Category: Food

How Quick Collaboration Led to Downtown Rochester’s Creative Outdoor Dining

Posted on July 3,2020

If the COVID-19 pandemic has provided one life lesson, it has been to creatively adapt to changing situations, sometimes with the help from others. For those in the restaurant industry, this was the name of the game. Find out how local eateries reimagined dining with the help from design firms, local organizations, and government to creatively adapt to COVID-19.

Tags: Community Spotlight | Food

5 Ways to Extend Dining into Public Spaces

Posted on June 11,2020

Before COVID-19 pushed Minnesota restaurants to quickly pivot to outdoor offerings, al fresco dining was already gaining popularity around the country. Take a look at these precedents from Minneapolis, Seattle, Boston, and elsewhere. 

Tags: Food | Lifestyle

Make a Reservation at your Favorite Downtown Restaurant

Posted on May 29,2020

Minnesota bars and restaurants are welcoming back patrons for outdoor dining. Guidance from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development requires reservations to be made in advance. When you're ready to dine downtown, here are bars and restaurants accepting outdoor dining reservations.

Tags: Food

Mother's Day specials from downtown Rochester

Posted on April 28,2020

Ma. Mum. Mommy. Madre. However you refer to her, let your mother know you're thinking of her, even if you can't be with her in person. Celebrate your mom with these Mother's Day specials from downtown Rochester.

Tags: Art & Culture | Entertainment | Food | Lifestyle | Shopping

Community Spotlight on Victoria's Ristorante

Posted on April 2,2020

Victoria's Ristorante in downtown Rochester, Minnesota is perpetuating the good during COVID-19. Owner Natalie Victoria shares how their free meals for kids has grown and expanded to other community members in need.

Tags: Community Spotlight | Food

Community Spotlight on Grand Rounds Brewing Company

Posted on March 31,2020

Grand Rounds Brewing Company in downtown Rochester, Minnesota has opened its doors to school-age kids in need of meals during this time of COVID-19. Grand Rounds' founder, Tessa Leung, shares the reasons behind her persevering in response to COVID-19.

Tags: Community Spotlight | Food

Sharing the Best-Kept Secrets…To Lunch Meeting Menus

Posted on March 12,2020

Organizing agendas and documents for work lunch meetings can be stressful. Planning the meeting's lunch doesn't have to be, not when so many downtown Rochester restaurants have prepped great lunch meeting menu options like these!

Tags: Food

The Essential Guide to Downtown Rochester's Ladies' Night Out

Posted on March 9,2020

Update as of March 12, 2020: For the safety and health of downtown business employees and attendees, the Rochester Downtown Alliance is postponing Ladies’ Night Out amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) concern. We make decisions like this with the utmost care and consider local, state, and national updates. We look forward to bringing you community events you love soon.

It's not just girls who wanna have fun: Ladies' Night Out March 26 presented by the Rochester Downtown Alliance is a good time for everyone! With more activities and experiences for every age and gender, plan your night out with this essential guide to the upcoming Ladies' Night Out in downtown Rochester.

Tags: Entertainment | Events | Food | Lifestyle | Shopping

The 29 Ladies' Night Out Participating Businesses

Posted on February 29,2020

Update as of March 12, 2020: For the safety and health of downtown business employees and attendees, the Rochester Downtown Alliance is postponing Ladies’ Night Out amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) concern. We make decisions like this with the utmost care and consider local, state, and national updates. We look forward to bringing you community events you love soon.

Recharge in March with Ladies' Night Out March 26, whether that's through relaxation, empowerment, dining, or some retail therapy. These downtown Rochester businesses are ready to offer a fun time for all Ladies' Night Out attendees.

Tags: Entertainment | Events | Food | Lifestyle | Shopping

Sharing the Best-Kept Secrets…To Weekend Brunch & Bevies

Posted on February 25,2020

Rise and shine, weekenders! Everyone needs a good start to the day, and it all begins with a good breakfast! Below are some of the best places for brunch and bevies you’ll find in downtown Rochester on a Saturday, Sunday or both days!

Tags: Food | Lifestyle

Half of Rochester's Favorite Restaurants are Downtown

Posted on February 12,2020

Way to pick 'em, Rochester! Half of the Rochester Magazine's Favorite Restaurant winners are those that can be found in downtown Rochester. Find out how your favorite restaurant stacked up in this list.

