With a name like Purple Goat, the food has to be good, wouldn't you say? Well, it is.
This newest restaurant under the Creative Cuisine umbrella joins Newt's, The Redwood Room, Cafe Rojo and City Market as a Rochester place to enjoy new spins on old favorites.
In fact, this newest venture by brothers David and Mark Currie has quickly become the "go to" spot. Since opening less than two months ago, customers on weekends have numbered between 800 and 1,000. Wait times can be up to an hour, but not so during the week.
So what's bringing crowds in?
Several things: The ambiance in the restaurant itself, a large outdoor patio that is the biggest in town (it also has plenty of heaters) and great menu choices, as well as an attentive staff. It all works together for an exciting venture.
Mark Kranz, the chef as well as a co-owner, is also an experienced recipe developer and responsible for creating several items on the menu, one being the Purple Goat Burger. A consistent best-seller, it combines house-pickled beets, arugula, fried goat cheese, caramelized onion and a horseradish sauce. If it's a burger you're after, there are other creative combinations, but there is also the good old-fashioned classic cheese burger.
Looking over the menu, from sides to salads to entrees, it's clear that creative culinary minds have been hard at work.
About the menu, you may be surprised at the limited number of choices, but much thought went into what they offer.
"We decided that rather than having an extensive menu with myriad items ours would be more limited," Kranz said. "We felt less is more. "
Trust me, there are still great choices and you definitely won't leave hungry.
Also unique is the emphasis on gluten-free. If a particular dish is not already gluten-free, it can be prepared so that it is. Even the Panko used in some coatings is gluten-free, as is the flour used in sauces.
One of the desserts caught my eye -- French Fries and Ketchup. What? It's fried pound cake cut in strips like fries, cinnamon, sugar and then dipped in house-made strawberry rhubarb jam. Who could turn that down? Not me.
The ghosts of Shopko North would not believe what the Purple Goat's owners have done to the space. The decor is low-key and tasteful, understated, and clearly makes it a relaxing place to have lunch or dinner or to meet for a drink.
What is also unique and certainly a draw for young families is a play area in one section of the patio. There is also a game area for adults with a bean bag toss and a large Connect One.
Curious as to who was making up the enormous crowds, it seems it's not any particular demographic. I observed singles, couples on a date, young families, older couples, and since there is senior housing a short walk away, they were in line as well.
"It's a good mix which is what we had hoped for," said Kranz. "We want to appeal to everyone, not just a particular group. That's our goal, and we'll keep working for that."
So what's with the name Purple Goat?
"David Currie's wife's favorite color is purple and goats are his favorite animal, so they just put the two together," Kranz explained. "You have to admit it's catchy and it sticks with you."
That it does.
Food writer Holly Ebel knows what’s cookin’. Send comments or story tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.