On a recent trip out West, a guy asked where I was from. After divulging that I was from Rochester, he immediately shouted out, "Wegmans! Kodak! Lou Gramm from Foreigner!" Lou Gramm is Rochester's favorite son, so it is only fitting that his own son, Nicolas Grammatico, recently opened a restaurant in Corn Hill Landing called Black Sheep (280 Exchange Boulevard), an homage to his father's first band before Foreigner came calling. Black Sheep, the band, got its name because the members refused to play cover songs and would only play their own material at clubs in Rochester, much to the club owners' dismay — so they referred to themselves as the black sheep.
This is not Grammatico's first dalliance in the restaurant game: He was the owner of Piranha, a sushi bar on Park Avenue. For Black Sheep, Grammatico wanted to go in a different direction, swapping sushi for French and American cuisine and craft cocktails. Along with sous chef Joe Kannel, Grammatico has created a menu that focuses on high-quality, homemade ingredients. "Everything is made in-house, right down to the condiments," Grammatico says.
The Black Sheep Burger ($17) is made with a mixture of chuck, brisket, and sirloin that is ground in-house, topped with local cheddar, roasted garlic aioli, and house-made pickles. The menu will change about every three months to keep the offerings seasonal and fresh. A few items, like the Bouillabaisse (market price), will always be on the menu, but the ingredients will change based on what is fresh and available.
Grammatico hired mixologist, Paul Milne, to create a cocktail menu that includes classics, like the Tom Collins and Side Car, and also come up with unique cocktails — like the Hibiscus of Life ($13), which is comprised of Gran Centenario Roseangel tequila, figenza (fig-flavored vodka), lime, lychee puree, sage, frankincense oil, and finished with hibiscus tea smoke.
Black Sheep features live jazz every Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and every Sunday there are specials for service industry workers and University of Rochester students. And yes, Lou Gramm will be making a few appearances at Black Sheep — check its website for updates.
Black Sheep is located at 280 Exchange Boulevard in Corn Hill Landing. It is open for lunch on Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and dinner Tuesday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dinner is served on Friday and Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. A rotating small plate menu is available on Sundays. For more information call 434-4734 or visit rocblacksheep.com.
Knucklehead Craft Brewing (426 Ridge Road, Webster) will celebrate its one year anniversary on Saturday, December 19, from 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. The brewery will release an Oak Bourbon Aged Russian Imperial Stout for the first time. The kitchen will be open, and live music will be provided by Marty Roberts.
For those that want to nail down those New Year's Eve plans early, there are plenty of options. The Old Toad (277 Alexander Street) will host a New Year's Eve Beer Dinner that includes a three course meal and beer pairings. Reservations are required ($60 with beer pairing, $50 without) and will be available from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Contact The Old Toad at 232-2626. Paddington's Pub and Plate (3208 Latta Road) will host a New Year's Eve Dinner and Countdown Party. Guests can choose from a special fixed price menu or choose from their regular menu. Book your reservation by calling 227-8658. The Tap and Mallet (381 Gregory Street) will host a New Year's Eve Beer Tasting and Soiree starting at 9 p.m. featuring tastings from some of their favorite selections and music from the Fox Sisters. Tickets for the beer tasting are $15 and can be purchased at the Tap and Mallet.
McAlister's Deli has opened at 3020 Winton Road. The "fast, casual chain" plans to open five additional locations in the Rochester area.
Warfield's Bistro has opened at 207 High Point Drive across from Eastview Mall.
Itacate has closed its North Chili location inside the Arrow Mart (4179 Buffalo Road). The Penfield location (1859 Penfield Road) is still open.
The Little Bleu Cheese Shop (684 South Avenue) will be closing its doors at the end of the year to focus more on its catering and events business. Those interested in ordering artisan cheese displays can continue to contact the shop at 730-8296.
Chow Hound is a food and restaurant news column. Do you have a tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.