The secret ingredients for the Hot Meat Sauce served at hot dog and hamburger stands around Rochester, NY. Add 2.5 oz mix to 1/2 lb browned ground beef, 4 Tbsp butter, and 1 1/2 cups water. Salt to taste if desired.

Ingredients: Proprietary blend of Onion, Spices, Sugar.

Make yourself a Garbage Plate/Trash Plate/Home Plate –whatever you call it, it’s a specialty!


Wonderful information about the history of this regional favorite (excerpted from

In Rochester’s late 19th-century industrial heyday, the Garbage Plate was born out of necessity to a Greek immigrant, Alexander Tahou, who founded the restaurant in 1918 as West Main Texas Hots, naming it for one of the two main ingredients: “hots” and potatoes. The white hot is a pale, unsmoked sausage mainly found in these parts and other chilly Midwestern cities populated by German immigrants; the red hot is of similar origins, and its name doesn’t refer to its level of spice, but distinguishes it by its ruddy color. At Tahou’s, the hots in question have long been made by the Rochester meat/sausage maker Zweigle’s, which opened its doors in 1880.

There are plenty of places in Western New York that serve up plates — that’s the regional abbreviation. The gist of it is the same at any regional restaurant, but the details might shift — the size and shape of the home fries; the brand of the beans; the secret ingredients in the sauce.

The plate got Rochester through the boom years, and through the bust. Many a Rochesterian survived off hots and potatoes purchased for a few cents during the Great Depression. Alex Tahou’s son Nick added his name to the restaurant in the 1940s when he took over the family business. And in the 1980s, the plate got its current monicker when, according to legend, coeds started asking for “that plate with all the garbage on it.”

Naomi Silver, president of the minor league baseball team Rochester Red Wings, grew up in Rochester, and she knows firsthand how much this dish means to the city. “There aren’t many restaurants that have as long as history as Tahou’s, so growing up in Rochester, the plate has been a part of the lexicon forever,” she says. “Night shift workers eat them for breakfast, they’re perfect for lunch and dinner, at a ball game, and they’re a staple after an evening of partying. It’s not glamorous. It’s just good.”

“We are a smaller city known for certain things,” says Dan Mason, general manager for the Red Wings. “Wegmans, Kodak, Xerox, Genesee Beer, Zweigle’s white hot dogs, the Red Wings and the Garbage Plate. As a community we take immense pride in things that are unique to our town and are staples in our community.”

The difference between things like New York cheesecake and Buffalo wings, which both translate well into other food communities, is that Rochester’s plate is so essentially a part of this place that they almost can’t be disconnected.

Perhaps part of the secret to the restaurant’s enduring success is that, like Rochester itself, the garbage plate has a little bit of everything. Anywhere else this would be a disorganized mess, a picnic gone awry, a child chef’s attempt at alchemy. In Rochester, it’s home.