43°09′13″N 77°37′16″W / 43.1537°N 77.6212°W / 43.1537; -77.6212

Nick Tahou Hots
Restaurant information
Established1918; 106 years ago (1918)
StateNew York

Nick Tahou Hots is a restaurant in Rochester, New York, best known for a dish called the Garbage Plate.[1] The restaurant was founded in 1918 by Alex Tahou, the grandfather of the 21st-century owner (also named Alex Tahou), and named for Nick Tahou, the founder's son, who operated the establishment until his death in 1997. While there are other Upstate New York variants, Nick Tahou's is the originator of the trademarked Garbage Plate.[2]

Garbage Plate

An authentic Garbage Plate from Nick Tahou Hots

Nick Tahou Hots's best known dish is the Garbage Plate, which consists of a selection of home fries, macaroni salad, baked beans and French fries topped with meats of the customer's choice. The dish can be garnished with mustard, chopped onions, ketchup[2] and the venue's signature hot sauce, and is served with bread and butter.[3] The Garbage Plate is typically mixed together by the diner before being eaten.[4]

Tahou first created the dish as two hamburger patties with a selection of side dishes.[2] The dish has spawned several imitators with similar names in the Greater Rochester area, including Fairport Hots' "The Hot Plate",[5] Tom Wahl's "55 Junker Plate"[6] and Mark's Texas Hots' "Sloppy Plate".[7]



A charitable Garbage Plate Run is sponsored by the University of Rochester's Sigma Phi Epsilon. Held annually in the spring, this three-man race begins at the U of R River Campus. The first of the team members run 2.2 miles through the city to Nick Tahou's. Once they arrive, the second teammate eats a Garbage Plate as quickly as they are able, then the final teammate runs back to campus to complete the race. In a race titled the "Ironman", one-man teams attempt to complete all three tasks alone. The Mount Hope Family Center is the recipient of all proceeds collected during the event, including sponsor funds and contestant's entry fees.[8]

Other locations

Formerly the Rochester terminal of the Buffalo, Rochester, and Pittsburgh Railway on Main Street West (Now part of NY Route 33) at Oak Street, today the Nick Tahou restaurant (circa 1900)

In the mid-1950s, Nick Tahou's hot dog stand was located in a smaller building just to the east, which is shown in the picture on this page, of its longtime location.[citation needed] From 1979 to 2007, there were two Nick Tahou Hots restaurants in Rochester: one in downtown Rochester in the former Buffalo, Rochester, and Pittsburgh Railway station on West Main Street, to the west of the I-490 overpass and a satellite restaurant on Lyell Avenue (NY Route 31) in Gates. In 2007, Steve Tahou and his sister Joanne Tahou-Demkou, the children of Ike Tahou (Nick's brother), assumed full ownership of the Lyell Avenue location and renamed it Steve T. Hots and Potatoes.[9] Steve Tahou returned to using Rochester-based Zweigle's hot dogs and Italian sausages, which were used in the original garbage plates at Nick's.[citation needed] The original West Main Street location continues to use the trademarked "Nick Tahou" and "Garbage Plate" names, and continues to use the Nick Tahou Hot Dog branded dogs in their plates.[citation needed] While previously open all night, the downtown restaurant began closing at 8 p.m. in 1998 in voluntary compliance with the city's effort to reduce troublesome night spots.[citation needed] Steve T.'s remains open 24 hours a day.[citation needed]

There was also a short-lived Nick Tahou's operation in Oswego, New York, that opened in September 1995 adjacent to the SUNY Oswego campus.[10]

On August 3, 2010, a second location opened at 3070 West Henrietta Road (NYS Route 15), in the town of Henrietta, New York.[11] It closed in early 2014.[12]


Nick Tahou's Garbage Plate

Nick's has been featured on Food Network's Unwrapped episode titled "Funny Foods" as well as the City in a Box Monopoly-based board game showcasing famous Rochester locales. The Garbage Plate was also highlighted in the July 2007 issue of the US Airways inflight magazine.[13]

On the November 16, 2009, episode of The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart told the people of Rochester to "get their heads out of their Garbage Plates."[14][dead link] On February 23, 2011, the Food Network filmed a segment for the show The Best Thing I Ever Ate on the recommendation of pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini.[15] Nick Tahou's was also featured on the Travel Channel series Chowdown Countdown, where it ranked No. 81 out of 101 locations. In 2011 it was featured on a Rochester episode of the Travel Channel's Man v. Food Nation, starring Adam Richman.

