The Garbage Truck Brings Rochester Trash Plates to L.A.


Ever since Kogi exploded onto the scene 4 years ago wannabe entrepreneurs have flocked into food trucks of their own, spurred on by the media’s overblown coverage, many of them with no real understanding of what made Kogi a success in the first place.  In other words, there have been a lot of dumb food truck ideas in this city. But there have also been a lot of genius food trucks (I’m looking at you sushi burritos!), and my love of street food keeps me rushing out every time a new one hits the streets.  The latest concept to catch my stomach’s eye (that’s the bellybutton, right?) is The Garbage Truck, a new truck serving up Rochester, New York style garbage plates/trash plates.

What are garbage plates you ask?  Well, imagine going to a Fourth of July picnic, eating as much as you possibly could, throwing it all up onto a plate, and having that throw up taste delicious.  That’s a Rochester garbage plate. Want to see what it looks like?  Of course you do!


Garbage plates are now served in Rochester in many variations, but the standard plate (supposedly first served at Nick Tahou’s) features a base of macaroni salad, baked beans or home fries (you pick two of the three) topped with hot dog and/or hamburger, cheese, a chili-ish meat sauce, and finished with chopped onions and mustard.  The Garbage Truck only serves up macaroni salad and home fries, but you can top your plate with a hamburger, a cheeseburger, a hot dog, an Italian sausage, or chicken- of course (this is L.A. after all!)  Plates are available in half or whole sizes, for $8-10.25.  But the obvious choice is the combo cheeseburger/hot dog plate for $10.


Believe it or not there is a whole cheeseburger patty hiding underneath all that chili and mustard, along with a split hot dog, macaroni salad and home fries. And how did it taste?  Well… it tastes just about how it looks… like a mess of burger, hot dog, chili, mustard, and onions.  The cubed home fries are pretty great and provide a nice base, while the macaroni salad added a refreshing coolness to the whole concoction.  Of course if a mayo drenched macaroni salad is the thing that “lightens” up your lunch, you’re probably in trouble.  I’ve never had a real garbage plate, so I can’t really say how it stacks up, but from all the photos I’ve seen it matches up pretty well.  So if you’ve always wanted to try a garbage plate without having to go to Rochester, here’s your chance.

I’m not sure what possessed these guys to open a garbage plate truck in the skinniest, most anorexia prone city in the country.  And you’ve got real balls to call your business “The Garbage Truck”, especially when most of your customers have no idea what a garbage plate is.  If this truck opened in the far fatter NYC, where much of the city is at least familiar with the concept (and at least a few would actually go nuts for it), the business would have a fighting chance.  But L.A.?  It’s hard enough making money from a truck selling things that people really want.  A regional upstate New York specialty that looks as gross as its name?  I don’t know.

That being said, I have to salute these guys for at least trying to plump up this city with some regional grossness.  And I would pay money to see “The Garbage Truck” run the “The Clean Food Truck” off the edge of a cliff.   Now if we could just get that Skyline Chili truck, we’d never have to venture inward from the coasts…

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • ROCHESTER GARBAGE PLATES IN L.A.!?!?!  My dreams have been answered.
  • It might look gross, but it tastes totally delicious.
  • If Oki Dog can survive in this town, so can the Garbage Truck!

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • I like picnic food, but everything on the plate needs to be separated.
  • I really don’t like chili or yellow mustard… and that’s what this thing mostly tastes like
  • Where are the baked beans!?
  • I’m a communist.

The Garbage Truck, Multiple Locations.  Follow them via Twitter or their website.



  • Any idea if the people who run it are from ROC?

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Why anyone would want to use the word “garbage” for anything food-related is beyond me!

  • This gives me hope we may finally see Zach v. Oki-Dog. Give voice to fat people, LA’s silent majority.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    As a garbage plate afficionado….from the pictures they have gotten the potatoes right (which is difficult)…but they need to work on a couple things:

    1) The drizzling of the mustard on top with the ketchup is blasphemy….it should be slathered onto the hamburger / hot dog with a knife. Then the onions…then the sauce. Ketchup and Hot sauce are optional. Layering of flavors is IMPORTANT!

