The Ten Restaurants/Bars Rochester Misses Most
Ask a simple question, get about 400 (and growing) answers. What Rochester restaurant do you miss? That's the question. And we were flooded with restaurants as long gone as the 1950's! Let's run down the top ten...
Opened in March 1968, Shakey's Pizza is easily the Number One most missed restaurant. Buffet for adults, pizzas for the kids. Tho later he would be Rochester's Mayor, at the time, Chuck Canfield opened Shakey's after being a regional manager for General Motors.
Opened in 1947, Benny's was huge for people born and raised in Rochester 'til 1978. When it closed down, people were left only with the memories of the car hops, mexi-burgers, root beer, but no fries. Chips only. Andy Brownell, from KROC-AM news, says there used to be dances in the parking lot with the bands right on the pavement, or even on the roof!
This is the kind of bar/restaurant that makes me feel bad for the people that moved to Rochester after it was shut down in the early 2000's. My faves were the buffalo wings, the parties (oh, the parties...especially the Spook N' Moose Halloween Party!), the deck, and the employees. Seriously, one of the greatest teams ever assembled. For a quick trip back in time, here's a link to their menu, archived on a university server!
Tinklers Restaurant was in the old Olmsted County Bank and Trust building. I have a feeling the memories created there are similar to the ones at the Moose, but a few years before. Most recently it was McGoon's Pub and Restaurant and Goonie's Comedy club. BUt from 1978 - 1989. It reopened, but was called Waters Bar and Grill and closed the same year.
So many people had work parties at The Aviary! People loved the blackened chicken. The building is still there (now part of the Tom Kadlec Empire, the outside looking a lot like it always has, but the inside no longer has the toucans, etc. It opened in 1985 and finally blackened its last catfish in late 2004, early 2005.
Another pizza joint enters the list at #5...and for my money, this is the pizza place I miss. According to the survey, "Waldo's had that big bi-plane, and the old-time gas pump...just a fun place." "Waldo's pizza was so fresh! It was like home-made, but I didn't have to make it!" I used to eat a LOT of Waldo's when I worked at JCPenney. FYI: Northbrook Shopping Center is in quotes because now it's called River Center Plaza.
Bridgeman's had food, but why bother with food when you could just get the ice cream instead? My favorite location was the one at "Northbrook" (now River Center Plaza). Now Fiesta, people would go to movies at Cinema 3 (part of the same shopping center), and then walk up and have some ice cream (if they weren't too full from popcorn). You can still buy Bridgeman's Ice Cream in town (Hy-Vee and Charlie's Pub and Eatery), but by the giant pail. No dipping cabinets. No lunch counter. And according to Annie, "I loved sitting up at the lunch counter with my dad. I felt so adult!"
The Original Wong's closed in 2005 after 53 years on the corner of Broadway and 3rd Street. If you miss the downtown location, the new location, on 18th Avenue in the Cedarwood Plaza, is owned by the head chef of the original Wong's. Sontes Tapas took over the space for 8 years, and now Grand Rounds is in there.
For the 9th most missed restaurants/bars in Rochester, people didn't have much to say about the food at Edwardo's (except, "good Italian!") or about Ed's Attic ("I loved the look, like someone's attic...or a garage sale."). They were both in the same location, Edwardo's until 1993 when it turned into Ed's Attic. What people talked about were the happy hours and the dancing. And how there were two floors of fun!
A while back I found a 1963 Rochester Visitor Guide. In it was a full-page ad for The Hollywood. Now it is Kathy's Pub, but from maybe the 30's, definitely the 40's, it was an amazing bar with "all girls behind the bar!" and, from the look of the ad, "dancing girls". It was also known for live music, but maybe that came after the two shows, plus a matinee on Saturday with the sassy dancers.