A new downtown Rochester restaurant is gearing up to open the day after Christmas with its sister eatery to follow in February.
The Porch, a new "urban farm fare" concept being launched by ZZest Chef Justin Schoville, Jason Zubayand Lindsay Zubay,has announced it will open its doors at 20 Fourth St. SE on Dec. 26.
The Porch is located on the main level of 115-year-old Chicago Great Westernrailroad depot, on the Zumbro River just across from downtown. The historic depot most recently was occupied by El Loro,a Mexican restaurant that closed last winter.
"Proper" fried chicken, smoked meats, fresh fish, shrimp, grits and sandwiches will top the "Meat and Potatos" section of The Porch's menu. The atmosphere is described as "casual and rustic."
The old depot also features a cozy basement area, where the trio has another project — The Cellar— cooking. It will serve an array of craft cocktails along with an extensive wine selection plus "dynamic chef-driven small plates" and gourmet burgers.
The hope is to open the "swanky" Cellar in February.
The Zubay siblings are coming into this new restaurant duet project with plenty of firsthand and family experience. Their parents, LeeAnn and Jerry Zubay, are the forces behind the wildly popular Zzest Cafe, plus they helped create several other Rochester dining favorites.
It looks like 2017 might be a good year for Rochester's Chicago transplants hungry for a taste of home.
The Chicagoland iconic diner brand Portillo'ssays it is targeting Rochester for a future location.
Portillo's is known for its Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, cheese fries and chocolate cake. The first Minnesota location of Portillo's is expected to open in Woodbury in July.
When announcing the Woodbury timeline, Portillo's told reporters they also are looking for Minnesota spots in Rochester, Maple Grove, Eagan and St. Cloud.