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Rochester NY

I'll have a White Hot & a Pop

Tiffani Williams on Tuesday, 02 October 2007. Posted in Dining, Rochester & Monroe County

Walk up to any counter in Rochester, NY and the guy standing on the other side will know exactly what you’re talking about. It is all a part of Rochester’s charm. As a Rochestarian, I thought I would share a local’s guide to Rochester. I’ve been in the ROC for 20 years…What is up with the way we speak? What did I do for fun growing up? What do I still do with my friends from RIT?

 Street Slang…

Around here, 70% of the time, a pop is not the sound a carbonated beverage makes when you open it. Pop is the word you use to identify said beverage.

 There are 2 types of hot dogs around here: If you want beef, call it a “Red Hot” or a “Texas Hot”. If you want pork, call it a “White Hot”. Why? Don’t ask me, ask Zweigles. And when someone asks if you want a Garbage plate – think before you say yes. 

If you are looking for some place to have a party, don’t look in the Rochester Yellow pages for Banquet Hall. You want to search for a “Party House”, obviously.

 Chili has 2 meanings. One is the food and the restaurant pronounced like it’s spelled, Chili. The other is the local suburb pronounced, “Chye Lye”.

 If you are headed to one of our Lake Ontario beaches, you best pronounce the word Charlotte like “Shar Lot”, otherwise most people will think you are headed to North Carolina.


Inside Look

You could easily Google search Rochester, NY and come up with all sorts of interesting “touristy” things to do in the area. If that’s what you are into, try: Mt. Hope Cemetery, Susan B. Anthony’s House, Letchworth State Park, George Eastman House, Strong National Museum of Play, or the Lilac Festival. And of course at some point, someone is going to tell you to go get a garbage plate at Tahoe’s. These are all really great places to visit and usually top a visitor of Rochester’s To Do List. However, to a local, these places are all too familiar, usually full of tourists, and more than likely a location that they’ve seen 100 times on countless Middle School field trips. So, let’s talk about the other stuff that most people don’t discover until they’ve been around the block a few times.


Tapas is a restaurant/lounge in Rochester that many people go to. The thing about Tapas is that it is not just a place to eat. There are always events going on including: Monthly Wine Tasting, Free Salsa lessons Thursday nights, Live entertainment every Friday. It is definitely a “distinctly different lounge experience”. Don’t take my word for it, go check it out!


Java’s is one of the most popular Coffee House spots in the city….right up there after Starbucks. Java’s currently has 3 locations. Two of which are on college campuses (RIT & MCC). The last of which is in Downtown Rochester. The location downtown is the original. Although there is nothing like the Java’s at RIT in Wallace Library, you can’t beat heading downtown and experiencing the real Java’s. The locations all have the same feel: trendy, laid back and a little funky (in an awesome coffee smelling way).  When I am looking for somewhere to meet a friend from High School that I haven’t talked to in forever, or for a place to just unwind, I always go downtown to Java's.

 Water Street Music Hall

Water Street is the largest Club Concert Hall in Rochester. The 7000 square foot entertainment complex has two rooms that can be used together or separately. They are located in the St. Paul Quarter. This place is amazing. There are always shows going on. They feature a lot of local up-and-coming bands and other well known artists. For instance, Tomorrow (October 3rd) they are having The Starting Line, Tuesday the 9th, Teddy Geiger (a Rochestarian himself) and on the 14th you can catch Colbie Caillat. You can get tickets for cash at the door or on Ticketmaster.

 Dollar Theatre

Ok, so maybe it’s really called Movies 10 on W. Henrietta Rd. in Rochester. But everyone calls it the Dollar Theatre. Basically, on any given night, you will not be paying more than $2 to see a movie. And that price generally pertains to the weekend. If you go during the week, you may be looking at about $.50. The only downside is that the movies you see are about 4 weeks behind the regular movie theatres. I say, Hey, if it’s only going to cost me $1, I can wait. I didn’t discover the dollar theatre until I started school at RIT. Some of my fellow cheap college friends, originally from Brighton, NY (suburb of Rochester), took me there my first week during freshman year. If you are looking to go to a movie but not spend $9 for it, definitely check it out.

Art Walk

Art Walk is an amazing feature of Rochester. I had the chance to participate but I had other commitments at the time. Art walk takes place downtown. The area basically erupts in artistic expression. It was conceived by Rochestarians and is a permanent urban art trail, connecting the arts centers and public spaces within the Neighborhood of the Arts (NOTA) in Rochester. ARTWalk is basically an outdoor museum, located in the city on University Avenue.

Along the walk you can find various pieces of art. This can be anything from your traditional art to decorated bus shelters. Art Walk definitely embodies the artistic spirit of Rochester at its finest.

Last but certainly, most definately not LEAST…

Dinosaur BBQ

This restaurant is not exactly an inside look because I am almost positive that everyone has heard of it. Dino, as we call it, has some of the best BBQ around this area. There are only 3 locations in the US: Rochester, Syracuse and New York City. As my best friend will tell you, they have the best Macaroni Salad she’s ever tasted. Dino has a great atmosphere with tons of BBQ-esk things all over the walls. And they often have live music. If you are really a big fan, you can look like the wait staff and purchase a Dino BBQ shirt.  So, if you are looking for “a genuine honky tonk rib joint”, Dino is the place for you.

Well, those are just a few suggestions!! If anyone wants any more information on any of these places, or others that you find that I didn't mention let me know. Or, if you have some other inside information that you’d like to add, post it!