We all know that Rochester gets a bad rap for its cold winters, snowy days, and the seemingly unending grey skies - blah, blah, blah. Well that's all behind us now as summer has made its way into the northeast.
One thing that didn't need any warming up is the entrepreneurial and creative activity around the city. Not only was this past winter a surprisingly mild one in terms of weather, it was hot in terms of start-up movement (including non-profits!) in neighborhoods across the area since the beginning of the year.
Without further adieu, here's 21 of the Best City Openings This Past Winter Sorted by Neighborhood.
1. Pythodd Jazz Room
The beach in January and you say there's no good Jazz clubs in the city? We told you the city's been HOT with start-up activity this past winter.
Opened this past January, The Pythodd Jazz Room is bringing back an old-time favorite to the Roc Jazz community - the place to be back in the 1950's. Check out their new website, note that their location is not on Clarissa Street anymore, and take a look at this video for historical reference.
2. Texas de Brazil
Can't get to the Olympic Games in Brazil this summer? At least you can eat like you are there (ok, with a slice of Texas too) at the newly opened Texas de Brazil.
This is a huge meal - with the prices to go along with it. But if you're in the military, a veteran, law enforcement, EMS personnel, firefighter, teacher, senior citizen, or child up to age 12 - you qualify for some form of discount - make sure to ask!
3. Bar 145
Why 145 you ask? It's "...the temperature of a perfectly cooked medium rare burger." "Red Chucks, White China" is the tag line, and you'll see why with staff sporting red Chuck Taylor tennis shoes and food being served on simple white china.
If you haven't checked it out yet, and you didn't make the RYP Social on June 2nd, then you'll want to check out Wednesday's $6 burger and martini deals...even the #ROC Chief of Staff has given it a look...
4. Mac's Philly Steaks
5. Schiano's Pizzeria
Downtown & Main Street
6. Grace Road Church
Formerly housed in the German House in the South Wedge and the Auditorium Theatre, Grace Road Church has now found a home in the auditorium section of The Temple Building. This is a refurbished, historical space that was originally built for the Second Baptist Church of Rochester, but had been badly neglected over recent years.
Bringing hundreds of church-goers back to Center City on Sunday mornings has enlivened the area during this normally quiet time of the weekend, and anchors itself to have a front row seat to watch the many projects come along at Sibley's, Midtown, and the surrounding areas.
7. Jim's On Main
Here it is - the combo of the original Jim's Restaurant and the revamped version of Jim's Too. Owner Elena Knapp has served the community for 15+ years, and has brought back several favorites including the "Mo" burger, the "Late Riser", and "Whams" breakfast sandwiches.
Check Jim's menu out for reasonable prices and something for everyone.
8. Starry Nites 2
The super-successful Starry Nites of NOTA has opened up a second location this past January in the Central Library downtown. They fill the void of the former Tim Hortons that was there for the past couple of years, and provide their delicious selections of Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters blends to those coming to enjoy the library and all of its offerings.
9. Crepe N'Go
There's gotta be something more to Chinese cooking than just stir-fry, right? YES! And that's what Sean Sun, a former co-owner of Han Noodle Bar, is out to prove. With this take on the popular street food in northern China sold from push carts, Crepe N'Go has nothing to lose than to prove that Americans love egg-based products anytime of the day filled with a bunch of goodies of your choice.
North Winton Village
10. The Blossom Road Pub
The former Winton Bar & Grill is now called The Blossom Road Pub in the North Winton Village section of the city. Opened in late February, this pub has set out to offer a triple threat of "classic cocktails, craft beers on tap, and a warm environment..."
Try out the Blossom Road Pub for a unique idea for this coming Father's Day: Scotch class and tasting.
If it seems like the North Winton Village is all about good food and drink, then you've definitely picked up on the neighborhood's draw. Joining long-time forces such as Merchants Grill, Wintonaire, and The Winfield Grill, Stout opened up in March of this year and features the traditional bar feel with a darker wood interior, Guinness flags, and even a nice outdoor patio area in front.
