Eating  ‘Out’  at Coffee  Shops
Al Fresco Dining at Three  Rochester Java Joints

Yep, you read it right. This article is about outdoor dining–at coffee shops. You may already go to coffee shops for their delicious aromatic coffee and cold drinks to wake you up in the morning or a pick-me-up in the evening, but you’re really missing out if you haven’t checked out the food they offer. Forget what you know, or think you know, about coffee shop food. Each of these coffee shops makes their food from scratch and is a huge supporter of our local food system, arts and community. There are so many reasons to visit them and enjoy delicious foods on their patios this summer. (Some of them even serve  wine, beers and cocktails!)

All of these coffee shops are  LGBTQ+ friendly and welcome all to enjoy their coffee, drinks and  variety of other foods.

photographed by Tiffany Alexandria,

photographed by Tiffany Alexandria,

Old Abe Coffee Co.

Old Abe Coffee Co. is a little house painted with rainbows and Darumas located next to Cooke Park (more outdoor dining space, yay!). Abe specializes in cold brew coffee and Asian-inspired vegan eats. You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy Abe’s food, I’m not vegan, and I LOVE going there. The food is always fresh and refreshing, and they make the BEST rice in town. You’ll find banh mi, kung pao bowls onigiri at Abe’s. They have a cute patio in the back with vining tomatoes in the summer and colorful murals all around. If you’re looking for drinks other than coffee, try the Thai iced tea, basil lemonade, one of the rotating local beers on tap or a cocktail!

  • What we ordered: Spicy Salmon Bowl  with spinach and rice; Banh Mi with jalapeno  & chili paste; Iced Zumbro
  • Where: 832 7th St NW, Rochester
  • Hours (subject to change): Tuesday – Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday & Monday Closed

Fiddlehead Coffee Co.

Fiddlehead Coffee Co. took a break from serving food during the pandemic,  but now they are back with an Italian-inspired menu created by co-owner/coffee roaster, Patrick. Patrick was raised in Chicago by his Italian grandparents, whose love language was food. It was at Nonna’s table where he first fell in love with coffee and had his first taste of wine. The menu features scratch-made focaccia sandwiches, soups, “stuzzichini”(small bites) to share with your friends or family,  quiche and all day brunch. Vegetables grown by Pearson Organics, honey from  The Bee Shed and milk and cream from Country View Dairy can be tasted in the delicious dishes. There’s a variety of vegetarian and gluten free items on the menu,  which is part of the reason we love coming here.

Fiddlehead Coffee Co. also has a seasonally rotating wine menu that focuses on small winemakers and flavors that pair perfectly with their food. A selection of local taps is also available. If you’re looking for something non-alcoholic and non traditional, we highly recommend the sober stout!

The patio at the Avani Living (Miracle Mile) location is scheduled to be expanded. It feels like we’re in a different city when we’re sitting at Fiddlehead’s  Avani patio. Cute green umbrellas, being surrounded by plants and flowers while watching people and cars pass by—we love it!

  • What we ordered: Elmwood Park Hot  Sandwich with Pasta Salad, the Potager with  Focaccia (Elmwood Park is the neighborhood  where Patrick grew up.)
  • Where: 1610 W Center St, Rochester
  • Hours (subject to change): Monday – Thursday 7 a.m. to 9. p.m. Friday – Saturday 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Café Steam (One Discovery Square)

What’s there to eat at Café Steam? Only the best waffle in Rochester. Crispy on the outside, doughy and gooey on the inside. Made fresh to order and hot off the waffle iron, drizzled with artisan syrups or just plain. The waffle recipe Café Steam uses originated in Liège, Belgium. Unlike American waffles that usually start as a  batter, these waffles start as dough. The dough is made with flour, eggs, milk, butter,  yeast, salt and pearl sugar–the key ingredient that gives these waffles their irresistible caramel flavor and crust. These waffles are perfect with your choice of coffee, tea or  Café Steam’s seasonal rotating menu.

Outdoor dining at One Discovery Square is probably one of the most overlooked experiences in Rochester. Interactive art created by John and Beth Sievers and fence murals by Michelle Palmer and Maggie Panetta, facilitated by Threshold Arts on one side and the view of the iconic Plummer Building on the other make this patio truly unique. We highly recommend Café Steam at One Discovery Square for early breakfast and an afternoon pick-me-up.

  • What we ordered: EEAASSYY GOOD  GOOD (Matcha honey, fresh strawberries,  powdered sugar); Brent’s Favorite (plain  waffle with maple syrup and powdered  sugar); latte
  • Where: 201 4th St SW, Rochester
  • Hours (subject to change): Monday – Friday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday Closed

About Author

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Born and raised in Taiwan by a picky-eater dad and a mom who’ll try anything, Tiffany has tasted a world of flavors. Through traveling, she learned the relationship between food and culture, and the importance of supporting locals. Tiffany currently works as a food photographer, blogger, and occasional artist and designer. You can visit to learn more about her foods.

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