For the layperson, Rochester (the city) means about three different things: RIT, the University of Rochester (if they don’t think that’s just RIT said differently), and the garbage plate. It’s a staple of local cuisine and lives in both the dreams and nightmares of those who have even once consumed something of its likeness. Scratch carbo-loading — the garbage plate is notoriously everything-loaded, usually being composed of hot dogs, hamburgers, macaroni salad, home fries, and a shockingly unsuspicious spicy meat sauce.
While the original Nick Tahou Hots’ version is a greaseball favorite for townies, there are versions of garbage plates for all different kinds of folks in the 585, including “compost plates” at vegan restaurants such as Red Fern and a smorgasbord of side combinations at locations like Dogtown. However, no matter what you choose, there is a legitimate possibility that constant uninterrupted noshing on garbage plates might be garbage for your cholesterol levels. So, our Editorial Board has split into factions: those with at least a mild concern for their lives, and those that would rather eat free or die.
Pro-platers: Publisher Sarah Woodams, Photo Editor Henry Litsky, Opinions Editor Sunahra Tanvir
As Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation said of his “turf-n-turf” (a T-bone and porterhouse combo), we say of garbage plates: “I am going to consume all of this at the same time because I am a free American.”
The Plate is the quintessential American dish: meat, potato, mayonnaise, mustard, onion, and even more meat. 2,000 calories of pure freedom. Even the most impassioned Marxist can’t help but feel patriotic as their arteries are sealed shut in [insert word here]. True Rochestarians enjoy plates sober but everyone enjoys a sloshed plate. It is the perfect meal to satisfy crossed college students everywhere.
The original Garbage Plate hails from Nick Tahou’s, located in the beat-up building that once housed the mighty, now defunct, Buffalo, Rochester, and Pittsburgh Railway Terminal. Eating a plate at Tahou’s is a great starting place for tourists to immerse themselves in Rochester’s history and culture.
If someone wants to consume this medley of backyard American barbeque food and subsequently make their heart work a little harder, it’s their right, and frankly, their responsibility to truly become a Rochestarian.
Anti-platers: Editor-in-Chief Alyssa Koh, Managing Editor Allie Tay
To start: one of us is not staunchly anti-plate. In fact, they actively enjoy a vegan double dog plate from Dogtown on the semi-regular, and will nosh on even the lukewarmest of plates out of sheer Rochester-based patriotism. However, we, unlike our above counterparts, value the current physical ease of our lives just barely. The idea of our bodies consisting of and subsisting on mainly mac salad is not only terrifying, but is also gross. Boo, hiss. The other one of us on the other hand is anti-plate despite never having tried one (and still refuses to).
We were born as omnivores, which inherently requires a diversification of palate. While one could argue that the garbage plate itself holds the majority of the food groups within its clutches, there’s gotta be more to life than shoveling a pile of home fries in your gaping maw three times a day. If not… oh boy. Maybe we really do peak in college.