Melissa's on 2nd to start cooking, once way is clear

Despite Rochester road crews turning the street in front of it into sort of a goulash, a new gourmet restaurant is simmering on Second Street Southwest.

You may have already seen the signs while weaving through the road work obstacle course.

Melissa's on 2ndis gearing up to start serving in the historic Victorian home at 723 Second Street S.W. It could open yet this week, depending on the road construction that is currently blocking its entrance.

Melissa Fosterand her fiance, Curt Schuster, are cooking up a fine-dining restaurant that will serve contemporary French cuisine. Foster says Executive Chef Mike Olsonhas crafted a menu that includes signature dishes such as Beef Wellington and Duck a l'Orange.

His from-scratch desserts will include treats like a rich cheesecake that Foster describes as "heavenly" and a red velvet cake.


So why open a gourmet restaurant?

Schuster owns the 122-year-old former farmhouse. When The Restaurantclosed earlier this summer after a two-year run there, he didn't have any possible tenants at hand that could take it over.

That's when he began making plans, says Foster.

"Curt is very much the entrepreneurial type. He looked at me and said, 'So what do you think?' and before I knew it we were in there working on it," she says with a chuckle.

The house-turned-gourmet-eatery can accommodate 45 to 50 diners on the main level and it features small, private dining rooms upstairs.

The couple has remodeled the interior and Foster believes customers will be as pleased with the atmosphere as with the cuisine.

"I think people who have been in there before will be extremely surprised when they return," she says. "We've tried to make it more subdued and elegant. It is more homey and quiet."

Once the way is cleared to open, they plan to start by serving from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The facilities will also be available by reservation for private luncheons and special events like meals for wedding parties.


Foster says it is "a destination" that's perfect for special occasions like anniversaries, engagement parties and birthdays. However, she and Schuster want to be more that just that.

"We've tried to keep our menu reasonable priced," she says. "It is suitable for anyone who would like a fine meal."

This is the latest restaurant to be based in that 1890 home. Before The Restaurant, the well-regarded Chardonnayserved there for many years.

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