In the 2012 film The Place Beyond the Pines, Garbage Plates are mentioned as a "must have" for Bradley Cooper's character Avery when he travels through Rochester, New York.

Nick Tahou Hots

In 2017, Youtuber Jenna Marbles (who grew up in Rochester) mentioned Garbage Plates as her favorite food and in "My Boyfriend Cooks My Favorite Meal" got her boyfriend, Julien Solomita, to make her a vegan version. Another YouTuber and Rochester native, Andrew Rea of Binging with Babish, recreated the Garbage Plate in one of his weekly episodes, inspired by the mention of the dish in The Place Beyond the Pines.

In 2020, comedian Jim Gaffigan, while on tour in Rochester, stopped by Nick Tahou Hots and enjoyed a Garbage Plate. He subsequently talked about his experience on Conan.[16]

The dish has been featured in numerous publications, including The New York Times,[17] Saveur,[18] HuffPost,[19] and Food & Wine.[20]

See also



  1. ^ Mitzewich, John. "The Famous Garbage Plate of Rochester, New York". americanfood.about.com. Retrieved on August 31, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c "Nick Tahou Garbage Plate History". WhatsCookingAmerica.net. Archived from the original on March 20, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2008.
  3. ^ "Menu". Nich Tahou Hots. Archived from the original on February 9, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2008.
  4. ^ "The 50 Fattiest Foods in the States". Health.com. June 29, 2010. Archived from the original on July 2, 2010. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  5. ^ "Hot Plates, Cheeseburgers, Hot Dogs, Fairport NY – Fairport Hots". Fair Port Hots.
  6. ^ "Tom Wahls". Archived from the original on December 3, 2010. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  7. ^ "Mark's Texas Hots - Menu - Rochester". Yelp. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  8. ^ EVENT: Nick Tahou's Garbage Plate Run..., University of Rochester Newsletter, April 19, 2005
  9. ^ stevethots.com Archived April 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine September 3, 2007, Rochester D&C Article, retrieved December 26, 2009
  10. ^ Astor, Will (September 29, 1995). "Nick Tahou Hots adds link to chain".
  11. ^ Stinson, Jim (August 3, 2010). "Nick Tahou's opens in Henrietta". Democrat and Chronicle. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved January 13, 2022.
  12. ^ Tobin, Tom (July 1, 2014). "Nick Tahou's closes Henrietta spot". Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved January 18, 2023.
  13. ^ (July 2007). US Airways Magazine review of the Garbage Plate Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine (PDF). usairwaysmag.com. Retrieved on September 1, 2008.
  14. ^ http://eztvlinks.com/the-daily-show-november-16-2009-jake-adelstein/ [bare URL]
  15. ^ "Food Network filming at Nick Tahou's | www.WHEC.com". www.whec.com. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved January 13, 2022.
  16. ^ Freile, Victoria (January 14, 2020). "'There's obviously no health department in Rochester.' Comedian Jim Gaffigan talks Garbage Plates on Conan show". Democrat & Chronicle. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  17. ^ Sablich, Justin (October 12, 2016). "Beyond the Buffalo Wing in Upstate New York". The New York Times. Retrieved January 18, 2023.
  18. ^ Cox, Brent (March 23, 2012). "Glorious Mess: Rochester's Garbage Plates". Saveur. Retrieved January 18, 2023.
  19. ^ Orchant, Rebecca (February 26, 2014). "Why You Should Absolutely Eat Something Called A 'Garbage Plate'". HuffPost. Retrieved January 18, 2023.
  20. ^ "Weirdest Regional Foods". Food and Wine. June 15, 2016. Archived from the original on August 8, 2020. Retrieved January 18, 2023.