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#MyDowntownRochMN with Lisha Leonard

For this week's #MyDowntownRochMN we would like to introduce you to Lisha Leonard. Lisha moved to Rochester about five years ago from a small town in Wisconsin and is exciting about the every changing menus that work with her vegan lifestyle. Keep reading to learn about her favorites. 

Samantha: Hi Lisha! I’m so glad you are able to share with me why you love Downtown Rochester so much! Can you start off by telling me a little bit about yourself?

Lisha: I’m a 26-year-old single who has been living in Rochester for five years. I initially moved to Rochester from Southeastern Wisconsin to complete the Medical Laboratory Science Program at the Mayo School of Health Sciences. Once I graduated I got a job in a clinical lab at Mayo where I’ve been working ever since! I have also been a vegetarian for nine years, but have eaten primarily vegan for the last year. This choice in an important part of my lifestyle and it’s been so exciting to see more and more establishments in Rochester bring vegetarian and vegan options to their menus over the past five years!

Samantha: Being vegetarian and then vegan, I’m sure you’ve checked out almost all the Downtown restaurants. What are some of your favorites that you’d recommend to other Rochester locals who are looking for a vegetarian bite to eat?

Lisha: This question is almost impossible to answer because there are so many places I consider to be my favorites! The places that stand out most in my mind are:  ZZest Lunch Counter, People’s Food Co-op, Taphouse, and Terza. However, the pizza from Pasquale’s is incredible, pizza is one of my favorite foods and lucky for me they have vegan "cheese" as an option.

Want to know more about the innovated items on the menu at Pasquale's Neighborhood Pizzeria? Click here

Samantha: Yum! So, you mentioned moving from Wisconsin to Rochester for school, but what made you decide to stay here after graduating?

Lisha: Being offered a job at Mayo and accepting it after I graduated was an easy decision for me. I liked knowing that I am in the heart of the city when I’m Downtown. You see so many people ranging from professionals, to patients, to Rochester residents, to visitors when you’re Downtown. I also loved how much was going on Downtown. I love being around people, so pretty much any event happening Downtown is a great excuse to get together with friends. The Downtown Farmer’s Market, Thursdays on First & 3rd, SocialICE, listening to local music and Movies in the Park are just a few of my favorites!

Samantha: It seems like you’ve attended many activities Downtown. Which event is your ‘can’t-miss’ each year?

Lisha: SocialICE is my absolute favorite activity in Downtown Rochester – I haven't missed a year since I moved here. It's such a Minnesotan concept to plan an outdoor event in the dead of winter in a place that feels like a frozen tundra. Seeing all the people that attend the event every year just shows you that not even the cold can't keep us away from such a fun and memorable event. The fire places on Peace Plaza during the event don't hurt either! I do have to give an honorable mention to all the different events that the Mayo Civic Center hosts, especially the craft shows and beer expo. Down by the Riverside is also a great event to attend for live music in the summer.

Samantha: When there aren’t events going on or you’re not at work, how do you spend your time Downtown?

Lisha: Well if I’m going shopping Tangerine is my favorite place to go! I always find the most unique things when I’m there which makes finding presents for friends and family a breeze. Kathy’s is my go-to place to listen to live music! Also, if we’re being honest, Downtown is an awesome place to grab a selfie and who doesn’t love a shameless selfie? I love taking selfies against an interesting wall as a background, so any wall with brick, ivy, or a mural is my go-to spot!

Samantha: I love that! Don’t forget to tag us in your next selfie post Downtown! It seems like you’ve done it all, but if you only had 24 hours to spend Downtown what would you ideally do?

Lisha: My day would start by grabbing a vegan muffin at People's Food Co-op and then heading to the Downtown Farmer's Market where I wouldn't be able to miss out on grabbing a nitro cold brew from Old Abe's Coffee Cart! I would spend the afternoon and early evening with friends walking around Downtown enjoying the shops, scenery, and rooftop bars all while making sure to take plenty of pictures, selfies included. At some point, we would need to go to Pasquale’s for pizza. My friends and I would then go do trivia at Taphouse and because I'm creating my ideal day, of course my team would win. My 24 hours would end by enjoying some live music and dancing the night away at Kathy's!

Samantha: What a fun day Downtown! Thanks for sharing your #MyDowntownRochMN experience with me!

Want more #MyDowntownRochMN stories? Check out the links below. 

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Disclaimer: the views, comments, and opinions located within this blog are those of the community individual, not those of the Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA).