The East and Alexander area has typically been more of nighttime destination than a place to stop for coffee or to grab a quick lunch during the workweek. But the recent opening of Pop Roc, a cereal and coffee bar on East Avenue, and the soon-to-be-open Locals Only (311 Alexander Street) will hopefully breathe new life to the area before the sun goes down.
General Manager Sapphire Courchaine, Head Chef Adam Pastecki, and Bar Manager Keanan O'Brien have been working for the past year to create an all-in-one stop for those that live and work in the area. Locals Only will house a coffee and juice bar, full kitchen, and cocktail bar and offer patrons the opportunity to grab-and-go or sit down and eat. "It's going to be a quick service concept," says Pastecki, "there's a lot of foot traffic in this neighborhood and for people that don't want to sit and hang out they can just grab something and get out of here."
The emphasis, as the name of the business clearly states, is to celebrate all things local. "Local farmers, local distilleries, local roasters, we're trying to get all that good energy from New York together," Courchaine says.
The business is backed by owners Louie Maier and Gaetano Abbate, who have pretty much given their management team free rein of the concept and execution, as long as they create a beautiful space. The design is modern and minimalist, and they have worked with the UUU Art Collective to commission a mural by local artist Muhammad Zaman.
Courchaine has worked the coffee scene in Rochester for several years with stints at Joe Bean and Boxcar, and says her goal is to give the customer a unique coffee experience. "I want it to be more culinary-inspired, different syrups and flavors and sauces," she says. They'll source their beans from multiple roasters from New York State and rotate on a monthly basis, opening with New York City-based roaster City of Saints.
The food program headed by Pastecki will feature breakfast, lunch, brunch, and a small plate dinner service. Counter service will be available Monday through Friday, with table service available on Friday and Saturday evenings. While their menu is still in development, Pastecki's core concept is keeping the ingredients seasonal with many vegan and vegetarian options available. For brunch, look for a chicken and waffle special, along with steak and eggs. The bar has 12 taps, and not just for beer -- they'll offer a few cocktails on tap as well.
Locals Only (311 Alexander Street) is slated to open in June. They will be open Monday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to midnight; and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Find them at localsonly311.com or on Facebook.
The Cub Room (739 South Clinton Avenue) and Iron Smoke Distillery have teamed up to host 80s Whiskey Brunch on Sunday, June 3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Cub Room. Music from the era of Aqua Net and tasty guitar licks will be performed by Tommy Brunett & The Whiskey Soaked Scoundrels. Eighties attire encouraged, but not required. Call 363-5694 to make a reservation.
The Rochester Historical Society will host its second History Happy Hour lecture series at Nox: Craft Cocktails & Comfort Food (302 North Goodman Street, Village Gate) on Friday, June 8, from 6 to 9 p.m. Members of the Rochester Historical Society will be talking about The Erie Canal and the Making of Rochester. There is no cover charge and there will be food and drink specials all night long with all proceeds going to the Rochester Historical Society. 471-8803.
Casa Larga (2287 Turk Hill Road) will host a Farmer's Market Quick Pickles class on Sunday, June 10, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Maggie Klee, owner of Real Delicious Kitchen, will teach participants new knife skills and how to make your own quick pickles. All supplies are provided and you'll leave with two jars of pickles and a recipe packet. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at casalarga.com.
Rohrbach Buffalo Road Brewpub (3895 Buffalo Road) will host a Take Me Out to the Ball Game-themed food and beer pairing dinner on Tuesday, June 12, from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $45 and include a guided tour of the brewery and a five-course dinner. All reservations must be made by June 5 and entrée choice is made at the time of reservation. Visit rohrbachs.com/events or call 594-9800 to book your reservation.
The Beer Hall Grill & Taps has replaced Stoneyard American Beer Hall & Grill at 1517 Empire Boulevard.
Mario's will be reopening in the former Bazil Restaurant at 1384 Empire Boulevard. Named Mario's Homemade Pasta Kitchen, the restaurant's new focus includes fresh, handmade pasta and is slated to open in June. Look for updates at mariospasta.com.
Orbs Restaurant and Bar (758 South Avenue) has closed. The Old Stone Tavern will be moving into the space at an undisclosed date.
Chow Hound is a food and restaurant news column. Do you have a tip? Send it to email@example.com.