Guide to Rochester's Park Ave

Park Ave restaurant with blog title banner
Student Life        

Park Ave is a Rochester staple. With places to eat, drink, shop, and more, it’s hard to keep track of everything the neighborhood has to offer. BTB put together a guide, breaking many of the attractions into categories. Please keep in mind, a lot of these places offer much more than just one thing, so don’t always keep it boxed into one category!

For the Early Riser - Breakfast & Brunch

Park Ave has some of the best breakfast and brunch places in the city. From the hometown favorite of Jine’s and the Frog Pond to themed restaurants such as the Mad Hatter, there’s something for everyone. Many places have incredible weekend brunch deals – such as BOGO Mimosas and Bloody Marys at Bluwolf. These places pack up quickly, so make sure to get there early! If you do have to wait, some places will send you a text when your table is ready, so you can take a stroll down the rest of Park Ave and do some window shopping.

Our Personal Favorite: BluWolf and its famous Hangover Bowls!

Outside view of the mad hatter, showing it's blue sign and a teacup
The Mad Hatter, located near the corner of Park Ave and Goodman St (across from Parkleigh)

For the Window Shopper - Local Stores

Speaking of window shopping, there are loads of local shops all along the street. You can pick up some beautiful handmade jewelry at MAE Beads, browse some vintage antiques at Useless Objects, or search for some rare items at Bartertown Collectibles. There’s even a metaphysical shop where you can find a lot of unique, handcrafted products.

Our Personal Favorite: Parkleigh, a gift shop filled with just about everything....and you can get free samples of coffee!

For the Coffee Lovers - Cafes & More

If your free sample of coffee doesn’t quite satisfy you, don’t worry! Park Ave is home to numerous cafes and coffee shops for you to check out before or after you walk around the area. If you are a true coffee fanatic, Glen Edith is the place for you. If tea is more your thing, check out Happy Gut Sanctuary, which brews about 20 different flavors of non-acholic tea ferments. For the smoothie folks, Refresh Cafe & Smoothie Bar is your stop!

Our Personal Favorite: Cafe Sasso is a true triple threat with delicious coffee, cocktails, and food. Plus, there’s lots of outside seating for those sunny days.

Exterior of glen edith building, painted bright blue
Glen Edith Coffee Roasters, around the corner past Cafe Sasso

For the Happy Hour Crowd - Apps & Drafts

For our 21+ crowd, coffee might not always do the trick. If you’re looking for a place to grab a quick drink or enjoy an after-work hang out with some friends, Park Ave has got a lot to offer during Happy Hour. Magnolia's and Marty’s Meats both have tons of sandwiches, soups, wraps, and other tasty foods to pair with some ice-cold beer. The Hideaway has a “Yappy Hour,” where you get a free dog bone for your furry friend with every $5 drink. Half-Pint Pub is also a great place for some evening drinks. However, the don’t serve any food, but that’s the perfect excuse to try more than one place out!

Our Personal Favorite: Dorado and its Taco Tuesday deals ($5 margaritas and $5 premium tequila shots from 3-6 pm).

For the Casual Meetups - Lunch Spots

If you’re looking for a place to get a filling meal, but aren’t quite ready for a big dinner, try some of these fast, simple, yet fulfilling eateries. For the pizza lovers, Chestercab Pizza has delicious Chicago stuffed, deep dish options and Marvin Mozzeroni’s Pizza has a tasty NY thin style. The Red Fern is an entirely vegan restaurant, and it also has gluten-free and allergy-friendly options, providing selections for everyone. Calabresella’s on Park is a NY style deli that opened fairly recently. The Classy Cookie & Deli offers not only great food but old fashioned, freshly baked cookies as well.

Our Personal Favorite: Park Ave Paninoteca, it’s Italian family recipes really give it that extra something special.

