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Chowdown Along The Upstate Eats Trail

Wednesday, June 2, 2021 3:00 PM by Visit Rochester Staff

Satisfy both your appetite and your taste for adventure this summer by embarking on a food-fueled road trip along the Upstate Eats Trail. 

The Upstate Eats Trail is a delicious journey connecting travelers to the iconic regional cuisine found only in, or originated in, cities including Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Binghamton. 

The Upstate Eats Trail curates a 225-mile journey between the four cities through a regional food culture of mom-and-pop restaurants, corner taverns, hideaway cafes and roadside stands found nowhere else in the United States. Visitors exploring the trail will learn the origins of Buffalo wings in Buffalo, Garbage Plates in Rochester, salt potatoes in Syracuse, spiedies in Binghamton, and a host of other lesser known specialties, from century-old frozen custard and hot dog traditions to beef on weck sandwiches, hot pies and ground rounds. The guide includes 20 total signature stops – five in each city – and additional suggestions known as “side dishes” to continue exploring.

In Rochester, the five signature food stops include:

  • Abbott’s Frozen Custard, 4791 Lake Ave. Abbott’s has been churning out creamy custard along the Lake Ontario shoreline for nearly a century.

  • The Genesee Brew House, 25 Cataract St. Rochester’s legendary brewery, and the oldest in New York State, opened this restaurant and tasting room overlooking High Falls in 2012. Be sure to try a classic Genesee Cream Ale. 

  • Hots and ground rounds along the lake: The trail points visitors to three long-running roadside stands along Lake Ontario to enjoy Zweigle’s white hots and ground rounds: Don’s Original and Bill Gray’s in Irondequoit on a stretch of road once known as “Hot Dog Row,” along with Schaller’s Drive-In in Greece and Bill Gray’s at the Port of Rochester.  

  • Nick Tahou Hots, 320 Main St. Nick Tahou’s helped put Rochester on the American culinary map with its creation of the Garbage Plate. 

  • The Rochester Public Market, 280 Union St. N. One of the oldest public markets in the United States offers a wide variety of foods that reflect the ethnic diversity of Rochester.

Featured “Side Dishes” to explore in Rochester include:

  • Italian classics like Chicken French (which originated in Rochester)

  • Morgan’s Cereal bar, an all-day cereal eatery

  • The Strong National Museum of Play 

  • George Eastman Museum

  • National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House 

  • Walk it off with a scenic stroll around Rochester’s Park Avenue Neighborhood or Cobbs Hill Reservoir 

The trail also points visitors off the interstate for a scenic drive in between each city along Lake Ontario, the Erie Canal, the Finger Lakes and rolling hills of Central New York. This route winds its way past some of the country’s most inspiring historic sites and off-the-beaten path curiosities, including the Harriet Tubman House in Auburn, the Jell-O Gallery in LeRoy and the “It’s a Wonderful Life” Museum in Seneca Falls.

To learn more about the Upstate Eats Trail and plan your trip, visit www.upstateeatstrail.com

Author: Visit Rochester Staff

Visit Rochester staff share the inside scoop on Rochester and the Finger Lakes region.