Exploring Rochester's Food and Drink
by Ryan Black | published Aug. 1st, 2017
It finally happened. Ride-hailing services like Lyft and Uber have come to upstate New York. Thanks to a state budget agreement made in Albany last April, everyone — including students at RIT — now has the ability to get around Rochester with far more ease.
If you are a freshman without a car, no longer are you limited to the food at Gracie’s. If you’re an upperclassman looking to go out some evening, well ... did you know there are bars outside of South Henrietta?
While this diner may also serve lunch and dinner, it’s hard to beat Jines when it comes to breakfast in Rochester. Recommending just one part of the menu is also difficult, because it’s tough to go wrong. If you’re into eggs, the omelets are phenomenal. If you prefer breakfast that is drenched in maple syrup, the waffles, pancakes and french toast are exquisite as well.
Located on scenic Park Ave., the outdoor seating is great while the weather is still warm. While worth the wait, Jines is usually packed on the weekends during brunch hours.
John’s Tex Mex Eatery
Arguably the best Tex-Mex in Rochester, this spot near the corner of South Ave. and Alexander St. is also one of the coziest and most casual places for lunch. The food tends to be served quickly, and they offer takeout, but it really is worth it to sit down — to enjoy both the atmosphere and a beer.
The prices are fair and you get A LOT of food for your buck. My personal favorites are the Mexican Plate, a sort of Tex-Mex variation on the Garbage Plate, as well as any menu item with un-beef: a vegetarian substitute available in lieu of chicken, pork, beef or tofu.
East Ave. Bars and Park Ave. Bars
If you are of age (yes: they card you under-21-year-olds) there is a healthy selection of drink spots closer to the city. On the part of East Ave. between Gibbs and Alexander St., for instance, there is likely a bar, pub or cocktail establishment nearby for everyone’s tastes. There are some notable places only a block or two away, such as The Daily Refresher, Ox & Stone and Roc Brewing Co. Additionally, there’s some low-key spots on Park Ave. like Magnolia’s and Blu Wolf Bistro as well.
Mark’s Texas Hots
If there’s ever a night you find yourself a patron of any of the aforementioned bars, you’ll probably also be craving a Garbage Plate at some point — usually around 1 a.m. If not, well ... you were probably going to transfer anyway.
Regardless of how late into the "a.m." it is, Mark’s Texas Hots can cure your fix. They have the whole selection of Garbage Plate options that you would expect, but even if you usually get beans as a side — like myself — it’s worth trying their mac salad and home fries.
There’s also something about the ambiance of Mark’s that helps cap off any night. Being there at 2 a.m., devouring a plate brimming with grease, carbs and regret over having that extra drink, is a meal to (half) remember — what you forget of it will probably be on Snapchat anyway.