Legendary | Worth driving from anywhere
Nick Tahou Hots | Rochester Garbage Plate | Upstate New York
Review by: Michael Stern
Rochester’s Signature Dish
Founder Nick Tahou died in 1997 after more than fifty years running a well-respected hot dog joint. His culinary legacy remains the amazing dish known as a Rochester garbage plate.
How to Make a Garbage Plate
Every customer chooses the fundamental element of his or her garbage plate. Texas hot wieners, hamburgers (with or without cheese), Italian sausage, steak, even a grilled cheese sandwich each has its devotees. With that foundation come piles of baked beans and home-fried potatoes, a scoop of cool macaroni salad, a dollop of spicy chili sauce, a squirt or two of mustard, and a sprinkle of chopped raw onions. The mighty dish comes on a heavy cardboard plate with plastic fork and knife, a bottle of Ketchup, some hot sauce, and white bread with butter.
It is a wild, ridiculous, delicious mess! Amongst all the other ingredients, fine-grained, Greek-accented chili sauce steals the show. Sauce also graces such lesser variants of frankfurter cookery as Nick Tahou’s peppery pork hots and basic garlic-packed franks. It gives grilled hamburgers an extra kick, too.
Upstate New York is Hot Dog Country
Hot dog connoisseurs know upper New York State for its bounty of excellent frankfurters, such as those served at Don’s Original, also in Rochester. Nick Tahou’s wieners are exemplary, if not epicurean. The grill man splits and grills what are here known as Texas hots. On the grill, they develop a chewy exterior and vivid hash house flavor that boiled or even charcoal-grilled weenies do not offer.
Tahou’s Personality Prevails
As you’d guess from its menu, Nick Tahou does not offer linen tablecloths and dinner by candlelight. In this raffish dog house, chairs and tables are scattered about and the air fills with the noise of customers calling out for red hots and white hots with the works.
The Rochester garbage plate has earned Nick Tahou plenty of media attention and a fair share of culinary tourists. But to loyal locals, this restaurant’s personality goes far beyond outlandish eats and TV-show celebrity. Regular customers think of it as home and family. Alex Tahou, Nick’s son, has infused the place with a generous spirit. He feeds needy kids at Christmas and takes good care of neighbors and friends as well as newcomers all year around.
|Meals Served||Breakfast, Lunch, Late Night|
|Credit Cards Accepted||No|