Tags: Food | Lifestyle

Feelin' the Love for Valentine's Day in Downtown Rochester

Posted on February 4,2020

Can you feel the love (in downtown Rochester) tonight? Show your special someone how much they mean to you and plan a romantic evening in downtown Rochester with these Valentine's Day-related specials, gifts, and events.

Tags: Entertainment | Events | Food | Shopping

Sharing the Best-Kept Secrets…To The Top Happy Hours

Posted on November 12,2019

Going out to celebrate some great news? Or need somewhere to unwind after a long day of work? Sip, sip, hooray, does downtown Rochester have plenty of happy hour hangouts! Plan a happy hour get-together with friends at some of the best in downtown Rochester!

Tags: Entertainment | Food

Must-Eat Seasonal Treats at Fall Fest

Posted on September 30,2019

Now that it’s officially fall, bring on seasonal treats, apple sweets, and pumpkin spice everything! Cozy warm beverages and hearty fall eats are delicious features of Fall Fest food vendors. Here are the must-eat seasonal treats all Fall Fest presented by Altra Federal Credit Union from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. October 5!

Tags: Events | Food

3 Food-Allergy-Friendly Eats at Thursdays Downtown

Posted on July 16,2019

Living with a food allergy or a dietary restriction doesn't mean depriving yourself of mouthwatering fare. Whether you have a sensitivity to gluten or dairy or you are a vegetarian, delicious options complementary to your dietary needs can be found at Thursdays Downtown!

Tags: Events | Food | Lifestyle | Thursdays Downtown

Looking for Under 500 Calorie Foods at Thursdays Downtown?

Posted on July 8,2019

Health-conscious Thursdays Downtown attendees, rejoice! It may be a struggle to find wholesome yet satisfying foods at a fair or festival. But this Thursdays Downtown cuisine offers delectable selections at 500 calories or less!

Tags: Events | Food | Thursdays Downtown

New Food & Drinks at 2019 Thursdays Downtown

Posted on June 18,2019

What's on the menu? Along with your favorites, partake in some fresh culinary creations at Thursdays Downtown. So go on: be adventurous and try something new! Here are the most recent eat-and-drink additions to Thursdays Downtown this year!

Tags: Events | Food | Thursdays Downtown

Your Insider's Guide to 2019 Thursdays Downtown

Posted on May 29,2019

After the winter we’ve endured, Thursdays Downtown provides the fun in the sun we’ve all earned! It’s time to head to downtown Rochester for arts, crafts, music, and food! Everyone at the Rochester Downtown Alliance, our partners, and vendors are gearing up for the first Thursdays Downtown! Here’s a look at everything you need to know to get your Thursdays Downtown attendance-planning into gear, too!

Tags: Art & Culture | Entertainment | Events | Food | Shopping | Thursdays Downtown

Don’t Miss Out! A Year of Downtown Rochester Events

Posted on May 6,2019

How does the common saying go: “So much time and so little to do”? Strike that and reverse it! In downtown Rochester, there is plenty to do and we’ll help you with the time factor, too! Here is a list of Rochester events worth traveling for in every season and year-round! Find more Events in downtown Rochester while attending the following!

Tags: Art & Culture | Entertainment | Events | Food | Lifestyle | Shopping | Thursdays on first & 3rd

Restaurant Week

Posted on November 26,2018

Grab your fork and get ready to eat your way through some of the amazing restaurants located in Downtown Rochester for FEAST! Restaurant Week. Eleven Downtown restaurants are working to promote foods from the region and to support local farms in preparation for this years FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace happening on December 1st from 10AM to 4PM at the Rochester Mayo Civic Center.

Restaurant week will take place from Monday, November 26th to Saturday, December 1st. Participating restaurants will offer food specials crafted using products from the growers and food makers, plus customers who order these specials will receive a $10 off voucher for an alcohol sampling wristband, regularly priced at $25 (more info here) for FEAST!. Without further ado, lets talk about the great participating businesses:

Tags: Food

#MyDowntownRochMN featuring Pasquale's Neighborhood Pizzeria

Posted on September 11,2018

In Lisha Leonard’s #MyDowntownRochMN blog, we learned about her favorite vegetarian and vegan spots Downtown. When she shared about Pasquale’s vegan cheese option, we knew we had to sit down with owner and chef, Pasquale Presa, to learn more!