12. Merchant's Wood Fired Pizza
And speaking of "nice" outdoor patio areas, that would be an understatement for Merchant's Wood Fired Pizza. The perimeter of the patio is landscaped beautifully, and the wooden awning of vegetation creates a unique, intimate outdoor atmosphere, just in time for the warm summer evenings.
Drinks are on the menu, but the restaurant is only open until 9:30p/10pm (depending on the night), and closed on Sunday and Monday...just FYI.
13. Brown Hound Downtown
Brown Hound Downtown restaurant opened at the Memorial Art Gallery sometime in the beginning of the year and offers Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters java selections, free wi-fi, as well as a full bar to patrons of the MAG.
Dinner service will be offered in the near future at their cozy and private dining loft overlooking the MAG's main floor, and it may be a good idea to check them out on a Thursday night when there is half-priced admission to the museum (although no admission is necessary to enjoy BHD at any time).
14. Mullers Cider House
Located next to the ever-popular Joe Bean Coffee Roasters, Mullers bucks the craft brewing trend by being the first (and only!) hard cider watering hole here in Rochester. If you've never tasted hard cider, we suggest you check out Wednesday evenings Hump Day Happy Hour from 6p-8p for a $10 flight...this will give you a chance to taste the latest of the greatest...and you'll want to grab a $3 bag of Mullers Classic Kettle Corn while you're at it.
15. Roc Paint Sip
In 2013, entrepreneur Bobby Padilla took a family vacation to the Cape which ultimately spawned the idea to bring the paint and sip art studio concept to Rochester. Today, that business is booming with individuals and groups that are treated to locally sourced wines, beers, sandwiches, salads, and snacks - all the while making a masterpiece painting of their own.
This could be your next birthday party, team building exercise for the office, or just your next night out.
16. California Rollin' Takeout II
Combining the takeout convenience with the popular sushi restaurant concept, California Rollin' II's Sushi Bar Express on Park Avenue gives the neighborhood something different to sink their teeth into instead of just pizza, burgers, and fries. With an emphasis to try your fave in a roll, bowl, or as a burrito, this concept launched in late March to the discerning Park Avenue foodie crowd.
Owner Christopher Nolan is following his passion by opening this new store at 129 Meigs Street, showcasing hand-picked antiques and items rich with history, stories, and beauty. Christopher also showcases a product line from Bella Avani, a natural botanical skin care line produced by local Elizabeth Hornak.
18. Louelle Design
Owners Andrea and Ashley created Louelle Studio out of their "...passion for creating, beautiful materials, and gathering loved ones together..."
This is a custom design studio in the South Wedge specializing in wedding and event invitations, as well as personal branding. Their Facebook and website showcases their keen eye for beautiful photography, classic design, and unique products.
Before you go to Walmart for those plain invites, always shop local and check out what these amazing, talented artists have for you in their shop first. Oh, and by the way, they were a finalist in the 2015 Martha Stewart American Made Awards.
19. North Wedge Market
With a keen eye towards fashion-conscious consumers that you don't normally find in a second-hand store, the North Wedge Market makes its mark in a different way than your typical Goodwill or Salvation Army shop.
All sales (er, donations) are tax deductible as the store is run by the Rochester Pillar Church that is housed next door.
20. Second Chic
In a similar fashion, Second Chic is a discerning men's and women's consignment shop next to McCann's Local Meats in the Edge of the Wedge development by Buckingham Properties.
A couple of jewerly artists sell their goods in this space as well, including the artwork of Marisa Krol and her Interstellar Love Craft brand.
Washington Square Park
Roc-Euro is the short-form name for Rochester Performance European, a company owned by John Frame that describes itself as "years in the making", which made its home on South Ave Extension (near the Capron Lofts, Geva Theatre, and Dinosaur BBQ) in Woodbury Place.
Frame's shop imports, distributes, and develops aftermarket performance products for those fancy international import vehicles such as BMW, Audi, Mini, Porsche, and Volkswagen.