Food Adventures in Rochester

So this blog is about my history and preservation adventures but have I told you about how much I love eating when I adventure around!?!

I enjoy finding unique eateries and stuffing my face fully of messy food. I also have a soft spot for anything made locally…so when I traveled to Rochester a couple of weekends ago, there were some really awesome places my friend, Amanda, took me to.

The first cool place we went to was a burger joint called, “The Playhouse and Swillburger,” which along with serving up classic American food, has a bar, and a number of old school arcade games. When we arrived at the restaurant, I was starving. I’m not good at planning for food stops when I’m traveling. I typically wait until I get to my destination…starving and questioning when we’re going to eat.

Sooo, I’m not just telling you about the Swillburger because of how awesome the vibe was or how great the food tasted. The building happens to be old and have a cool backstory!

This brings me to another topic I’ve been wanting to write more about- building rehabilitation and reuse stories. So the idea that an old, historic, unused property gets a Cinderella-type makeover into something cool and the building remains in use!

Check out the images of the exterior and interior of The Playhouse and Swillburger to see what the building once was. The captions for the photos will give a brief history of the building and how it got into its current state.

So back to the burning question you have…was the food any good!?!

For the love of all foods good, cheap, and served quickly. Yes. Much good.

Foods
This is a picture of the food I ordered at Swillburger- Crispy Chicken Sammie, Fire and Smoke Fries, and a Vegan Chocolate Milkshake….and a beer from the bar

The crispy chicken sammie (sandwich) with Swillsauce, lettuce, tomatoes, and dad’s pickles? That was amazing and everything was so fresh tasting.

The “Smoke and Fire” french fries? Spicy and crunchy just the way I like my french fries.

The vegan chocolate milkshake? Creamy, thick, and chocolaty with a hint of coconut.

On a super nerdy yet slightly related note… For those familiar with the television show, Supernatural, there is a scene of a recurring character who is eating a hamburger, and he says something along the lines, “These make me very happy.” Here’s a link to the clip on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0bpejn__bQ

That’s exactly how I felt eating the food I ordered at Swillburger. The added facts that it was in a historic building and I was with my bff. Priceless.

Swillburger and Playhouse
The Playhouse and Swillburger is located at 820 South Clinton Avenue. It’s open daily from 11:30 am – 2 am (the grill closes down at 10 pm and the bar stays open until 2 am). There is no parking lot but there is parking along the surrounding streets.

There was one other food place Amanda and I went to while I was visiting and that was the Rochester Public Market. The market is open weekly on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays; it’s a year round market place.

Rochester Public Market
This was the main parking lot for the market. It was packed but luckily Amanda found a place to park!

Amanda and I went to the Union Street Bakery for breakfast because Amanda said they have the best breakfast sandwiches around. The bakery is part of a row of buildings at the Public Market.

They did not disappoint!

Bakery Windows

 

Breakfast Sandwich
This sandwich consisted on two fried eggs, cheese, and turkey (other options included ham, bacon, sausage, and/or peppers) all on a large roll. The sandwich plus water I got cost me like $5.00. It was real good!

The Rochester Public Market has been in operation since 1827 when it was located at the west end of the Main Street Bridge. In 1905, the market was relocated to its current location on Union Street. Originally, the vendors who sold at the market could only sell products wholesale. That changed in 1913, when the city began to allow retailers to sell directly to the shoppers. When we visited the market it was chilly out and overcast but that didn’t seem to stop people from being out and shopping at the market!

Researching the Rochester Public Market I came across some interesting articles about plans for upgrades to the market. Apparently, the Public Market has received quite a bit of money to build a few buildings and to do general upgrades to the location. The weird thing was that this collection of news articles were from 2012-2013….in one of the articles, some peoples opinions on the future upgrades were reported on. The main concerns were that the upgrades would “yuppify” the market- more hipster coffee places and prices would rise pushing out certain groups of people from shopping at the market.

I’m not sure how much work has been done on the market. My friend, Amanda, made it sounds like the biggest upgrades still haven’t happened. I’m not sure. What I do know though is when I was there, there were lots of people from all walks of life. The vendors varied from handcrafts to produce to livestock. It was great to see so many people from different cultures- I don’t get to see that often in Northern New York. I like it.

The prices also were very inexpensive. Breakfast cost me $5 and that sandwich was glorious. Between Amanda and I, we probably spent barely $30.00 on produce. I think the most expensive thing purchased were frozen pierogies that we had for lunch. Not to be too weird but I still have apples in my crisper from the market and they’re still good!

Click through the images below to get a sense of what the Rochester Public Market is like!

Thoughts

Both of these places were really awesome for food adventures! If you find yourself in Rochester, check them both out!

Here in Northern New York, there are a number of good building reuse stories for me to share in the future. For example, there’s an Italian restaurant in an old train depot around the corner from me!

Is there a place in your hometown, with a cool and unique building reuse story that you frequent often? Or is there an eatery that’s really awesome and serves great food? Or does your town have a public market that is open year round?

Let me know in the comment section! I love hearing about good food.

Check out some of the links in the “Further Information” section- there news articles about the Rochester Farmer’s Market and the Playhouse and Swillburger there, along with a link to historic photographs of the market!

Thanks for reading!

Further Information:

The Playhouse and Swillburger –

http://www.theplayhouseroc.com/

This is the link to the Kickstarter page for the Playhouse:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/theplayhouse/the-playhouse-swillburger

News Articles about Swillburger opening and the history of the building:

http://www.rochestercitynewspaper.com/rochester/burgers-beers-and-arcade-battles-at-the-playhouse-swillburger/Content?oid=2727458

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/lifestyle/food-and-drink/2015/12/23/playhouseswillburger-opens-south-clinton/77800618/

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2016/08/18/playhouse-south-wedge-filled-history/88954332/

http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/new-york/the-playhouse-swillburger-ny/

The Rochester Public Market –

Historic Photographs of the Rochester Public Market:

https://cityofrochester.smugmug.com/City-Departments-1/Rochester-Public-Market/Department-of-Recreation-and/

General Information about the market:

http://rochesterpublicmarket.weebly.com/history-and-future.html

The Rochester Public Market has an entire chapter dedicated to it, in the City’s code:

http://ecode360.com/8677890

Collection of brief articles related to construction and planned upgrades to Rochester Public Market. This is where the concerns were voiced about the possible “yuppify” of the market.

http://therochesterian.com/tag/rochester-public-market/

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