Tags: Food | #MyDowntownRochMN

#MyDowntownRochMN featuring Potbelly Sandwich Shop

Posted on July 31,2018

In Danae Gaio’s #MyDowntownRochMN interview she talked about how she loves going to Potbelly Sandwich Shop for a quick bite to eat with her daughter, Jayme, because of how close it is from her work. I chatted with Kirk, the General Manager of Potbelly Downtown, to find out more about their business.

Tags: Food | #MyDowntownRochMN

#MyDowntownRochMN Featuring the 1st Ave Food Court

Posted on June 5,2018

First Avenue Food Court

Where is the First Avenue Food Court? This can be a common question for those who have yet to discover this Downtown Rochester gem. The First Avenue Food Court offers incredible food options. This includes on-the-go versions of Rochester restaurant favorites or unique cuisine all over the world. Wondering how to get there? You can find the First Avenue Food Court by entering from the street level on First Avenue or 2nd Street. In addition, you can also head up to the second floor of University Square and just pop around the corner. Make sure to add the First Avenue Food Court to your Downtown Rochester destination list. It is worth discovering and exploring!

Tags: Food | Lifestyle | #MyDowntownRochMN

Weekend Events in Downtown Rochester

Posted on May 1,2018

Are you looking for something to do this weekend for Cinco De Mayo or maybe you are looking to wear your Kentucky Derby hat; Downtown Rochester is filled with options and we have compiled them here! 

Tags: Entertainment | Events | Food

St. Patrick's Day Celebrations and Specials Downtown

Posted on March 12,2018

St. Patrick's Day is just a few days away on March 17 and several Downtown bars and restaurants are getting into the spirit!

Tags: Food

Featured Stakeholder Series with Will Forsman, Co-Owner of Cafe Steam

Posted on November 28,2017

Cafe Steam has become a staple of our community and we know that is no easy feat. Will Forsman, co-owner of Cafe Steam sheds some light on how Cafe Steam has become much more than just your traditional coffee shop.

What is your favorite thing about Rochester?

Rochester is sort of a blank slate in the best of ways. We get to experience a lot of things for the first time that a lot of other cities are worn out on. And that joy you get from being a part of something organically happening in your city is something that can’t be replicated elsewhere. Rochester is changing - Whether its street fairs, pop-up shops, food trucks, ride sharing, start-ups, music events etc.. There are things happening in this town that it hasn’t experienced before and it’s finally becoming cool to be ‘involved’.

Tags: Food

Featured Stakeholder Series w/ Pasquale Presa

Posted on September 13,2017

In just under a year Pasquale’s Neighborhood Pizzeria has sure created a buzz in Downtown Rochester. Providing a fresh take on traditional foods to provide a little piece of Italy, culture, and authenticity that hasn’t gone unnoticed. Our Marketing and Communications Manager, Samantha, sat down with Pasquale Presa and we have to tell you, we are very excited for what is in store for this up and coming downtown business. 

Tags: Food

New Business: Grand Rounds Brew Pub to open April 15

Posted on April 1,2015

Grand Rounds Brew Pub will open its door to the community on Wednesday, April 15 at 11 am.  Grand Rounds, located at 4 Third Street SW, is the first brew pub and restaurant to open in Rochester in 20 years. Grand Rounds will be open from 11 am to 11 pm, Monday through Saturday. The pub will also be open for brunch on Sundays from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm.

Head Brewer Steve Finnie has brewed four distinctive beers for the pub’s opening.

Hawaii 507 Coconut Stout: A variety of malts, toasted coconut and bourbon vanilla beans create a rich chocolate-y dessert in a glass without being too sweet.  And it’s served on nitrogen to enhance the creaminess.

Hop Bollocks Session IPA: The intention of a session beer is to provide big flavor with lower alcohol so you can have more than one per session (within reason of course). Hop Bollocks brings flavor and aroma with three different hops and a hint of pale honey.

Freedom Scottish Ale: This ale hints at Scottish flavors of biscuits and toffee with toasted caramel and a hint of smokiness.

KA Minnesota Kolsch: Clean and crisp Kolsch-style brew with just the right amount of sweetness coming from local honey from Oronoco’s Bee Shed.

By the end of April, Finnie will add a fifth beer, Nelson IPA, to the lineup.  A combination of unique malts and New Zealand hops gives Nelson IPA grapefruit and white wine overtones.

Grand Rounds Brewpub will also being featuring guests beers from Minnesota Brewers  Bauhaus Brew Labs, HammerHeart Brewing Company and Sociable Cider Werks.

