Eat Student Voices

Eat Like a Yellowjacket


The city of Rochester and the surrounding area have dozens of restaurants frequented by students. Whether you have a car,  call an Uber, or utilize the campus shuttle system, there are plenty of options for restaurants you can get to. Below are places to visit if you want to eat like a Yellowjacket.

Caffeine Fix

Java’s Cafe

Located right next to the Eastman School of Music, Java’s has a large array of coffees, teas, and other beverages to either jumpstart your day or give you a midday caffeine fix. Java’s also sells a variety of baked goods and has a separate sandwich shop next door if you’re looking for something to eat. The atmosphere is cozy and welcoming, and Java’s is a great place to sit and get work done before a lesson at Eastman or socialize with some friends outside of the River Campus. 

My Favorites: Espresso Macchiato, Organic Morrocan Mint Hot Tea

A wall of  coffee and tea at the sandwich shop extension of Java’s Cafe (Credit: Java’s Cafe Rochester, NY on 

Tai Chi Bubble Tea

Tai Chi, located in our College Town, sells a variety of food, including rice bowls, salads, and ramen. Tai Chi is best known for their large variety of bubble teas, such as their hot teas, iced teas, milk teas, and fruit teas. Many students come here during the hot weeks during the beginning of the fall semester for a refreshing iced fruit tea with boba; in the winter, catch students ordering hot tea with tapioca pearls. Either way, this is a great place to stop for a quick caffeine fix or for lunch or dinner.

My Favorites: Taichi Milk Tea (Original), Peach Tea, Rose Special

Breakfast & Brunch

Boxcar Donuts

Boxcar Donuts, located in the Rochester Public Market District, is the place to go for unique, picturesque, and delicious donuts. They have flavors that you most likely have never tried before, and all donuts are made in-house. In addition to donuts, they have coffee, cocktails, and a few other breakfast options to choose from. If you need some motivation, look to their Instagram page for photos of their latest donut creations.

My Favorites: Creme Brulee Donut, Cannoli Donut

Locals Only

Located on Alexander Street, Locals Only is an awesome brunch spot. Although it is open for lunch and dinner, as well as late at night for cocktails, the brunch options here make this a spot worth visiting. Get ready to conquer the day with a breakfast sandwich, avocado toast, or breakfast burrito and pair with a drink from the caffeine menu.. The drinks and atmosphere are also very Instagram worthy, if you are looking for a picture-perfect early afternoon. 

My Favorites:  Matcha Au Lait, Mango Black Tea, Avocado Toast, the Egg Sandwich

Left: Creme Brulee, Hot Chocolate, Cannoli, and Pumpkin Cream Cheese Donuts from Boxcar Donuts. Middle: the Egg Sandwich and Mango Black Tea at Locals Only. Right: Trata’s French Toast.


The Restaurant at the Armory (aka “Trata”) is typically a dinner restaurant, but it offers brunch every Sunday. The atmosphere is very modern, and the brunch menu includes classic options, plates to share, and—of course—coffee, juice, and tea. For the food quality and atmosphere, the prices are reasonable for college students. If you are looking for a Sunday afternoon off-campus, a brunch at Trata is a must.

My Favorites: French Toast Sticks, Mixed Berry Bowl, Kombucha

Lunch & Dinner

The Distillery

The Distillery is a bar-restaurant chain, and its original location is in Rochester. With large TVs giving the restaurant a sports-bar atmosphere, the menu features many classics, like burgers, pasta, and pizza. The Distillery is worth a visit if you are on a night out with friends or if you are interested in grabbing drinks.

My Favorites: Spinach ‘N Artichoke Dip, Pulled Pork Sandwich

Jine’s Restaurant

Jine’s is a family-owned restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As a Greek diner,  it has a large variety of options on its menu, making this a great spot for lunch or dinner with friends and family. The area around Jine’s, known as Park Avenue, is a great place to shop or enjoy a local festival. If you are looking for a relaxing evening off-campus, visit Jine’s.