Exterior view of calabresella's
Calabresella's, across the street from Parkleigh

For the Trend Setters - Boutiques

If you’re getting a little overwhelmed with all the food options, there are some cute little stores to check out and really upgrade your closet. If you’re looking for some trendy pieces, look no further than Park Ave! STATEMENT is all about highlighting the artistic side of fashion. Salty Boutique focuses on the black and white palette, bringing in pops of color and pattern at the perfect time. Thelma’s specializes in helping style and fit post-mastectomy products.

Our Personal Favorite: Krudo Skate Shop not only has clothes, accessories, stickers, shoes, and skate stuff, but it also holds skate nights for people of all skill levels.

For the Art Lovers - Galleries

Besides shopping for clothes and accessories, you can also wander through galleries and admire some beautifully done art. Enjoy some tribal pieces, rare bronzes, detailed statues, and more at the Jembetat Gallery and Cafe, featuring an African Art Collection. Browse through paintings by Roman Santiago, a Rochester native or admire all the works by Frank Argento, including a wide range of portraits at other studios located on the avenue.

Our Personal Favorite: Jembetat offers a rare look at some hard-to-come-by art right on one of Rochester’s favorite avenues. Plus, there’s a delicious cafe inside!

For the Date Nights - Dinner Spots

Looking for a delightful spot to take your special someone? Park Ave has a bunch of places to begin your date night. Including Bacco’s Ristorante for the classic Italian dinner option, Furoshiki Kitchen for some delicious Ramen, and Roam Cafe for a picture-perfect spot with options for everyone’s tastes. If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, the Shengjing Garden, Sinbad’s Mediterranean Cuisine, and Park Ave Pub and Restaurant are other delicious options.

Our Personal Favorite: Roux - who does better at Romance than the French?

sinbad's exterior, showing the sign and its outdoor seating
SinBad's Mediterranean Cuisine, between Dragonfly Tavern and Living Color Tattoo

For the Sweet Tooths - Desserts

Whether you’re looking for a perfect way to top off your date night or are just looking for some tasty treats, Park Ave has got you covered. For the chocolate-lovers, Stever’s Candies is a long-time Rochester favorite. Baker Street Bakery offers a wide variety of goodies. Sweet Sammie Jane’s has the largest selection of French Macarons throughout the entire city of Rochester! Embrace your inner dark side with Sinful Sweets: an entire cakery inspired by The Seven Deadly Sins! What better way to play up the tempting nature of desserts?

Our Personal Favorite: Caramel Bakery and their slogan says: Bakery and bar. Need we say more?

Exterior view of stever's showing the sign
Stever's Candies, across from the plaza next to Jine's and The Frog Pond

For the Night Owls - Bars & Pubs

One of the best parts of Rochester is the nightlife. For the 21+ crowd, there are so many bars to explore and sip drinks at throughout the city. We’ve all been to East Ave and Alexander Ave, but have you spent the night on Park Ave? You can have a calm, classy night at the Apogee Wine Bar, sipping on wines and enjoying each other's company. However, you might want to consider doing a bar crawl. You can hit up Magpie Irish Pub, Public House, or Dragonfly Tavern. All have great beers on tap and delicious drinks to enjoy throughout your late-night evenings. RIT even has a night shuttle that goes to Park Ave every Friday night during the academic semesters. Just remember to drink responsibly!

Our Personal Favorite: Dragonfly Tavern and its pizza factor. What goes together better than drinking late and snacking on pizza afterward?

And Even More...

Park Ave is home to many fine dining establishments, including cuisine and drinks of all types and for all hours. It’s got local shops, clothing boutiques, and other places to browse. Yet, there is still more! If you’re looking for a place to get a new tattoo, Park Ave has that. If you want your hair cut, look no further. For spas, massages, and other beauty salons, it’s all right there. There are also other local businesses that have set up shop on the historic avenue. It’s hard to encompass everything Park Ave has to you’ll just have to check it out yourself!

Tagged: foodie, in the area, rochester, student life