You Are What You Eat



Welcome to the top 10 plates in Rochester, NY (as of January 24, 2020). There are many metrics I use to determine who has the best plate. It’s worth mentioning that any place on this list offers a fantastic plate. I’d return to any of these places for a plate and would recommend any of them. These are the best of the best; the cream of the crop. After the obvious (taste) a few considerations I pay attention to are:

  • Meat – Was the burger/dog seasoned? Was it cooked thoroughly?
  • Meat Sauce – Was it spicy or bland? Was it greasy? Did they bother putting meat sauce on the plate?
  • Potatoes – Were they cooked thoroughly? Were they home made?
    • I prefer if my fries are a bit soggy vs crispy; and that may be different from your personal preference.
  • Mac Salad – Was it mayo heavy? Was it bland? Did they put other weird veggies in there? Were the noodles soft or al-dente?
    • I prefer a mayo heavy Al-Dente mac salad. I’m not averse to veggies but they can sometimes be used to mask the taste.
  • Bread – Was it something other than boring white bread? Was the bread stale?
  • Composition – Were the ingredients balanced? (did they give you like 3 fries and a bunch of mac salad or vice versa). Did they give you too much/not enough food?
  • Price 

You’ll note some disparity with my spreadsheet rankings and the rankings below. With the list below I’ve tried to balance the fact that some places charge a lot of money for a plate. I’m trying to provide a “bang for you buck” factor which weighs the cost of the plate. I changed my formula up a bit from 2019, which is why you see some disparity between this list and the previous one.

I should mention that three plates from last years list didn’t make the cut this year:

  • Sticky lips (previously #7) – the location on Culver st has closed and I still haven’t visited the Henrietta location.
  • Tom Wahl’s (previously #8) – Objectively, there were just plates that I enjoyed more and were cheaper (Fairport hots is a good example)
  • Empire Hots (previously #9) – A similar problem occurred here as with Tom Wahl’s there are just better options. Don’t get me wrong, neither plate is bad, they just aren’t top 10 material at this point.

I wanted to start this list off with an honorable mention:

HONORABLE MENTION: Hungry’s – Pittsford, NY

Hungry’s didn’t make my top 10 list because Fairport Hots did. It’s really that simple. They had the exact same rating, and the exact same price point. I just preferred Fairport Hot’s, at some point my own bias and subjectivity makes an appearance when all quantitative measures have failed me. Hungry’s is a solid plate, nothing really stands out but it’s a great choice if you happen to be in the area.

And without further ado, here is my top 10 for 2020: 

10. Fairport Hots – Fairport, NY (previously #3)

Again, nothing fancy, no frills just delicious garbage plate. I can’t emphasize how important it is for me to be able to go to a place and get a great plate. It doesn’t happen often that I walk in blind and am taken for a culinary joy ride.

Price: 9.71

Key Features: Large portions, mayo heavy mac salad.

9. Mark’s Texas Hots – Rochester, NY (previously #2)

Another terrible photo from the iPhone days. What’s nice about this place is that you can get their plate any day of the week, at any time of day. At this point I freely admit that the nostalgia behind Mark’s for me impacts my objectivity. Their’s was the first plate I’d ever had; so I am forever indebted to them and their taste profiles. I’ll also mention that they have the best mac salad in the game right now: bar-none.

Price: 8.26

Key Features: Crinkle-cut fries, Mac Salad

8. The Old Stone Tavern – Rochester, NY (new!)


A newcomer to the plate game. The meat sauce here differentiated this plate from a lot of the others on this list. While the price will set you back a bit, I think it’s a worthy inclusion on any top 10 list.

Price: 16.20

Key features: meat sauce, mac salad.

7. Angry Goat – Rochester, NY (previously #10)

A personal favorite of mine. The goat plate is far more expensive than most plates you can get but it’s worth the extra money. Their fries are hand cut and everything tastes wonderful. The reason they aren’t rated higher is the cost of their plate; which is prohibitive.

Price: 15.11

Key Features: Hand cut fries, Chevre (goat cheese)

6. McCann’s Local Meats – Rochester, NY (new!)

This is far and away the best tasting plate on this list. Unfortunately, it’s also the most expensive. Every part of this plate tastes hand crafted and really sets the bar high. I particularly liked the burger and the fries.

Price: 17.28!

Key Features: Everything.

5. Culver Hots – Irondequoit, NY (previously #5)

Not the most memorable plate on the list. I had to go back to my post to remind myself why I rated it so highly. Like the Empire hots plate this is a standard no bullshit plate at a very reasonable rate. The restaurant itself is a bit dumpy but don’t let that put you off! At this point they’re playing the hits; and nailing every note. Yet another example of how a plate should taste. No frills, nothing fancy just pure unadulterated garbage [plate].

Price: 10.00

Key Features: Spicy meat sauce, Mac Salad

4. Marshall Street Bar and Grill – Rochester, NY (previously #6)

The biggest surprise of 2018 for me. I wasn’t expecting much from this plate but it completely blew me out of the water. Marshall street is an unassuming place with great food.

Price: 11.00

Key Features: Nacho cheese sauce, unique mac salad

3. Skylark – Rochester, NY (previously #4)

The picture is horrible, and for that I apologize. It doesn’t do it justice. I shot it back when I was using my iPhone and before I got my DSLR. Aside from my awful photo and even worse graphic this plate is one of the more unique takes that you’ll find. I heard that they recently changed their recipe/preparation. I haven’t had a chance to try the new version yet, but I plan to.

Price: 9.72

Key Features: Meatballs, Mashed potato balls.

2. Charlie’s Restaurant – Webster, NY (new!)

Without a doubt one of the most pleasant surprises of 2019. I was expecting something in line with Tom Wahl’s or Bill Gray’s. Charlies just does it better. The home fries alone are worth the price of admission and the price tag won’t set you back an arm and a leg.

Price: 12.95

Key Features: Home Fries, Burgers.

1. Dogtown – Rochester, NY (previously #1)

For the second year in a row, Dogtown is seated at number one on my list. It was the first place that I reviewed for this site. I have plans to circle back to it at some point and re-review it to see if my opinion on it has changed. Now that I’ve ingested more plates I’d be curious to see if my ratings are any different. That said, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Dogtown tops my list. It’s generally regarded as the best plate place in Rochester. I could wax poetically here; or you could read the review :P.

Price: 8.64

Key Features: Red/White Hots, Meat sauce.