Every pocket in America seems to have a unique culinary creation that the locals love and tourists come from all over to sample. In Cincinnati, it’s the Goetta sausage (my favorite sausage in existence). In Nebraska, it’s The Runza which is essentially a meat pie calzone which can be traced to Russia. Philly has its cheesesteaks, Maryland has blue crabs. You get the point.
In Rochester, New York, an unassuming city located between I-90 and Lake Ontario, they claim the infamous Garbage Plate as their local delicacy. You can find a Garbage Plate on menus throughout other parts of upstate New York, and you might get lucky enough to find it elsewhere on a menu if the restaurant owner happens to be from Rochester. However, this is a dish unique to Rochester because it was created at a restaurant by the name of Nick Tahou Hots and they’ve been perfecting the family recipe for three generations.
Great Big Story went to Nick Tahou Hots to learn the history of the Garbage Plate from Alex Tahou, the third generation owner of the restaurant:
Billed as ‘a Rochester tradition since 1918’, Nick Tahou Hots is the Gold Standard when it comes to the Garbage Plate. It includes ‘an impossible choice of french fries, home fries, macaroni salad or beans. Next comes the meat, hotdogs, hamburgers or cheeseburgers. And finally, the whole shebang is topped off with mustard, onions, ketchup and hot sauce.’ You can actually go to the restaurant’s website and order these remotely via fax form if you’re interested, but I’m not sure this is a dish you want to have delivered/shipped. This is definitely something that needs to be eaten fresh and hot.