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/

Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, New York

Recently, I traveled to Rochester, New York for my annual adventure to see my b.f.f., Amanda. While I was there, I had the opportunity to visit Mount Hope Cemetery, a rural cemetery located in Rochester. I have a fascination with cemeteries, so being able to visit Mount Hope was great. Rural cemeteries are quiet and peaceful, and I enjoy that greatly while photographing tombstones and paying my respects to those who have passed away.

Rules and Regulations

Mount Hope was a wonderful place to visit. We visited the cemetery in the late afternoon and were there for a couple of hours; the weather was great! There are about 14 miles of winding roads and paths to walk along and there are many beautiful monuments and tombstones dedicated to the deceased. Amanda and I didn’t walk all throughout the cemetery but we did see a lot. To add to reasons to visit Mount Hope, the cemetery has a number of burials of historically significant people such as Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass.

Prior to Mount Hope there had been a number of small burial grounds throughout Rochester including grounds at King’s Landing, the intersection of today’s East Ave. and Gibbs Street, Charlotte, and the intersection of Monroe Ave. and Alexander Street.

In the 1830’s, there was a growing need in Rochester for more burial space. The city had been steadily increasing in population making Rochester one of the first boom towns in the country. Apparently, Rochester had a lot of firsts for the young United States of America. The growth of population and a lack of good sanitary practices within the city caused outbreaks of cholera and typhus in Rochester during this time resulting in a number of deaths. This was just one of the many reasons the city of Rochester was looking for a larger burial ground. Other reasons included the fear of possible water contamination from the overcrowded cemeteries, plus those older sites were in prime locations for industrial and commercial development.

Rochester wasn’t the only place having these of concerns with burial grounds; Europe was having them too. As early as 1711, Sir Christopher Wren of England, was advocating for burial grounds on the outskirts of town. The first landscaped cemetery was completed in 1084 in Paris and is the Père Lachaise Cemetery. The first garden or rural cemetery in the United States was Mount Auburn in Massachusetts, which was finished in 1831. Mount Auburn inspired other cemeteries across America including Mount Hope in Rochester. These types of cemeteries are typically right outside of town and are landscaped. During the 19th century garden cemeteries were built not only for burials but also for public use, kind of like a park. They have winding paths, avenues lined with tress, garden plots, framed vistas, and monuments/funerary architecture. The concepts behind these new cemeteries were that nature could help overcome the reality and grief of a loved one’s death. There was also a push during this time to be outdoors and to take in the pastoral beauty of nature. The picturesque and romanticism of nature was seen not only in landscaped cemeteries but also in art during the early 19th century.

Click through the following photos for a general idea of the landscape of Mount Hope:

Mount Hope was dedicated by the city of Rochester in 1838 making it one of the first municipal cemeteries in the county! The cemetery needed little landscaping because the site was already fantastically formed into the hilly, winding landscape it is because of glaciers during the last ice age. For example, Central Park in New York City is not a natural landscape- that’s all created into a park- the only natural thing about the Park is the rocky outcrops. Mount Hope did employ Silas Cornell, a landscape architect, to help layout the roads and features of the cemetery. The name for the cemetery can be attributed to William Wilson, a laborer who worked on the layout of the cemetery. In his bills that he submitted to the city for his services, William kept referring to the work as “for labor at Mount Hope.” The name was informally accepted and people just kept calling the cemetery, Mount Hope.

Most of the earlier burial grounds in Rochester were moved in 1872 to Mount Hope. There are a few of the old burials still in Rochester though, they include the sites at King’s Landing, Charlotte, and Rapids.

The following are images of monuments and tombstones that I personally thought were interesting:

While researching Mount Hope, I came across a poem about the cemetery written shortly after it was established that was published in 1840 in the Knickerbocker.

