Rochester NY, a city I had only known due to its supposed high rates of crime, has introduced me to a game changer, the "Garbage Plate." Despite the name not sounding too appealing, a traditional, Rochester founded Garbage Plate is a meal that consists of a type of meat including but not limited to: cheeseburgers, burgers, poultry, or pork. Below this meat is a layered combination of fries, beans, and macaroni salad. This is then usually topped with a genre of hot sauce. Although it may sound unappealing, it is a classic in much of New York, not just Rochester.
I was first introduced to this peculiar food item while visiting my friend from Rochester. He took us to get Garbage Plates for dinner. Although I don't consume meat, many restaurants have vegetarian Garbage Plates and an array of special kinds of such plates due to food allergies, etc. Although the name both sounds and looks indeed like garbage, the smell and taste are surprisingly appetizing.
This meal isn't anything new, though. This "delicacy" has been around for 100 years and doesn't appear like it's going away anytime soon. In fact, Garbage Plates were an accessible meal to the poor during the Great Depression due to its low cost. The first restaurant to have Garbage Plates was founded by Alexander Tahou. His son Nick took over, and created the notorious "Garbage Plate." According to history, the plate was founded because college students approached Nick one night and asked for a meal with "All the garbage on it." If this is true, it debunks the myth that Garbage Plates were named such due to the fact that they look like garbage, but it's still applicable.
In states such as New York, pizza seems to be the big emphasis. Although, Garbage Plates have been around for 100 years, fed people during the Great Depression, and have an interesting name. We should stop sleeping on Garbage Plates and make them more well known.
The next time you're in Rochester, or really anywhere in western NY, try a Garbage Plate out. It might not be "aesthetically" pleasing (which seems to be the main goal of food in 2019) but it tastes great, is a tradition, and cost-effective (in the rare chance you indeed don't like it).