You guys, I almost wrote about restaurant patios last week. When we were still buried under at least 6 inches of snow. And the patios that had opened had closed again, and we all wondered if we would survive the dreaded return of Old Man Winter.
So I spared you that particular cruelty.
But now, it’s April, and even if we’re not ready to spend our entire waking hours outdoors quite yet, we can at least hope for it again. So I’m here with the patio rundown in Rochester, including all my favorite spots to go grab some grub and sunshine when it gets warm enough.
One of my favorite outdoor spots in town is ZZest Café and Bar, which has a lovely roof-covered patio, nice trees and foliage and even a river running by one side. Even better — the start of patio season means they start firing up their wood-fired pizza oven on specific evenings for dinner. They started spring patio cleanup a couple weeks back when we were having that early warming trend, so they’re getting there. I’ll update you when they set their first outdoor pizza night.
If you’ve enjoyed The Tap House’s outdoor space in past years, get ready for more where that came from — they’re building a brand new steel patio this spring, with hopes to be open around mid-May. The Tap House is nearly always busting at the seams, so it’ll be great to have more space to spread out on warm spring and summer evenings, most of those featuring live music. In the meantime, their existing patio is open — just not very many patrons are using it yet.
It’s the same story at Whistle Binkies on the Lake, where they have a large patio out by the water. Their tables are set up, and patrons are welcome to sit out there, but besides the fluke 70-degree readings in early March, not many have ventured outdoors yet.
Chester’s also has their patio seating set up and ready to go on Peace Plaza for when the weather cooperates. When I called Chester’s Kitchen & Bar neighbor and fellow-plaza-patio eatery Mac’s Café and Restaurant, they thanked me for the reminder and said they were going to try to get set up soon.
A few places jumped on the early spring warm-up a couple weeks back and opened their fabulous patio spaces, including Twigs Taverne and Grille and Kathy’s Pub Rooftop Patio. Ten inches of snow tends to put a damper on that enthusiasm, but both are hoping to get their spaces back up and running this week or next — so long as the weather cooperates.
Where’s your favorite spot to dine alfresco in Rochester? Shoot me your tips, and I’ll find out if they’re open yet or not before I try them out.
You say brewpub…
So, let’s talk about last week’s column.
Turns out, there’s a difference between a brewpub (generally accepted definition: restaurant that serves food, as well as beer they brew onsite) and a brewery (definition: brews beer to be distributed, and some of these also will have taprooms serving beer on site). I thought they were one in the same, so I got confused. My apologies to craft brewers, brewpubs, ale houses and breweries everywhere.
So, to clear things up: Kinney Creek Brewery is indeed the first production brewery since prohibition, nearly 100 years ago. Grand Rounds Brewpub will be Rochester’s first local brewpub to open in nearly 20 years, since Clubhaus closed their doors in the ’90s.
The Answer Man had more details in his column earlier this week, too. But hey, whatever the case: Beer is good. Let’s resolve our differences over a pint. Cheers!