Mount_Hope_Cemetery1Mount_Hope_Cemetery2Mount_Hope_Cemetery3

The poet was Elizabeth Clementine Stedman (1810-1889). She was a contributor to both the Knickerbocker and the Blackwood’s. During the 19th century she had three books published: Felicita, A Metrical Romance (1855), Poems (1867), and Bianco Capello, A Tragedy (1873). The last book was written during her time abroad; while traveling Europe she befriended Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Elizabeth’s eldest son, Edmund Clarence Stedman, followed in her footsteps and also was a writer and a poet.

If you’re interested in seeing another example of a rural cemetery, check out my previous post about the Bayside Cemetery in Potsdam, New York:

https://adventurewithcourtney.wordpress.com/2016/10/31/bayside-cemetery-photographs-and-thoughts/

If you have any comments or questions, let me know in the comment!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Bibliography and Further Information:

Wikipedia’s page about Rural Cemeteries:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rural_cemetery

The University of Rochester has a course where students do research on monuments and tombstones in the Mount Hope. This is a link to their website where you can search to find possible research papers on the cemetery:

https://urresearch.rochester.edu/viewInstitutionalCollection.action;jsessionid=73CC95E513A69C5C448CE3F7B4B1B0C7?collectionId=143

The following link is to a publication about the geologic history of the land that makes up Mount Hope Cemetery:

http://www.lib.rochester.edu/IN/RBSCP/Epitaph/ATTACHMENTS/24_1.pdf

This link doesn’t have a lot of information about the cemetery but it does have some cool scans of what looks like old postcards of Mount Hope:

http://www.rochesterhistoryalive.com/scenery.htm

Stedman, Elizabeth Clementine. “Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester.” The Knickerbocker 16 (1840): 219. https://books.google.com/books?id=Os5ZAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA219&dq=mount+hope+cemetery+rochester&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjEyciY_s_TAhVF7IMKHQcnBUk4ChDoAQg1MAM#v=onepage&q&f=false

Reisem, Richard O. Mount Hope, Rochester, NY: America’s First Municipal Victorian Cemetery. Rochester, New York: The Landmark Society of Western New York, 1999. https://books.google.com/books?id=kxMLN0Z2PTsC&printsec=frontcover&dq=mount+hope+cemetery+rochester&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiqkv7k5NPTAhUIRSYKHRmxAssQ6AEIIzAA#v=onepage&q=mount%20hope%20cemetery%20rochester&f=false

The quote from William Wilson came from this book, page 8.

Other information about rural cemeteries came from my personal notes from graduate school.

Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris

http://northstargallery.com/pages/perehist.htm

https://frenchmoments.eu/pere-lachaise-cemetery/

Mount Auburn Cemetery

http://mountauburn.org/

Rochester: A Photo Adventure

I originally had no plans of writing about my trip to Rochester that I took in March because it happened before I started this blog. But, in that past few weeks I found an interesting book on the architecture of Rochester and Monroe County at the BirchBark Bookstore.

For those interested in used bookstores, the BirchBark Bookstore, is conglomerate of connected buildings, each filled with used books of all genres. It is located at 40 Ashton Road in Potsdam and it’s only opened on the weekends. It’s one of those unique Northern N.Y. finds.

The book is from 1974 and written by Paul Malo, with photographs by Hans Padelt and “Others.” It was published by Syracuse University Press. The written history is good read and helps highlight the architectural history of Rochester and what was going on socially and economically to inspire the changes in buildings design.

Paul_Malo_Book

The photographs are amazing, as you can see from the front cover of the book! They’re a great source of what Rochester looked like during the 1970’s. By the way all of the photographs are black and white.

I figured I’d share some of the photos I took while in Rochester. They are not as great as the black and whites but cool to look at, especially if you’ve never been to Rochester. My photos were all taken with my Android phone and from the interior of a car. I was not driving. My good friend, who I was visiting was driving us around Rochester, when I took all of these photos. It was a very cold weekend so we did not do a lot of walking.

Also, when I took all of the photographs, I did not know anything about the buildings at the time. I did a little research using the book and general “Google” searches to find out what I could about the buildings I saw. There are captions for each photograph with information about the location of the building and any history I could find. Hopefully the photographs make you want to visit Rochester sometime!