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Eat, Drink & Explore: Summer Fun in Downtown Rochester

By: Toni Cunningham | August 6, 2014
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If you’ve been tuning in to “In the D” this summer, you’ve likely seen our Downtown Series. So far, we’ve shared with you where to dine and play in Milford and Wyandotte. Next on our list is Downtown Rochester!

Downtown Rochester is home to 350 plus shops, 85 percent of which are independently owned. What does that mean? It means that you’re supporting a local business when you’re eating out, appreciating art in a museum or making purchases at a boutique.

There’s plenty to explore in Downtown Rochester, but the following places are can’t miss locations:

Lunch and Dinner

Bangkok Cuisine, 727 N. Main St., Rochester, is known as the “best Thai cuisine in Michigan,” so if you are a Thai food fan, you’ll want to check this place off your list. The menu includes traditional dishes like Pineapple Chicken and Curry Salmon, as well as restaurant specialties including Pad Zucchini (in a brown sauce) and Bangkok Chicken (sautéed with sweet and sour sauce, topped with green onion).

Dan Good Pizza, 816 N. Main St., Rochester, is a gourmet pizza joint that offers gluten free and vegan options for those with dietary restrictions. Gourmet pies include Tropical (with pineapple, red onion, roasted peppers and tomatoes), Pesto Primavera (with pesto, pizza sauce, roasted peppers, marinated tomatoes, Portobello mushrooms, gorgonzola cheese and bleu cheese) and Buffalo Chicken.

Nothing goes better with pizza than Dan’s Cheddar & Bacon Breadsticks or Gluten Free Breadsticks.

Mamma Mia Tuscan Grille, 543 N. Main St., Rochester, is a family owned restaurant that serves up delicious and traditional Italian fare. The dinner menu includes Veal Scallopini, Chicken Oscar and Sea Scallops, but the pasta entrees are where Mamma Mia’s really shines. Try the Four Cheese Baked Lasagna, Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo or Spaghetti Pomodora, and you won’t be sorry.

Dessert

Sweet Island Yogurt, 402 S. Main St., Rochester, is a self-serve frozen yogurt shop, which in my opinion, is one of the greatest trends ever. Each day, you’ll find a dozen different frozen yogurt varieties awaiting you, as well as two custard options.

There are sugar and dairy free options, and you can top your yogurt or custard with 50 different items, should you choose to take that route. On any given day, you might find Coffee Espresso, Texas Peanut Butter, Blueberry Delight or Cake Batter yogurt ready to be topped with the items of your choice.

Holy Cannolis, 415 S. Main St., Rochester, is the place to go if you’re looking for a dessert and aren’t worried about the calorie content (lucky you). The cannoli here aren’t just the traditional cream filled ones—they come in a variety of cream filling flavors, including double chocolate, raspberry white chocolate and almond.

A meal without dessert is like a day without sunshine! Steer clear of such a dreadful scenario, and stop in while you’re in town.

Activities

Downtown Booksellers, 116 E. University Dr., Rochester, is where all of you fellow book nerds should head for some new literature! Well, actually, used and out of print books, but new books to you nonetheless! If you can’t find what you’re looking for in-store, the fine folks who work here will search far and wide to find whatever title you’re looking for.

Paint Creek Center for the Arts, 407 Pine St., Rochester, holds everything from exhibitions to art classes. Beginning on Friday, August 22, the Main Gallery Exhibition will be “Break With Tradition,” featuring artists Michael Nagara, Holiday Taylor Martindale, Jide Aje and Stacey Malasky. Check out the website for art class registration!

Catching Fireflies, 203 E. University Dr., Rochester, is a quirky gift shop full of fun and interesting items. You’ll find everything from handbags to home décor to stationery. Have you ever wanted a hand-carved hedgehog shaped stone to put in your garden? Of course you have. You’ll find it here!

Grab a Drink

Bean and Leaf Café, 439 S. Main St., Rochester, is an independently owned business that serves tea and coffee. Many of the latter are Fair Trade Organic Blends, including Nicaragua, Ethiopia Harrar and Brazil. Teas include Organic Green with Ginko & Citrus, Cinnamon Spice, Passion Fruit and Premium Pomegranate Oolong.

Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters, 336 S. Main St., Rochester, is another place where you can get your cuppa Joe fix. This place is Rochester’s only coffee roaster, so if you’re a caffeine addict, you’ll want to check it out. Drinks include handcrafted coffees, flavored lattes, signature hot chocolate and more.

Rochester Mills Beer Co., 400 Water St., Rochester, is a brewery that has four different beers on tap year round, including Milkshake Stout, Rochester Red, Cornerstone IPA and Lazy Daze Amber Lager. It would be a shame to visit Downtown Rochester and not pop in to see what seasonal varieties they have on tap.

If you’re planning a trip to Downtown Rochester, plan it for this weekend! Rockin’ Rods, a car show that serves as a warm-up to the Woodward Dream Cruise, will take place on Sunday, August 10. A farmers market is held every Saturday morning at 8 a.m., so you can plan your visit around that as well.

Enjoy your time in Downtown Rochester, and keep an eye out for our next entry in the Downtown Series!

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