By Ryan Arnold
I’ve been there before. Today, it might be your turn.
The boss calls, informing you that you’ve got an important client meeting to attend on short notice in an unfamiliar city. You might ask yourself what you’ll do, where you’ll go. Sometimes, particularly depending on your mode of transportation, even the briefest of meetings may be bookended by a lot of waiting around. Other times, those of us who travel for work are tasked with entertaining others for the evening.
If either of these describe your situation and you happen to be in Rochester, NY, I’ve got you covered.
Neighborhoods: Culver/University/East and Neighborhood of the Arts
Third Wave Coffee
There’s a time and a place for a quickly brewed, run-of-the-mill cup o’ joe, but we all know that there’s better beans roasting somewhere in town. If you can break off the few extra minutes, stop at one of these excellent coffee bars, you won’t regret it.
Glen Edith Coffee is minimalist in design, with maximum flavor. Find a seat on a vintage couch or at one of the communal tables, plug in, and fire off some email. Try the cold brew, which retains its deep flavor despite the addition of cream or sugar.
(Pictured above: A pour over featuring Glen Edith Coffee.)
Joe Bean is an artisanal coffee experience, with a vibe more like that of a bar than a coffee shop. Don’t be surprised when the incredibly talented folks behind the counter aren’t in a rush to take your payment, as they’re more focused on carefully weighing the grounds for your coffee order and making you the prefect cuppa.
Neighborhoods: South Wedge and Swillburg
Lunch at Open Face
When chef and owner Jared Valentine decided to operate under the premise “We make fresh food fun,” he wasn’t kidding. The restaurant’s name describes its culinary point of view best--Open Face. Try a can of old school Moxie soda and a chicken salad sandwich on sourdough. Or maybe brie and apricot preserves with thinly sliced pear served on fresh baguette. Whether you’re closing a deal near its South Avenue location, or grabbing one for the road, Open Face is a solid bet.
(Pictured above: Open Face’s housemade meatloaf sandwich served with pepperjack, barbecue sauce, and greens on a pretzel roll.)
Dinner at The Cub Room
With a nod to the prestigious New York City Stork Club, The Cub Room is as much a Prohibition-era speakeasy as it is a modern New American restaurant. The husband and wife team that owns and operates Cub Room put much emphasis on ingredients, flying fresh fish in overnight, hand-selecting meats from the attached butcher shop, and more. The Cub Room is destination for both craft cocktails and food, so you’ll find service at the bar to be just as refined and attentive as the service guests enjoy in the stylish dining room.
Neighborhood: Park Avenue
Lunch at Roam Café
Chef Drew Nye is as active in the dining room with his guests as he is in the kitchen. On any day you may find him giving a tour of his intimate venue to an event planner or offering a wine tasting on the restaurant’s sidewalk patio. Roam Cafe’s fresh and creative menu pairs well with a wide array of beverage choices, and the people watching here is top-notch, making it the perfect place to enjoy lunch for one.
Dinner at Roux
For generations, many of the world’s most beloved restaurants have been family affairs, and that is just one vein of commonality that runs between those restaurants and Rochester’s Roux. Operated by sisters (and rebranded after the closing of the popular Cibon Café), chef Ashley Swan and mixologist Paulina dial up a variety of fresh plates and cocktails in their French-inspired eatery. Overseen by a raised kitchen, the dining area and bar are adorned with sumptuous fresh flowers, the ideal setting for a delicious meal.
(Pictured above: Roux’s peach shortcake with fresh thyme and chantilly cream)
Neighborhood: Finger Lakes
Lunch at Rio Tomatlan
It’s rare to find upscale Mexican done well, and in this regard, Rio Tomatlan really stands out. A menu featuring simple, complex, comforting, and sometimes spicy dishes, Rio Tomatlan also boasts a strong tequila selection. If you’re in this region with any regularity, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for the restaurant’s incredible pairing dinners, which make use of local ingredients in exciting ways.
(Pictured above: An evening of fine, locally sourced Pacific Coast-inspired fare from Rio Tomatlan)
Dinner at Prosecco
If you’re in ROC, just east or west of NYS’s I-90, it’s only a few minutes south into Farmington. There you’ll find a delightful Italian kitchen and jazz bar, Prosecco. This restaurant comes alive with entertainment and food, and is enjoyable for small parties of two seated at an intimate table, or larger parties, just in case you feel like treating your client and his office to dinner. With a renowned chef, elegant décor, and live jazz combinations, any guest’s biggest worry will be which excellent bottle of wine to order.
Neighborhood: Village Gate
A Nightcap at Nox
Last, but certainly not least, you’d be remiss if you ended your evening wihtout a stop at Nox Cocktail & Comfort Food in the Village Gate. While the chef is quite capable and this is a great little spot for dinner, the focus here is on technically adept libations. Detail is everywhere in this venue, from the castle-like front door and velvet curtain entry, to the industrial rolling ladder that allows the barkeep to scale all the way to the tippy top of the restaurant’s bottle selection. It’s as easy to find one of the best craft cocktails you’ve had at Nox.
(Pictured above: Nox’s Chrysanthemum and the Sword, made of Crop Organic Meyer Lemon Vodka, Averna Amaro, Koval Chrysanthemum Liqueur, and Fee Bros’ Molasses and Lemon Bitters.)