Photo: Quajay Donnell

It’s a new year in the ROC, which means a new crop of local businesses will be opening their doors, celebrating milestones or bringing something new to the city of Rochester.


Check the list below and start building your bucket list! We’ve got you covered with upcoming art, science and cultural exhibits to reawaken your imagination, new beverage joints ready to hit the scene, and a variety of restaurants to check out in the year ahead.  


Wood Grilled Calamari at Velvet Belly

The Wood Grilled Calamari at Velvet Belly / @velvetbellyroc

New Eats

  • Brick & Ivy on Clinton Ave in Rochester’s South Wedge serves up a curated mix of American fare, cross-cultural food, and delicious drinks in a cozy, yet elegant space. It opened in 2021, so it’s still fairly new to the Rochester food scene—but word on the street is that the ever-rotating menu is one that can be sampled time and time again.
  • Carmen’s Cooking opened in Brighton at the start of the year and is already making a splash! Stop by (or order ahead) for authentic Puerto Rican-style foods, vegetarian options, occasional specials and daily desserts.
  • If you’ve waited all year for the Lilac Festival or Fairport Canal Days to get yourself some Island Wraps, we’ve got great news for you: a brick-and-mortar location is coming! The restaurant will serve up the Caribbean-style favorites for patrons to enjoy, as well as beer, wine and homemade tropical beverages.
  • Me Gusta Caribbean Cuisine, the newest restaurant to join the Mercantile on Main food hall, serves up dishes native to the owners’ Puerto Rican heritage. (Pro tip: You’ll want to try the empanadas.)
  • From executive chef Fidelio Rita comes his second restaurant, Neno's Gourmet Mexican Street Food. Get ready to savor the authentic taste of Mexico in this familiar favorite’s new spot, set to open at 695 Park this year.
  • Video game nerds and foodies rejoice! Nerdvana will open its newest location (second only after its flagship location in Frisco, Texas) in the Neighborhood of Play this year.
  • At Eastview Mall, Nocino Bar & Ristorante has opened its doors, serving classic Italian American recipes passed down through generations.
  • Ever found yourself wondering if the Le Petit Poutine food truck is nearby because you’ve gotta have some of their bomb poutine? Well, fellow poutinites, Petit Poutinerie is slated to make its brick-and-mortar debut in February—so get ready to get your poutine fix on the regular!
  • Ready for a new type of dining experience? From the owners of Tai Chi Bubble Tea comes Taichi Iron BBQ Grill & Bar, opening soon at The Mall at Greece Ridge. The restaurant will serve up Korean barbeque, and guests will cook their own proteins on tabletop grills—perfect for those backseat chefs out there.
  • Finally, Velvet Belly has fast become a Rochester fan-favorite since opening at the Public Market last year. Chef Jeremy Nucelli prepares dishes inspired by coastal cuisine from around the world—and his sushi is said to be out-of-this world.

Beer and Pizza at Strangebird Brewing in Rochester, NY
Pizza and beer from Strangebird Brewery / @strangebirdbeer

Wash It Down

  • Strangebird Brewery opened in 2021 but is still pretty new to the Rochester brewing scene. Grab some cans to-go or a have a glass on location at 62 Marshall Street.
  • If you’re a fan of 20 Deep Winery or have been waiting for an opportunity to try their selections, we’ve got news for you! 20 Deep Winery will open their tasting room in late spring at their Honeoye Falls location.
  • Altbar has been making waves in Rochester, mixing alcohol-free cocktails and giving new meaning to the phrase “let’s have a drink.” They will soon open a full location to serve up delicious mocktails.
  • Coffee-loving Fairport residents, there’s a new kid on the block! Clementine Coffee opens this year and will be a great place to get an iced coffee or hot latte.
  • Strike! Now open for bowling, Okay Beer Company will be soon be opening the brewery and restaurant section of the former West Main Lanes in Honeoye Falls.
  • Melo Coffee & Kitchen has begun the new year with a name change (formerly Matilda), but is still serving up fine espresso, savory sandwiches and sweets in Rochester’s Neighborhood of the Arts (NOTA).

A dusting of snow at the Memorial Art Gallery

Exterior of the Memorial Art Gallery / @magrochester

Expand Your Mind

  • The Genesee Country Village & Museum is unveiling a new exhibit in May of 2022:
    • Duck, Duck, Shoot! The Story of American Waterbirds: Visitors to this exhibit in the museum's John L. Wehle Gallery will explore the hunting of waterbirds, moving from sustenance hunting to excessive hunting, from near destruction of waterbirds to an environmentally conscious and sustainable American pastime. Oil, acrylic, and watercolor, colored lithograph and sculpture, stuffed waterfowl, waterfowling pieces (firearms) and hunting technologies, duck and waterbird decoys, waterfowl and duck culinary tools, duck and waterbird stamps, and hunting attire for both men and women will be featured in this multi-faceted exhibition.
  • The George Eastman Museum will unveil three new exhibits in 2022:

    • James Taylor: From an Untouched Landscape (January 15-June 5, 2022): Highlighting under-told and often unseen stories of Aboriginal peoples.
    • One Hundred Years Ago: George Eastman in 1922 (February 4-January 1, 2022): An annual display providing a glimpse of George Eastman’s life and work one hundred years ago.
    • Anastasia Samoylova: Floodzone (July 15, 2022-January 1, 2023): Series focusing on the southern United States, where the sought-after tropical climate drives the real estate market to continue to build upon land that is known to be slipping into the ocean.
  • MAG (Memorial Art Gallery) will unveil four new exhibits in 2022:
    • Up Against the Wall: Art, Activism, and the AIDS Poster (March 6-June 19, 2022): The first major exhibition devoted to the University of Rochester’s vast collection of HIV/AIDS-related posters.
    • Sky Hopinka: Memories of Movement (February 8-July 17, 2022): Exhibit expressing an Indigenous understanding of place and belonging as defined by notions of community that span ancestral and non-ancestral lands alike.
    • Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence (July 17-October 23, 2022): Showcasing a new form of bead art developed by a community of women living and working together in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
    • Striking Power: Iconoclasm in Ancient Egypt (November 19, 2022-March 5, 2023): Examining widespread campaigns of targeted destruction driven by political and religious motivations.
  • Rochester Museum & Science Center will open two new exhibits at the RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium focused on Rochester's history looking up and out into space.
    • One of the exhibits, Rochester's Eyes in Space, will focus on Rochester's impact on space exploration, from the 1960s Gambit Satellite Optical System to the Mars Perseverance Rover.
    • The other exhibit, Same Sky, Varied Views will focus on the Haudenosaunee traditions and ecological knowledge that connect life on Earth to the sky and stars.
  • The Strong Museum of Play: A new exhibit is on the prowl! Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood interactive exhibit opens January 29. Later this year The Strong will welcome a traveling Paw Patrol exhibit, and will also debut the “Play Lab,” a new permanent Maker Space that will offer daily crafts and building opportunities. Also, if you haven’t visited the museum in a bit you will notice many exciting changes underway. The Strong is in the midst of a major expansion that will dramatically expand the footprint of the museum, with the expanded wing projected to open in 2023. In addition to the expansion, The Strong recently debuted the Skyline Climb, a new indoor ropes and zipline course.
  • WALL\THERAPY, a worldwide-recognized art and community intervention project, will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year. While not new to the scene, it’s worth a visit their website to track down murals to visit and learn more about their story and mission.