My Favorites: Grilled Chicken Panini, Jumbo Shrimp & Pasta

Left:  Lobby of The Distillery (Credit: Right: Outside of Jine’s Restaurant (Credit: Jines Restaurant – front of restaurant on

Magnolia’s Deli & Cafe

Magnolia’s is a go to restaurant any time of day, but their soup, salad, and sandwich combos are perfect for lunch. Much like Jine’s, their menu is large and features an assortment of items, so it is easy to find something you like or find something new to try. Fun fact: President Obama even ate here and there’s a special on the menu dedicated to him!

My Favorites: Cream of Tomato Soup, Chicken Basil BLT

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Voted one of the best restaurants in Rochester, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is widely known among students. Similarly to The Distillery, this restaurant has a bar-restaurant setup, but with a more family-friendly atmosphere. Their menu is full of everything you would expect from a bar-b-que joint, such as ribs, burgers, and chicken, so this place would not be the best option if you are vegetarian or vegan. Nevertheless, the food is classic and delicious.

My Favorites: Dino Burger, Bar-B-Que Pork Ribs

Left: the bar at The Owl House. Middle: a vegan pulled BBQ jackfruit sandwich. Right: the front of The Owl House (Credit: Instagram @owlhouseroc).

The Owl House

Built inside a house, The Owl House is a small restaurant that offers many vegetarian and vegan options. Their menu is typically on the smaller side, but they rotate items often to make it a unique experience every time you visit. Less than a 10 minute drive from campus, go to The Owl House if you are looking for good food in a cozy environment. 

My Favorites: Chickpea Burger, Nachos

If Someone Else is Buying

Delmonico’s Italian Steak House

Delmonico’s is an upscale restaurant that combines steakhouse favorites with quality Italian food. The atmosphere is comfortable but on the fancier side, so this is a place to go for a celebratory dinner or perhaps a dinner when your family is in town. The prices can be on the higher side, but the quality is definitely there.

My Favorites: Bruscetta Pomodoro, Fettuccine Delmonico

Inside Delmonico’s Italian Steakhouse (Credit:


J.D. Oxford’s

Due to its close proximity to campus, J.D. Oxford’s is a bar frequented by many Rochester upperclassmen. It is open everyday until 2:00 AM and offers bar appetizers in addition to a large amount of beers on draft. If you are of age, this is a great place to go out with some friends as the week comes to a close.

My Favorites: Chicken Quesadilla, Black and Blue Burger

Night Scene

Jay’s Diner

Only 10 minutes from campus and open 24/7, Jay’s Diner is your go-to restaurant any time of day, but most definitely at night. Whether it’s after a long night of studying, an on-campus performance, or a party, Jay’s Diner has all of the classic diner food to satisfy late night cravings. The 80s-style ambiance also contributes to the overall dining experience.

My Favorites: Any Milkshake, Stuffed French Toast

Outside of Jay’s Diner (Credit: Facebook @Jay’s Diner).


Insomnia Cookies

Insomnia Cookies is a student staple. Located in our college town, Insomnia Cookies will deliver warm cookies right to your dorm until 1:00 AM. Whether you are having a night in or are busy studying in the library, these cookies boost everyone’s morale and satisfy any late night craving.

My Favorites: Chocolate Chunk, Deluxe S’mores 

Sinful Sweets

Sinful Sweets is a bakery with a Seven Deadly Sins theme. All of their signature desserts have clever names, and the atmosphere of the bakery speaks to its theme. The standouts here are their cupcakes, but all of their delicacies and custom cakes taste just as good as they look.

My Favorites: Ashes of Eden (Cookies & Cream), Gluttony (Chocolate Peanut Butter)

Left: Regular and mini cupcakes. Right: The “Tiki Terror” is a pina colada cupcake with rum-infused buttercream at Sinful Sweets (Credit: Instagram @sinfulsweetsroc).

The Mad Hatter

In addition to being a restaurant, The Mad Hatter has a fantastic bakery of cakes, pies, cookies and more. It has a variety of options baked fresh daily, including gluten free and vegan options. This bakery is the perfect stop for a quick, sweet snack.

My Favorites: Mini Cannolis, Pumpkin Muffins