Opened by a bootlegger in 1929, The Stork Club in Manhattan was a nightclub that you or I could probably never get into. The club's clientele included the rich, the famous, and the fabulous and they all hung out together in the "Cub Room" — the club's lounge for the VIPs of the VIPs. Rochester's The Cub Room (739 South Clinton Avenue) is owners Jodi and Greg Johnson's homage to New York City and that time in history — think Bogart and Bacall sipping on dry martinis in a corner booth.
Jodi grew up in Rochester and met her husband, Greg, while both were living in New York City and working at the same restaurant — she was a bartender and he was a line cook. Greg, The Cub Room's executive chef, attended culinary school in New York and the couple eventually opened up their own restaurant, Rye House, which they still co-own. Once the Johnsons started a family they decided to move back to Rochester to be closer to family and out of the "rat race" of NYC. Their goal was to open a place of their own, and less than two years later, The Cub Room opened.
The old warehouse on South Clinton that is now called The Edge of the Wedge was the perfect location, reminiscent of New York City, which is still near and dear to the Johnson's hearts. The menu is seasonal with a focus on finding the best ingredients, even if they have to overnight them from all over the country. The Grilled Kurobuto Pork Chop ($27) comes from North Carolina and is served with grilled apricot, mustard greens, date puree, and Vincotto. Sometimes you don't have to look farther than next door to get a great product, as is the case with The Cub Room and McCann's Local Meats. McCann's provides the meat for the Cubby Burger ($12) and the bacon for McCann's Bacon BLT ($12), which includes fried green tomatoes, lettuce, and mayo.
The Cub Room has an extensive cocktail list, in addition to 60 different types of whiskey and a selection of American wine. The restaurant serves lunch, dinner, and now brunch on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Look for outdoor, sidewalk seating in the coming weeks.
The Cub Room is located at 739 South Clinton Avenue. It is open Monday through Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 12 a.m.; and Saturday, 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. 363-5694. Visit thecubroomroc.com for more information.
Kevin McCann says he fell in love with meat while attending the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and never looked back. Kevin and his wife, Yeonmo, also a graduate of CIA, opened McCann's Local Meats in the Edge of the Wedge building and have been spreading that love to their customers. McCann's sells custom cut meats and prepared foods. After you pick out the cut you like, you can either take it home with you or have it prepared there with one of their sides to create your own meal.
McCann makes his own sausage and deli meats and even gets his customers to try things they've never thought they would like, like beef heart, prepared in corned beef brine and smoked for eight hours. Yeonmo is Korean and has brought that culinary influence to the menu with items like Korean-style short ribs and Bulgogi (marinated, shaved steak).
The meat from McCann's is all sourced from farms within 60 to 80 miles from Rochester, like Seven Bridges Farm in Lima and Schrader Family Farms in Romulus. "We have windows in our walk-in — it's all about transparency," McCann says. "We want the customer to know what we are doing with the meat, how we are doing it, and to provoke conversation about where the meat came from." Produce comes from the Good Food Collective, "if it's seasonal and available, we have it," McCann says.
McCann's Local Meats is located at 739 South Clinton Avenue, and is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 328-6328 (spells EAT MEAT). Visit mccannslocalmeats.com for more information.
Hopsfest will take place Saturday, July 18, and Sunday, July 19, at Nedloh Brewing Co. (6621 State Route 5 & 20) in Bloomfield. The event features craft beer from more than 20 New York State breweries, local food trucks, and live music all weekend. Tickets are $40 per day or $70 for a weekend pass. $10 tickets are available for designated drivers. More information can be found at nedlohbrewing.com/hopsfest.
Taking place on "National Milk Chocolate Day" (yes, that is a thing), Varick Winery & Vineyard (5102 State Route 89) will host a Chocoholic's Celebration from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 18. $4 will get you samples of six wines and complimentary milk chocolate treats. More information can be found at varickwinery.com.
The Empanada Shop has opened at 642 Monroe Avenue. Only in Rochester will you find a "Garbage Empanada" on the menu and think that you definitely need to try it.
East End Pizza & Deli (113 East Avenue) has opened in the space formerly occupied by Stromboli Express.
Jasmine's Asian Fusion (657 Ridge Road) in Webster has closed.
Chow Hound is a food and restaurant news column. Do you have a tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.