After more than a year of cooking the same rotation of dishes and eating lukewarm takeout, people are eager to head out to restaurants, which are bustling with a heady sense of normalcy.
It’s fair to assume that you have have missed new restaurant openings or the restaurants that closed. Read on for our guide to where to go and news about the Rochester dining and drinking scene.
This guide will be updated — check back as we add more.
— Tracy Schuhmacher, food and drink reporter
Here’s the latest on restaurants and other places to eat and drink in Rochester and the surrounding area:
• Velvet Belly, the new seafood-focused restaurant in the Rochester Public Market, is simply gorgeous, with 20-foot ceilings, a striking rectangular bar anchoring the middle and a busy kitchen in back. The food and beverages are beautiful too. Here’s what to expect.
• Yanhuang Gourmet, a new Chinese restaurant in Perinton, serves authentic Chinese dumplings and other dishes. Plus, it has a golf course view.
• Bubble wrap-shaped waffles are among the fun specialties at a new restaurant called The House of Whacks. There’s also a great lunch special.
• Last year, many people observed Juneteenth by patronizing a Black-owned restaurant, bakery or caterer. If you’d like to do that this year, here’s our guide for 2021.
• Salads always taste better when someone else makes them. The Supreme Salad Bar, a new take-out restaurant in the 19th Ward, makes salads to order with your choice of fresh ingredients.
• Sunny’s Donuts and Café, a new shop on Route 104 in Williamson, Wayne County, has ties to an iconic Rochester donut shop. Russell Marcello — most people call him Sunny — learned to bake doughnuts while working in Ridge Donuts, the family business. Here’s the whole story.
• Near Sodus Bay, two seasonal food established have reopened for their second seasons: The Back Alley Grill, a food trailer in Sodus Point, and The Saltbox Smokehouse at Oak Park, a waterfront restaurant in North Rose. Here are the details.
• In Webster, Dan and Sarah Bresnahan transformed an 1800s cobblestone building into The Cobblestone on Main restaurant. Here’s what it’s like.
• Master Falafel, a new restaurant on Monroe Avenue in the city, serves four kinds of falafel and many other authentic Syrian dishes.
• During the pandemic, beer reporter Will Cleveland and his wife, Cassie, found a safe and inviting outdoor spots to enjoy a beer. He shared some of his favorites in Monroe, Ontario and Livingston Counties, as well as in the Finger Lakes.
• Brody’s on the Bay is up and running at 1400 Empire Blvd. in Penfield, in the former home to Murphy’s Law Irish Pub. It sits high above Irondequoit Bay within Southpoint Marina, which is owned by Daniele Management and Development. Here is its touching story.
• Once is Spanish for “eleven,” which is the number of lakes that form the Finger Lakes region. A new wine tasting room on Seneca Lake focuses on high-end wineries from several of the lakes, and has a spectacular view as well. Food and Drink reporter Tracy Schuhmacher paid it a visit and reported back.
• Foodlink opened a pay-what-you-can café inside the Central Library’s Bausch & Lomb building, at 115 South Ave. downtown. We tried the food.
• Aretha McLamore — most people call her Ms. Tee — enjoys converting people who say they don’t like oatmeal. Think a homey, warm peach cobbler oatmeal plus other comfort foods. She owns Ma’ama Tee’s Cookin’ in Rochester’s Charlotte neighborhood. Her story is as good as her food.
• Babylon Restaurant, a new Middle Eastern restaurant, has opened in Henrietta.
• Farmer’s Markets in the Rochester area are open for the 2021 season. Here’s when and where they are open.
• A cozy shop called Crumpets has opened on Monroe Avenue. Co-owner Evinn Neadow describes its namesake product as the “love child of an English muffin and a pancake.”
• Have you tried the latest food trend? Birria tacos, which come with a flavorful consommé for dipping, are messy delicious. In April, Tracy Schuhmacher found three places that serve them. Now there are more.
What you need to know about the Rochester food and drink scene
• Rochester’s popular Le Petit Poutine food truck is gearing up to open a restaurant in the Neighborhood of the Arts. Here are the details.
• Jimmy Fallon was in Fairport recently, visiting his favorite bar and a local distillery.
• Richmond’s, a longtime bar in Rochester’s East End, will reopen as The Richmond in July. We got a sneak peek and the scoop on what’s changing.
• Other Half Brewing recently launched its In Bloom wild ale series from its Finger Lakes location in Bloomfield, Ontario County.
• A Cornell University program wants to change the way New Yorkers experience and appreciate beer with a new hops breeding program at its Ontario County facility.
• It is berry picking season. Here’s where to pick your own.
• A 46-year-old Rochester establishment is ranked among Yelp’s 100 best LGBTQ bars in the country. The owners are honored.
• Executive chef turned bread maker Steve Frank started making sourdough in 2018. Now he operates Lost Woods Bread Co. out of his home. They can be ordered online or purchased through a monthly bread club subscription, and there’s a pickup location in Rochester.
• The Rochester Cocktail Revival will return in August.
• Golden Corral restaurant in Henrietta will reopen soon. Here’s what’s changed.
• Goodbye batteries and bulbs and hello, hubcap-sized pancakes. Steve’s Original Diner will open its fourth location in Henrietta.
• The employees of Spot Coffee in downtown Rochester did something unusual for the food and drink industry. They voted to form a union. Two years later, we checked in to see what had changed.
• As if restaurants haven’t had enough challenges over the past year or so, they are now dealing with a chicken wing shortage. Here’s the latest.
• Renowned winemaker Paul Hobbs has released his first Finger Lakes wine, a dry Riesling.
• The massive restaurant space in Eastview Mall formerly occupied by Prime Steak House and before that, Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano, will become home to Nocino, a local Italian restaurant.
Tracy Schuhmacher is food and drink reporter as well as storytelling coach for the USA Today Network’s Storytellers Project. Email her at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter or Instagram as @RahChaChow.
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