It’s the first week of the new year, and the entire city feels alive with possibility. After a fantastic 2015 with more new beer restaurants than even I expected, it’s fun to look ahead and imagine where we might be in another year’s time.
I should say at the outset that some of these are based on solid leads, some are educated guesses and others are wild speculation and/or wishful thinking.
So without further ado, here’s what I’d like to see materialize in 2016 in our fair city and surrounding area.
A new African restaurant
I don’t mean to start the year with terrible news, but I have some terrible news. One of my new favorite spots for lunch or a really flavorful, homemade dinner closed recently. Aboba’s African Cuisine served up shawarma and samosas that brought my taste buds halfway around the world and back. So obviously, now, I’m going to need someone else to open up an authentic African restaurant ASAP.
A new Michaels
I’m not saying this will be Michaels, necessarily, but isn’t it about time to see what’s coming next for that space? Up until New Year’s Eve 2014 a year ago, they were promising a new, “smaller, sleeker” restaurant in that space “sometime in 2016.” I suppose it’s not a great sign that we’re seven days in, and I’m already losing patience. C’mon, guys. Mama wants a ribeye.
The unfortunate closing of Sushi Nishiki earlier this year left a hole in the fledgling local sushi scene and, I think, an opportunity. Can sushi really be done well in middle America, hundreds of miles away from any coastline? If there’s someone out there with the resources and knowledge to make it happen, go for it. It might not seem like it, but there are plenty of sushi aficionados out there waiting for you.
More food trucks
I’m a big fan of more gastro-trucks in Rochester (and a proponent for inclusive rules and regulations). We have many street corners, even more lunch-eaters, and there’s more than enough market share to go around — especially for tiny gourmet restaurants on wheels that can bring their food to you. Here are my top five wished-for food trucks: A Cuban food truck, a Korean barbecue truck, a bacon truck, a Creole truck and a gelato truck. Yeah, you heard me.
Bigger food courts
Lunch-goers gotta lunch. I hear that Mango Thai is doing its part — the popular Thai restaurant recently opened up a lunch spot near Aamuse in the First Avenue Food court (skyway level between University Square and the Marriott). Craving for peanut sauce in the middle of the day? Solved.
It’s great to see such a diverse palette of flavors available in that small area. Keep ’em coming!
A new brewpub
Just kidding! But come to think of it, not really. Rochester’s appetite for local craft brews only continues to grow. The more the merrier!
How about you? What’s your dream for Rochester’s culinary scene in 2016? Drop me a note and let me know.