You Are What You Eat



Welcome to the top 10 plates in Rochester, NY (as of December 29, 2020). There are many metrics I use to determine who has the best overall plate experience. 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.

Whenever you construct a list like this, there are certain things you should consider. I want to start off by saying that there is a difference between the “Best” and the “Top 10”. The best plates in Rochester can be found on my spreadsheet. Many of the best plates are on this list. That said, these are the top 10 plates. So what’s the difference? This list takes price into account. Here we’re looking for the best “bang for your buck”. If you want a raw score of what I consider to be the “best” plates that is available on the spreadsheet. 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 

I changed my formula up a bit from 2020, which is why there may be some disparities between this list and others you may have seen.

There were four restaurants from last years list didn’t make the cut this year:

  • Skylark (previously #3) – with everything that’s been going on with COVID-19 and the shutdowns, it isn’t clear to me that they’re open. Regardless, I need to re-review their plate as it’s been a while. So for now, they’re off.
  • Culver Hots (previously #5) – I reviewed a lot of places this year, and they fell a bit down the list due to the fact that there were so many all-stars this year.
  • Old Stone Tavern (previously #8) – See above.
  • Fairport Hots (previously #10) – See above.

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

HONORABLE MENTION: JT’s Pizza and Plates

JT’s is a little pizza joint out in East Rochester. They were crowned the winner of “Plate-a-palooza” back in February and it isn’t difficult to see why. For those curious, Culver Hots was also in close consideration for honorable mention but I believe the plate at JT’s is a bit better.

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

10. Swiftwater Brewing Co. – Rochester, NY (New!)

Everyone loves the new guy right? Swiftwater is a great little brewery with an awesome plate. The home fries are to die for and the bread is in a word; incredible.

Price: 14.00

Key features: Home fries, toasted garlic bread.

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

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

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

A personal favorite of mine. The goat plate is 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: 15.39

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

7. ER Hots – East Rochester, NY (New!)

Another East Rochester entry that took me by surprise. It’s an unassuming little place attached to a pizza joint; but they make a damn good plate.

Price: 11.07

Key Features: Meat sauce, Bread.

6. McCann’s Local Meats – Rochester, NY (Previously #6)

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. The Exchange – Rochester, NY (New!)

The Exchange is a sports bar in Corn hill that serves some great food. I’m quite partial to their hot chicken, but their plate is also one for the books.

Price: 12.00

Key features: Cheeseburgers, well-seasoned fries.

4. Sticky Lips – Rochester, NY (“New”!)

“Don’t call it a comeback!” I put “new” in quotes because while I had reviewed Sticky Lips in the past, their old location closed down. This year I finally got around to going to their “new” location in Henrietta. You really can’t go wrong with this one; their brisket is to die for.

Price: 13.00 (this somehow went down from 13.95 which is what I paid the first time I reviewed their plate).

Key Features: Mouth-watering brisket, corn bread.

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

I’ve written plenty about Dogtown in the past, extolling the virtues of the place. I don’t really have much to add. The prices are fair, and their food is delicious. I had previously ranked Dogtown as number one, but they slipped due to the fact that I believe both JB Quimbies and Charlie’s offer a slightly better plate. That said, as far as affordability goes, you can’t find a better plate for cheaper.

Price: 10.26

Key Features: Red/White hots, meat sauce. 

2. JB Quimbies – Rochester, NY (New!)

A relative newcomer to the list, but one I had frequented many years ago. JB Quimbies was a surprise to even me. It’s just an all around solid plate; and tots are such a great addition to the mix. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but more places should be innovating with tots. Tots are the future as far as I’m concerned.

Price: 10.50

Key Features: Tater tots, good plate synergy.

1. Charlie’s Restaurant – Webster, NY (Previously #1)

For a second year in a row, Charlie’s has topped my list. The home fries alone are worth the price of admission and the price tag won’t set you back an arm and a leg. I need to re-review Charlie’s, but at the time of this writing; it’s still number one.

Price: 12.95

Key Features: Home Fries, Burgers.