you may be hungry for dessert - or not; you know, it's a lot of food to take in all in one day. If so inclined, you're going to want to head to any of the multiple Abbot's Frozen Custard locations in Rochester. Abbot's offers many flavors of frozen custard made right in each ice cream shop everyday with your run of standard ice cream and custard toppings. Of course, you can get milkshakes and the like, as well. If your appetite is really big, you might want to go for one of Abbot's seven delicious sundaes or even build one of your own!
After you and your friends are done stuffing yourselves full with local cuisine, you may want to relax with a cup of coffee or tea while sitting around and enjoying each other's company. Rochester has no shortage of coffee shops featuring local art and occasional musical performances to take in.
Rebecca Oliver, a life-long Rochester resident, has her personal favorite choice. "Java's is definitely the best coffee shop in town," she said. "In the spring and summer, it's fun to sit outside and people-watch, and when it's too cold to go outside, Java's has a really cozy feel to it inside night or day with tons of artwork to take in."
Java's Café located on Gibbs Street is a great place to go for something to drink, or just hang out all year long in Rochester. Right around the corner from Java's is the famous Eastman Theatre, which hosts great musical events, and serves as the main stage for Rochester's internationally renowned Jazz Fest every summer.
For a similar, but special in its own right experience of a coffee shop, there's also Boulder Coffee Company with locations in Rochester's popular Park Avenue and South Wedge neighborhoods, along with the Public Market by Main Street. Boulder has plenty of local art and photography to keep your eyeballs occupied while your ears are held hostage by the musical stylings of any of Rochester's local music acts who perform at the shop.
Whether you're in the Flower City for a day, a week, or maybe moving here for the foreseeable future, it's hard to spend a day on your couch constantly wondering what there is to do. The fact of the matter is there's plenty to do in Rochester! There is tons of food to eat, plenty of drink of all kinds to go around, acres of land to explore, and scenery to take in that's too good to miss out on. If you can't find anything to do in Rochester, I suggest you try just looking out your front window. Surely something will catch your eye.