City Grill closes to renovate during hotel construction

After vowing to remain open during construction of an adjacent hotel, City Grill Restaurant has decided to close after all and launch a renovation.

The restaurant posted a notice on its website saying it will close on Thanksgiving and plan to renovate and consider reopening when the Courtyard by Marriott is completed, which is scheduled for fall 2020. The restaurant at East Avenue and Alexander Street has been open for five years.

Patrons were invited to enjoy the restaurant one more time Wednesday night before the closing.

“After much deliberation the owners and management have made the decision to close due to complications from the coinciding re-construction of what was East Avenue Inn and Suites,” the notice read, and noted that it doesn’t have a specific date for reopening.

The management also noted that event spaces in the building will continue to operate at Ballroom 384 during the renovations.

“The current goal of the team is to use these two renovation efforts as a way to be a catalyst for the re-brand of East and Alex,” the notice read.

A spokesman for the City of Rochester, Justin Roj, issued this statement on the closing: “We understand that the ongoing construction has greatly impacted the restaurant’s parking and access to the site. However, the ownership team’s investment in the new hotel and their plans to reopen the restaurant demonstrate the continued economic growth in the East End and throughout Downtown Rochester.”

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Eat Up Rochester is the newest incarnation of a local restaurant week

Rochester Downtown Development Corp. is launching a restaurant week in Rochester next week, hoping to bring more business to the city’s restaurants while encouraging local residents to try something new.

During “Eat Up Rochester,” which runs from Monday through Sunday, participating restaurants will offer special menus hitting previously-agreed-upon price points, such as a $10 lunch, $20 brunch, or dinners for $20, $30 or $40. Some restaurants offer multiple meal menus while others offer just one.

“We hope it celebrates the city of Rochester and all the different neighborhoods,” said Sydney Aspenleiter, marketing and communications coordinator for RDDC.  In its first year, 21 Rochester restaurants are participating. In Buffalo, where a biannual restaurant week has been going on for some time and is happening this week, more than 200 restaurants are included. Buffalo’s event includes restaurants beyond the city limits and deep into Erie and Niagara counties.

Rochester's local restaurant week is April 23-29.
Rochester’s local restaurant week is April 23-29.

In some cases in Rochester, the menus are quite a bargain. Morton’s the Steakhouse, for instance, is offering a four-course $40 dinner featuring either a pork chop, filet mignon, salmon or chicken.  The filet mignon normally sells for more than $40 on its own.

Aspenleiter said some restaurants weren’t familiar with the concept of a restaurant week and didn’t offer such a deep discount. The hope was scheduling the event in April, which is normally a slower month for eating establishments, would pick up business.

Participants can check out the menus online before deciding on where to go for an Eat Up Rochester meal.

Generally there are at least two choices for each category on the menus. For example, City Grill’s Eat Up Rochester menu allows diners to choose one each from a list of four appetizers, four entrees and three desserts. The price is $30 at that restaurant for the three-course dinner.

Morton’s general manager, Brandi Williams, said Morton’s has participated in restaurant weeks in other locations and gained new business. Therefore, it seemed like a good idea to participate in Eat Up Rochester, especially as Morton’s has only been open here since October.

“We find that being so new to the community, this would be a good way to expose ourselves to a variety of different demographics to Rochester,” she said. “It’s a way of marketing ourselves in a different kind of way.”  The special event encourages people to come in when they might not otherwise, and then get wowed, she said.

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