This week, I’d like to let you all know about a little spot called Mise En Place in the South Wedge.
For those of you out of the loop, there’s a small neighborhood near campus called South Wedge. If I were to describe the neighborhoods of Rochester in a way that’s analogous to the neighborhoods of Brooklyn, South Wedge would be the Williamsburg of Rochester. The neighborhood is somewhat of a hipster Mecca for the tattooed flannel-wearers of Rochester. It’s a dense part of the city, full of townhouses lining up the gridded neighborhood streets. Smack dab in the middle of the neighborhood is the neighborhood’s namesake street: South Avenue.
South Ave is great. It’s a long, straight road that runs from Elmwood Avenue near College Town, all the way down to the Inner Loop. While mostly convenient for driving through the city, South Ave. also hosts a small village-like area in its South Wedge section that serves as a nice activity hub to walk through during the fall, once the city turns a beautiful orange hue.
While there is no clear middle of this hub, I like to think that, unofficially, the four-way intersection that pops up right next to the Historic German House (an old-school dance and concert hall in the area), serves well as the village square. Right in this village square rests this week’s dining locale, the cozy, corner sub-shop: Mise En Place.
The first thing you notice about Mise En Place when you walk in is its unique layout. Instead of the long, sandwich-making assembly-line typical of most sandwich shops, Mise En Place has a tiny corner dedicated to sandwich construction, with the rest of the shop consisting of a dining area, and then an entire space filled with tall racks, filled with snacks, preserves, sauces, and craft beers. Turns out, Mise is not only a sandwich shop, but also a small grocery mart. The lighting of the shop is dim, but comforting, and the staff walks about the shop, refilling stock on some racks and lounging around, waiting at the sandwich station for customers to place their orders.
The order process at Mise En Place is unorthodox, but simple. Customers head to the sandwich station to place their order for what meal they’d like to have. Once you’ve placed your order, you’re given a receipt, and then given free reign to walk around the store and browse the goods that are stocked throughout. If anything catches your fancy, you can pick it up and take it with you to the cash register, along with your receipt, to cover your tab. Once you’ve paid your dues, you can grab a seat and start snacking or drinking while waiting for your meal to be finished.
For my meal at the little grocery, I went with my usual safety sandwich: a classic Italian sub. I also ordered some garlic fries to go with my meal, as I’ve started going up a notch on my belt, and so the temporary food storage needed for hibernation season had finally begun. While I would’ve loved to grab something to drink to go along with my meal, I ended up being the designated driver for my group that night, so I couldn’t grab any of the tall hard cider cans that I’d been eyeing on my walk around the store.
Once our food arrived, it became immediately clear to me why my friends wanted to hit up the shop that night. While the sandwich I ordered looked pretty standard, it tasted absolutely delicious, just seeping with oil and vinegar. The meats were cold, and the tomato was one mouth-watering wedge in a sea of savory goodness. The fries weren’t too shabby either, since they were crisp, crunching with each bite that I took out of them. As we ate them, we watched out the big windows of the grocery shop as the sun set down, casting looming shadows of the building rooftops, each edged by bright orange reflections of the setting sun. The scene was picturesque, and the food made the moment all the better.
After we finished up our meals, we all walked out of Mise and packed up into my car for a calm ride home. Nothing makes a Friday night like a good sub and some conversation, and Mise definitely delivers on the good-sub part of the equation. So take the chance to get off campus by riding the Orange Line some time soon, and take a pit stop at South Wedge. Grab yourself a sandwich from Mise, and let yourself unwind after a long day of study or goofing off on studying. Trust me, you won’t regret it.