I imagined folks all over town tonight feasting on corned beef and cabbage and drinking green beer. Rochester celebrates St. Patrick’s Day in a big way. Saturday was the big parade and local bars and taverns will likely be filled to capacity tonight. Tis’ the day for Irishmen of all kinds – a Happy St. Paddy’s Day to all! In the town of Greece, where I live, we even have a hill named after the good saint. I did my part today by wearing green. I wore a green print blouse and covered my eyelids with green eyeshadow!
Today’s weather was intoxicating. I believe the temperature passed 65 degrees. The sun shone brightly all day. I could barely wait to get home so that we could enjoy the beautiful evening. There are just a few almost unnoticeable piles of snow left. Another day of warm weather and a good rain will make things feel fresh and clean. I can’t wait!
Frank and I chose to skip the traditional dinner fare and decided, instead, to celebrate in a different way. I guess you could say our spring fever surpassed our desire to eat cabbage. Frank was waiting eagerly when I pulled in the driveway. I unlocked the door and he hopped in. Seatbelts fastened, we drove leisurely down to the shores of Lake Ontario. Our destination, a Rochester classic for almost sixty years — Schaller’s Drive-In Restaurant. The parking lot was filled with cars, a sure sign that the fever was contagious.
As a couple, we’ve been “regulars” for over 25 years. Before that, I can’t count the how many times I’ve been to Schaller’s. I went with my family as a child, I went with friends as a teen, and I went as a young adult. When our kids were little, it was always a treat to take them to Schaller’s for a ground round, smothered with their own hot sauce and loaded with the usual toppings; crispy onion rings, and a shake. Plus all the free pickles you can eat! Their white hots are the best in town.The best part about this place is that it hasn’t changed much over the years. It’s a “dumpy” looking place and could certainly use updating. But then it wouldn’t feel the same. Going to Schaller’s is another way to reconnect to my past. That’s why I only visit the lakeside location.
Rochester is famous for its white hots, specifically, Zweigles white hots. “In 1925, Zweigle’s introduced the first white hot dog, locally known as the “white hot.” It is the most unique product that people associate with the Zweigle’s name, and what the people in Rochester, New York now take pride in knowing the exclusivity of this product.” The local company ships their hots all over the country. If your mouth isn’t watering, it should be. You haven’t eaten great drive-in food until you eat at Schaller’s. And, although they have two other locations in town, the best experience is dining at their lakeside location.
Sometime in late spring, Schaller’s will likely begin the summer by hosting their “Classic Car Night.” These events have become popular all over the country. But, browsing classic cars by the lake on a warm and breezy evening while indulging in great food does make a compelling case for a visit.
Schaller’s is open all year. Frank and I stop there during the fall and winter months. It doesn’t matter when my brother and his family visit from Chicago. A burger or hot dog from Schaller’s is typically on their itinerary.
Still, there’s nothing like visiting one of our favorite dining spots on a day like today. After a long, seemingly never-ending winter, we were eager to feel spring. And today we felt spring and dreamed of summer.
Eating at Schaller’s was our way of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and welcoming spring.