San Francisco, CA
Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I was born in Rochester, and lived most of my life in Gates. Just down the street from Tahou’s. I now live in San Francisco.
Why’d you move away from Rochester?
Ever since I was a wee lad, I’ve always been into skateboarding, BMX, and Rocket Power. All three of those things are very California-centric. Not to mention, the ocean, weather, and scenery. So, it has always kinda been a dream for me..
What do you miss the most about Rochester?
Garbage Plates. There’s great food out here in SF, but nothing fills the void of drunk food/hangover aid/depression cure like the almighty garbage plate. Gimme a cheeseburg plate, mac, home fries, onions, extra sauce, and life is good.
Do you have any favorite/secret Rochester spots?
My favorite “secret/getaway spot” in Rochester is Beattie Beach. It’s a tiny little beach that no one really goes to, even on hot summer days. You could drive by it without really noticing it, unless you know about it. There’s a sandbar about 30 feet off shore, perfect for wading and drinking beers.
What was your favorite time of day to hang out in the city?
I tend to like the nightlife of Rochester best. That’s when people watching is at its finest. Drunk slobs, people avoiding the drunk slobs, accordion man, the burger cart crowd at Monroe and Goodman, it’s a good time.
What was your favorite day of the week?
Friday. I mean, they didn’t come up with TGIF for no reason. Wednesday has gotten overblown with all this camels and “hump day” nonsense. Thirsty Thursday is nice, but Friday reigns supreme. There’s even a restaurant chain named after it because they want to be synonymous with a joyous, all-around great time. Going out in the city wasn’t even a question on Fridays. There’s just so much to do!
Describe your dream Rochester day.
I’d have to say it’d start with steak and eggs from The Frog Pond. Then, bicycling/skateboarding around the Park Ave/Goodman area. A hearty German lunch and beers at the Swan Market. Then, head down to the beach with some friends. Once we’ve gotten all the sand off, we’d get dinner at Tap and Mallet. Maybe hit some of the local breweries, then end the night getting rounded at The Old Toad.
Do you have a favorite neighborhood?
I like Park Ave. It’s a nice mix of city life without too much of the hustle and bustle. There’s restaurants, bars, parks, shops, and some really great architecture.
Favorite hungover eating spot?
Anywhere with the Garbage Plate, but preferably Steve Tahou’s. If ever there was a personification of God reaching down to man, and saying, “You know what buddy, everything’s goning to be alright. I’m sure none of your friends are pissed that you threw a ping pong paddle at them, or talked endless trash the whole night,” it’s the Garbage Plate.
I’m a huge fan of The Old Toad. It’s a Rochester treasure that goes hugely underrated. Everything from the great beer whiskey and beer selection, free darts, relaxed vibe, and that room with the fireplace and couches...What’s not to love?!
What’s your personal coping mechanism for cold/gray weather?
On those down and out days, my friends and I would find comfort in the shape of a fishbowl filled with frozen margarita, salt, lime, and an upside down Corona bottle. Yes, the Margarona.
What’s your favorite Rochester memory?
I don’t know if it’s my favorite, but it definitely stands out the most, was the night me and my buddies just wandered around the city aimlessly until about 4AM. We weren’t drinking (as most would assume), we just had nothing better to do. But, it turned out to be a great time and I was able to see a lot of areas I never would have. Plus, the night was capped with Pat Lee getting beaned in the face by Pat Lobene from about 30 yards with a…hmmm…how do I put this delicately...Adult toy shaped after a part of the human male anatomy.
If Rochester were an animal, what would it be?
Well, obviously a Tiger, right? I mean it’s all about RIT in this town. Forget the Cardinals at Fisher, or the Yellow Jackets at U of R, Rochester’s a Tiger.
John Ellis and I met when we were about 5 or 6, on a small yellow bus. He was sitting with the cool kids in the back of the bus, and I was in the front, nose permanently stuck in a book. We grew up parallel to each other, but never really crossed paths until after high school, when our shared love for adventures brought us together. I've spent six awesome years with this fellow, and he is proof that no amount of distance can extinguish one's love for a garbage plate. Thanks, Johnny!