What Dish Best Represents Rochester?

Garbage plate sauce

When it comes to cuisine, you think you’ve heard of it all, right? Well, before you jump to that conclusion, take a little trip to beautiful Rochester, New York. While it has much to offer in all sorts of different culinary adventures, there’s one Rochester-specific dish that will make you hesitate at first, then make you order another one for your next meal.

  • Rochester Dining
  • Consider all of your culinary options in Rochester. Everywhere you go, all over the city, you can find a dining style to fit your current mood. Vegetarian/vegan can sit side-by-side with the ever-carnivorous barbecue. You can find haute cuisine and simple Americana. Jamaican, Mexican, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Greek, sandwich shops, pizza joints, salad bars, burger places, and so many more, all within a five minute car ride, waiting for you. And that’s not even getting into the unusual dishes yet.

  • Garbage Plates
  • So, these unusual dishes are known as Garbage Plates. They are a glorious piling of food onto a paper plate, and are one of the best dishes you’ll ever have. The standard (don’t even get me started on the amazing breakfast garbage plate), is a pile of macaroni salad, next to a pile of homefries.

    On top of that are placed two hamburger patties, two hotdogs, or one of each. Then comes a drizzle of mustard and roughly diced white onion. On top of that comes the final touch, the chili-like, aptly named, meat sauce. Some places offer variations, swapping out sides and ingredients, and they’re all equally amazing.

  • Where To Find These Unusual Dishes
  • It being a Rochester tradition, tons of restaurants in the city have their own version. Nick Tahou’s Hots is touted as the creator of this masterpiece. And I have some personal favorites where I’ve gotten a great plate. Dog Town, the hot dog joint, has one that you can get a tofu dog and veggie patty on, making it vegetarian friendly. It is absolutely delicious. The Gate House offers a fancier version of it, with garlic and rosemary homefries, that is an amazing take on an already great dish. The Red Fern offers a vegan option, and the Frog Pond on Park Ave has a great diner version.

Okay, between the name and the description, it’s kind of hard to sell this. But you really need to just try it out. It’s been around since Nick Tahou’s created the first in 1918, so it has to be good enough to last that long, right? Just try it out, regardless of first impression. You’ll be shocked and sold, I promise.