When Nord Brue and Mike Dressell began perfecting their bagel recipe with the help of a professional NYC bagel maker in 1983, the bagel was still an anomaly in the food world—it was geographically and culturally still isolated in New York City. Fueled by a desire to change that, the duo opened up the first Bruegger's deli with the hope of eventually introducing the rest of the country to the bagel. Brue and Dressell have since realized their dream, sharing their distinctive recipes and culinary traditions at 300 locations spread across 26 states. To this day, they oven-bake their centerless bread rolls every morning and afternoon, populating counter displays that also brim with daily made breads, Vermont cream cheese, and custom-roasted coffee.
Executive Chef Phillip Smith and his network of chefs still use the original five-ingredient recipe for their dough, which they shape into more than 20 bagel varieties. Because they draw from each region's local recipes and from dialogue and Pictionary games with local consumers, certain menu items may vary from store to store across the country. The bagels are often served with Bruegger's eclectic cream cheeses such as bacon scallion or pumpkin, or as sandwiches with meats, cheeses, and veggies often sourced from local or organic produce. Coffe gets just as much attention, with house blends of 100% arabica coffee.
Just behind its deceptively quaint, sleepy front-porch facade, The Landing Bar and Grille crackles with the kinetic energy of live bands, games of pool, a vast menu of pub-style grub, and a nightly happy hour. At the tchotchke-lined bar, domestic bottles wash down giant wings, which diners customize with one of five sauces. For a hunger-decimating half-pound of Black Angus, nine different burgers step up to the plate, including one with a peppercorn bourbon glaze and one that's confident enough to show up to tables accompanied by nothing but lettuce and tomato. The kitchen also prepares a dozen kinds of specialty sandwiches, as well as a handful of wraps lined with veggies, tuna, or grilled chicken breast.
Debbie and Pat Bush expect their customers to come hungry. The owners of Webster Hots oversee a menu that includes giant plates of cheeseburgers and hot dogs placed on top of a heaping pile of sides. If that's not enough, diners can chow on trash plates, and cap off meal with scoops of ice cream—which comes in 20 flavors—or fried apple or cherry pie.
While they eat, diners can watch sports on four flat-screen TVs or surf the Internet using the restaurant's free WiFi. Afterward, they can stop off at the claw machine and try to win a stuffed animal and the ultimate prize, the respect of complete strangers.
Located inside the Hilton Garden Inn Rochester/Pittsford, The Garden Grille & Bar sates the appetites of travelers and locals alike. The newly renovated restaurant's kitchen is open from morning to night, serving fish 'n' chips, new york strip steaks, and burgers such as the stripped-down Mobley burger, which consists of nothing more than a bun, a char-broiled patty, and a slice of cheese. Eaters who want to indulge can order one of the bar's several cocktails or ask for a piece of the pecan- and caramel-covered brownie.
When the Agostinelli family outgrew Nonna's Casa de Pasta, they embarked on a new endeavor: Roma's Caf?. The family still dishes out homestyle Italian food, but it's now served in a much more spacious location. Their most popular dishes include chicken parmesan, fried ravioli, and homemade gnocchi?not to mention the locally famous fried bologna. At breakfast time, the chefs veer towards diner-style favorites, such as frittatas, french toast, oatmeal, and grits.
Located inside The Brookwood Inn, LaRosa's Italian Kitchen + Bar serves classic Italian dishes made from fresh local and regional ingredients. Executive chef Dan Ambron quiets hunger pangs with samplers of cured Italian meats, plates of fresh seafood, and bountiful forkfuls of pasta. Elegant flower arrangements adorn white linen-topped tables as guests sip selections from the eatery's wine list and bite into flower petals in order to test their authenticity.