WE ASKED TEAM BTT AND SEVERAL FOLKS WHO KNOW THE INDUSTRY TO TELL US THEIR LOCAL FOOD & DRINK HOPES FOR 2016.
CONSIDER IT A WISH LIST OF SORTS.
“I hope our local food industry will find ways to include those who are not in a financial and/or social position to enjoy all the Rochester food scene has to offer. Teaming up with local organizations like FoodLink (and the) Cooking Matters program there, Rochester Roots and others to bring complete meals - not just produce and meats - to families who otherwise would not have the opportunity to experience that.” -- Elise Miklich, Team BTT
“In 2016, I look forward to seeing Rochester's thriving culinary industry showcased on the larger stage. With the amazing individuals I work with as a shining inspiration, I hope to see our food scene attract both the recognition it deserves as well as the commerce and opportunities that come with it. Also, I hope the impending onslaught of leap year-related food posts doesn't get played out before February 29 actually arrives...” -- Chuck Cerankosky, Team BTT
“In the next year, I hope to see more people get involved in the local food movement and become more aware of how the system works.” -- Mike Martinez, Team BTT
"My hope is that farm-direct access to food (like farmers markets and CSAs) continues to gain a greater market share of food sales in 2016. We are living in one of the most vibrant agricultural regions in the country and I would love to see more people taking advantage of the ability to buy local, ethical, healthy meat and produce directly from the women and men who grow it. It's not just about the food, it's about knowing the names and faces of the people feeding us." -- Eric Houppert, Team BTT
“I hope to see the Rochester and Finger Lakes region increase as not only a hub, but also a destination for food, wine, beer, and craft cocktail lovers. When I travel to a new city, I put a lot of research into the food and drink scene so I can experience that culture while I’m there. I want to hear about people planning “foodcations” to this area. I’d also love to see more of our restaurants nominated for James Beard Awards, and or even awarded a Michelin star. Also, we NEED MORE DONUTS.” -- Leah Stacy, Team BTT
“I hope that somebody finances my street meat food cart, “Wayner's Wieners.” -- Pete Wayner, Team BTT
“My greatest hope is that people (who) have specific passions can bring concepts to fruition. 2015 brought focused and exciting places like McCann's, Swillburger and Tsingtao House. What I am always looking for is somewhere that just had no choice but to do what they are doing because it called to them and that they care about every detail. This brings Rochester more unique options that add to the conversation surrounding food, whether it is about local sourcing or cultural history. Those type of establishments give me hope that we are making strides forward and we will have plenty to talk about in the new year.” -- Chris Lindstrom, owner/blogger at Food About Town, contributor to City Newspaper
“Bread and butter bar. I heard it mentioned as a future trend on an America's Test Kitchen podcast. I can't stop thinking about how much I love the idea of spending a night drinking wine and eating the best bread and butter combos. There's nothing better than creamy butter paired with warm, crusty bread.” -- Breanna Banford, Community Manager for Yelp Rochester
“I am well aware that good help is hard to find. More so in a town like Rochester than larger cities (although Pittsburgh, Austin and Cleveland seem to be doing just fine). I hope we see an elevated passion from more restaurant/bar service workers. Servers who know the menu inside and out and don't disappear at the end of the meal. Bartenders who have a good scan and let you know they are aware you require replenishment. It's on the restaurant owners, too. I hope we see more "right-sized staffing.” Visit The Revelry, Good Luck or TRATA to feel the vibe that the proper mix of staff bring to an experience. Yup, even on a Wednesday night.” -- Vince Press, contributor for Rochester Magazine and the Democrat and Chronicle
“I hope to see restaurants utilize simpler plating techniques and put more focus on a few great quality ingredients composed well. I'd like to see more restaurants open downtown and repurpose buildings in neighborhoods like Atlas Eats and Revelry did. You can still take a complicated recipe, but make it more approachable. And put your own spin on it to make it stand out. I would also love to see the Rochester region distinguished as an internationally recognized food- and drink-centric destination. We have top-quality farmers, purveyors and wineries. We have waterfront views and arts and cultural events that draw crowds. And most importantly, a large population that loves to dine out. Now is our time.” -- Amanda Antinore, freelance food writer/restaurant critic
“I hope the closing of the Little Bleu Cheese Shop will help people realize we can't take small, independent businesses for granted. We need to be proactive in telling friends, family, and neighbors about the cool local businesses around us. Businesses close for many reasons, but seldom because they have too much business. How many local bakeries, restaurants, gift shops, wineries, art galleries, and breweries have you visited lately? It is precisely these businesses that give us our sense of place. Without them we become "everywhere and anywhere," a place where big box stores and chains provide cookie cutter experiences that dull our senses. My visits to independent businesses invigorate and inspire me all year long!” -- Michael Warren Thomas, contributor to NY Wine Spotting and host of local radio show Savor Life
“I’d love to see more restaurants turn their creativity and excitement for cooking meats to cooking vegetables. I can find a colossal burger topped with bacon and a fried egg almost anywhere, but innovative, crave-worthy veg options are almost always sequestered in vegetarian or vegan-restaurants. This doesn’t have to be the case. At Marty’s on Park, Marty O’Sullivan turns out vegetables that are as swoon-worthy as his pastrami. Depending on the season, he’ll serve lightly-charred asparagus dusted with parmesan; earthy yet sweet beets that stain your tongue, or maple glazed-Brussels sprouts studded with hunks of bacon. I don’t imagine Rochester will get its own version of Dirt Candy, the vegetable-focused NYC restaurant so popular it turned Leonardo DiCaprio away for not having a reservation. But I know we could up our game and let vegetables shine, deliciously, at the center of the plate.” -- Laura Rebecca Kenyon is a contributing food writer at City Newspaper and a 2015 Association of Food Journalists Award Winner
(ICYMI: HERE ARE OUR PREDICTIONS FOR THIS YEAR.)
HAVE YOUR OWN wish list for this year? COMMENT BELOW!