Grand Round’s Culinary Team of Head Chef Alex Sjoberg and Sous Chef Ducky Harrison have developed a menu that melds international flavors and locally produced ingredients to create a new take on classic pub fare.  Signature dishes include:

Scotch Eggs: A staple from Head Brewer Finnie’s native Scotland - a soft boiled egg wrapped in sausage, breaded then fried.

The Barbara Claire: Southern-style chicken and waffles.  Homemade sweet potato waffles, buttermilk fried chicken, Minnesota maple syrup and warm sausage gravy.

Other menu items include duck confit nachos, Thai chicken salad, Indian spiced risotto, burgers, Chicago-style hot dogs and mac & cheese.

Rounding out the Grand Rounds management staff are General Manager Paul Koerner and Bar Manager Kelly Griffin.

Grand Rounds’s reservation system will begin accepting reservations on April 9.  To make reservations, visit, call 507.292.1628 or use the Open Table app.


Tags: Food

New Years Eve 2014

Posted on December 30,2014

Here we go #RochMN. Time to Ring It In! New Year's Eve is upon us, and that means celebration, laughter, and of course, the countdown! This is your guide to a flawless NYE complete with tips for a healthier 2015. Where will you be counting down this NYE? 



The Night is Young

With many bars and restaurants featuring live music and entertainment, Downtown Rochester is the place to be this New Year's Eve 2014.


After the Ball Drops

The party doesn't end when the clock strikes midnight. Downtown nightlife scene. Check out our great selection of bars and pubs.


Get Healthier in 2015

With the new year comes New Year's resolutions. And it's no surprise that one of the most popular has to do with getting healthier. So here's a tip-of-the-hat to a few places that could help you stay fit for 2015.


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Tags: Entertainment | Events | Food

Where to Spend your Downtown Gift Card

Posted on December 24,2014

Congratulations! You're the proud recipient of the Downtown Rochester Gift Card.

The card you hold in your hand is an exceptional one because you can choose how to redeem it! 

The Downtown Rochester Gift Card is accepted at over 70 restaurants, shops, and other business all located downtown, which makes it the perfect holiday gift. Geez. Whoever gave this to you knows a great gift when they see one!

Check out the full list of participating business here.

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Tags: Food | Shopping

Now Open: aamuse

Posted on May 23,2014

aamuse, a small extension of ZZest market and café, opened in the First Avenue skyway food court next to Dunn Bros and Essential Juice.

At aamuse, customers stopping by for lunch can look forward to choosing from an array of ready-made meat & cheese plates, salads, pastas and baguette sandwiches (both hot and cold). But it doesn't stop there. End your meal on a sweet note with rich creme brûlée, jeni’s signature ice cream (salty caramel and goat cheese with cherries are just a few of the tempting flavor options), or a pre-portioned bar of fine chocolate. Are you drooling yet? Similar to that of ZZest, the menu items will change week to week, utilizing fresh ingredients that are at their seasonal best.

In addition to their delicious made-to-order hot sandwiches and the appealing grab-n-go items in the cooler, aamuse also sells a wide variety of local and imported artisan foods/gifts such as chutney, jam, olives, spreads, crackers, oils, vinegars, salsa, honey, plus much more. Chocolate covered potato chips, anyone?

Whether it’s for the French-inspired sandwiches or the specialty sweets, aamuse doesn’t disappoint!

Written by: Jeanette Caban

Bio: Jeanette lives in Rochester and works at the Post-Bulletin as a Communications Coordinator. In her spare time she enjoys tackling home improvement projects, thrifting, gardening, and cooking – all of which she shares on personal lifestyle blog, SimplyChic

Tags: Food

Downtown Farmers Market is BACK!

Posted on May 2,2014

As we retire our winter jackets and boots in exchange for tank tops and sandals, one thing comes to mind: the farmers market. Nothing signifies the arrival of warmer months more than that!

The first market of the season will be on Saturday, May 3 from 7:30 a.m. – noon in the parking lot located at 4th St & 4th Ave SE (and every subsequent Saturday through October).

Rochester’s downtown farmers market boasts a variety of vendors, all of whom are local growers who live and farm/garden within 50 miles of Rochester.

In early spring, market attendees can expect to find a selection of in-season produce including asparagus, spinach, watercress, lettuce, arugula, rhubarb, morel and shitake mushrooms, salad mixes, sprouts, ramps (wild leeks), green onions, mustard greens, radishes, edible flowers, and shallots.

