Best Local Spots
Thanks to the region’s fresh produce, historic background, and diversity, Rochester's culinary scene is an intoxicating melange of flavors. From traditional American fare to modern fusions, a local meal in Rochester will never disappoint.
A Garbage What?
The “Rochester Garbage Plate” is a must-try for visitors, but what exactly is it? Legend has it that local restaurateur, Nick Tahou created the popular street food consisting of hot dogs, beans, home fries, dressed in mustard, onions, and meat sauce and called it “Hots & Potatoes.” The meal was a hit and remains the number one menu item. The name came from a group of college students who saw the meal and asked for a plate with “all the garbage on it.” The name stuck and though the Garbage Plate has been trademarked by Nick Tahou Hots, you can still find variations of the plate all over Rochester. Each restaurant puts its own spin on it, including healthy versions, upscale versions, and even a sushi version.
From the "World's Greatest Cheeseburger" at Bill Gray’s to real pit BBQ and Blues at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Rochester takes traditional American cuisine to the next level. Many of our restaurants are located in culturally and historically significant areas, giving you a taste of Rochester history along with your meal.
Whether you’re looking for an authentic Mexican meal or craving Puerto Rican arroz con gandules, Rochester offers Latin flavors that will tantalize your palate. If you’re searching for spices from further away, our Chinese and Indian restaurants are sure to satisfy.
Nothing ends a meal like a wonderful dessert and Rochester has plenty to choose from! Savor a creamy custard at Abbott’s who have been making the delicious frozen treat since 1902.
Chocolate fans in your party? Laughing Gull Chocolates offers truffles and bark that not only taste great but are ethically sourced. Their mission to support the local community is just as sweet as their chocolate.
Grab A Drink
When you’re in the mood for a cold drink or searching for the perfect Happy Hour, Rochester’s local bars and taverns are the places to be. If you’re a craft beer enthusiast traveling through Rochester, be sure to stop by Roc Brewing Co. One of the first breweries to enter the Rochester brewing scene, this brewery features seven beer taps, rotating regularly. Its taproom and production facility are located downtown and welcome visitors to see the full process.
Jukebox tunes and Lake Ontario breezes can be found at Marge’s Lakeside Inn. Located in Seabreeze, NY, this dive bar has been a local favorite since the 1960s and is the perfect place to unwind.
Rochester has so much to offer, check out the rest of our local favorites below.