Rochester restaurants we'll miss

Rochester, NY – Call them the delicious departed. Several well-known restaurants and food establishments have closed since the beginning of the year. leaving behind memories of Italian baked goods, spicy wings, delicious breakfast sandwiches, drunken noodles and good times.


Here are seven we’ll miss.


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The Avenue Diner (formerly Gitsis)


Gitsis was a long-standing diner with an eponymous name for the Greek family that originally ran it. For decades, the Monroe Avenue establishment was known for its quintessential diner fare, the “Gitsis Plate,” 24-hour service and occasional violent episodes during the wee hours. 


A few months later, Gitsis closed, and Spiro Georgakopulos and Billy Petrou teamed up to renovate and rebrand the place. It reopened in 2013, as The Avenue Diner, a family restaurant. Instead of the 24-hour approach, it was open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. It closed in January.



Gruttadauria’s Bakery has served its last cannoli, rum cakes and cucidati at 1600 W. Ridge Road in Greece. The family-owned business closed for good in January after 105 years in business. 


The bakery’s fourth generation moved the bakery to Temecula, California, where it is called Gruttadauria’s 1914 Bakery. The good news: if you have a craving, you can now order their Italian cookies online. The bad news: it’ll cost you. A 1 1/2-pound box of cookies, shipped to Rochester, would cost $46. By comparison, you could head to Savoia Pastry Shoppe on Clifford Avenue and could get four pounds of Italian cookies for the same price.

More: Now that Gruttadauria’s is closed, where to get Italian cookies and more



ButaPub — originally dubbed “nothing but a pub” —  opened in the Historic German House on Gregory Street in November 2014. The sunken bar and restaurant gained a following for chef Asa Mott’s imaginative, pork-centric Asian fusion comfort food. Its dramatic $75 roasted pig head dinner was the big attention-getter.


It closed its doors in the South Wedge on March 10 after a nearly five-year run. We mourn the loss of Mott’s Korean chicken wings.

The Reunion Inn


The black-and-white building across the street from the main entrance for Seabreeze Amusement Park was a speakeasy during Prohibition and became a legal tavern in 1934. Steve Sahs and Jim “Barney” Barnash purchased it in 1971 and named it the Reunion Inn. Forty eight years later — a truly remarkable span to stay in business and to remain business partners — they sold the restaurant. It closed in February. 


Kelly and Don Bush, owners of the Marshall Street Bar and Grill downtown, purchased the building. They are doing renovations, including making the business handicap accessible, and will open as the Union Tavern in late May. 


Taste of Soul


Taste of Soul, a small, no-frills soul food restaurant on Main Street in Brockport, has closed. It was a popular place with students at The College at Brockport.


Tim Lee, an Alabama native, opened the counter service restaurant in December 2017. It was known especially for its fried chicken, as well as an array of sides like collard greens, yams, cabbage, black-eyed peas and fried okra.

Hart’s Local Grocers



Hart’s Local Grocers, an independent, locally owned grocery store at 10 Winthrop St., closed in March after five years in business. It opened off East Avenue in Rochester’s East End in August 2014.


The attractions at the 20,000-square-foot store included prepared foods, a large selection of locally produced products and an in-store cafe — which, by the way, made some of the best darned breakfast sandwiches in town.

Esan Thai Restaurant



After 25 years in business, the tiny, modest Esan Thai Restaurant at 696 Park Ave served its last meal in January. Bounkong and Kinnalone Douangratdy, known to their customers as Boun and Kim, ran the business since 1995, and their Drunken Master Noodles had many fans.


Customers who miss Boun and Kim may want to head to The King and I Cuisine of Thailand, 1455 E. Henrietta Road, in Henrietta. It is owned by Boun’s sister, Fong Lo, and the couple planned to help out there. 


Opening in its place will be Vern’s, an Italian restaurant.