In addition to produce, the market also offers an assortment of other locally-sourced items such as flower & herb starters, meat, eggs, various dairy products, jams & jellies, maple syrup, pasta, goat milk soap, and baked goods.

Shopping at the farmers market is a great way to get a variety of fresh and organic foods and helps to support our local farmers.

Make sure to ‘like’ the Rochester Downtown Farmers Market Facebook page for weekly updates and healthy recipe ideas!

Written by: Jeanette Caban

Jeanette is on the RDFM advisory board – a committee that strives to improve and promote the market. Jeanette works as a Communications Coordinator at the Post-Bulletin by day and spends her free time DIYing, urban gardening, running and crafting up new vegetarian recipes. Check out some of her projects on her blog, SimplyChic.

Tags: Events | Food | Shopping

Downtown's Best Cup of Joe

Posted on April 28,2014

Whether it’s your morning must or an afternoon pick-me-up, downtown Rochester has the coffee you crave. Here’s who is brewin’ it up best:

Best specialty drink + best ambiance: Press Coffee & Tea. Surrender to your sweet tooth and opt for the Thai Iced Coffee – a strong brew complemented by the sweet creaminess of sweetened condensed milk served over ice. Chill out in one of the many reclaimed chairs and admire the unique art displays from local artists.

Best barista: Bravo Espresso. Make a few stops to Bravo for your a.m. espresso and it won’t be long before the staff knows you by name and can place your order before you can. Show up with a case of the Mondays and they’ll make it so you leave feeling like it’s Friday.

Best price: Starbucks. A mere $1.85 will get you 12 oz. of a robust roast. Bring in your own mug and save even more!

Best bean: Dunn Bros. If you want a fill of Rochester’s freshest, look no further than Dunn Bros. downtown! Dunn is celebrated for their quality cup comprised of freshly craft-roasted beans that they roast on-site daily.

Written by: Jeanette Caban

When Jeanette isn’t sneaking away from her desk at the Post-Bulletin for a caffeine fix, you can find her chronicling her love for DIYs projects, interior design and urban homesteading on the blog SimplyChic.

Tags: Food

Downtown's 12 Favorite Things: Winter Warmth

Posted on January 2,2014

Written by: Gabriel Yeager

Although the weather outside is frightful, downtown Rochester is so delightful! This winter, take advantage of downtown's skyway and subway system. It never dips below 68 degrees in Rochester thanks to its climate controlled skyway and underground walkways, otherwise known as subways. Businesses, hotels, shops, and dining are all accessible without ever having to step outdoors in the winter. From a variety of boutiques to fabulous bistros, the skyways and pedestrian subways offer miles of indoor entertainment. Stay warm this winter and stop by one of our many coffee and tea shops for a warm beverage:

Almis Coffee Shop

Bravo Espresso & Gourmet

Caribou Coffee

Dunn Bros Coffee

Mandala Tea

Press Coffee & Tea Lounge

Starbucks Coffee (3 convenient downtown locations: Barnes and Noble, DoubleTree, Kahler Hotel)

The Tap House

And for those ready to embrace Minnesota's arctic winter, SocialICE is less than one month away. Stay tuned for more information!

Tags: Food

Life of an Intern - Better Late Than Never

Posted on June 26,2013

It’s a fascinating thing when one begins to grasp the vastness of how much they don’t know.  I have lived in Rochester since I was five years old, and in the last few weeks have learned more about this city than I have in the last 17 years. To provide a little background information, I just took a Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) class to better serve the community while working for RDA.  Ok, full disclosure: growing up, I gave-in to the perception that, “There is nothing to do in Rochester”.  WRONG.  If you are ever bored in this city, it is your own darn fault.  Rochester offers way more than any other town of 100,000 (approx.) would be able or willing to provide, and so much of it is just minutes away from downtown!

Don’t believe me? Challenge accepted. 

Let’s start off on a classy note with some expression of the arts.  The Rochester Arts Center provides a variety of world-class exhibits throughout the year providing opportunities for volunteers, interns and artists to get involved or get exposure.  With no private collection, the Rochester Arts Center is able to best utilize their space and bring in multiple exhibits throughout the year for an ever-changing visual experience.  Not only is Rochester rich in visual arts, but also performing arts.  The Rochester Civic Theater offers opportunities for the community to experience the art of acting through classes and performances, as well as various professional, dance and musical acts throughout the year.

Tags: Entertainment | Food | Life of an Intern