    2) The price…..Plates are meant to be cheap that is their allure.

    3) The hot sauce (meat sauce) looks thick….it needs to be thin not thick like chili….think of a sauce that can be ladled over the plate rather than spooned.

    4) where is the bread & Butter that is included with all plates?? Where is the PEPSI?

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    5) Those hot dogs better be ZWEIGLE’s

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    The hot dogs must be Zweigles and the sauce is a hot meat sauce (not a chili sauce) and not thick.The original formula comes from Nick Tahou”s on West Main St. Ask some of the celebrities in La that have visited Rochester, NY and they will tell you about it. One of the places to visit. LA truck must be authentic recipe in order to give the true taste test. Tahou’s rocks!

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    This Looks good. NOTE TO THE AUTHOR, its NOT CHILI. its called MEAT HOT SAUCE.. And Im a fan of DogTown’s garbage plates, because they have Seasoned homefries, that are crispy. This is a 1 every 3 weeks meal for me. Its not good for you, but its SO GOOD. (this needs more onions, less mustard, and THE BREAD. MY GOD THE BREAD!!!! Good stuff though.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I have spent most of my life in the Rochester area.

    It is a “meat hot sauce” but it has a lot in common with Cincinnati Chili and is even called that by some of the Rochester restaurants including my favorite local Garbage Plate maker, Dogtown Hots. The stuff in this picture does look awfully thick though.

    I have got to agree with gooniegoogoo about the bread too. If it doesn’t come with cheap junk, “french” bread and butter it isn’t a garbage plate.

    I am really curious to read a review from someone who is familiar with the original because it is impossible to tell from the pictures if the meat sauce and dogs taste right.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Please keep in mind that the plate is originally and always closing-time drunk food. It serves the same role on the frozen north coast that vindaloo and kebabs do for fog-shrouded Londoners.

    Honestly, I love me some Skyline and Gold Star, but if you’re getting Rochester-style hot sauce that you can mistake for something on a four-way, you’re getting REALLY BAD hot sauce.

    The real thing is thinner, quite a bit spicier, entirely lacks the sweet-bitter taste of the Cinci chocolate, had has quite a bit of Kimmelweck-style savor from the caraway.

    Dogtown’s pretty good in their own way, but they’ve spent a lot of time trying to appeal to an upscale customer, and wandered rather far afield in their sauce.

    The canonical sauce used to come form the the old Don&Bob’s in Brighton. Now that they’re gone, try the LDR Char Pit’s probably best,and Don’s (both locations) is getting better. Nick’s and Steve T’s both make decent stuff, of course, but theirs is really meant more to go on a plate than a dog or a burger, so it’s more focused on meat and heat, rather than the subtler spices of something not meant to compete with so many other flavors

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Garbage plates don’t have any Chili of any kind. Chili is disgusting and the meat hot sauce is delicious. Western New York is known for their hot sauces and in other parts of the country they don’t even come close with hot sauces. There really isn’t anything similar to the hot sauce on a garbage to compare it to. It definitely not Chili though!

    The hot dogs and burgers on the same plate seems interesting to me, I usually just get the one with 2 cheeseburgers or sometimes a half plate with one burger.

    I agree that this might be tough to break through in LA. NYC is overdue for one bad. Carb-wise though there’s no bread so it may be close to a chipotle burrito but a plate is far from organic. Also the garbage truck might be a huge turn off for someone who has never heard of it before. I hope this can succeed and it is the best drunk food in the world.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I lived in Rochester for many years and the Garbage Plate is legend. There is no right or wrong to it as long as it has 2 sides, hot dogs and or hamburgs (the hots of course have to be Zwiegles nothing else will work). Onions, home fries and Nicks chili hot dog sauce. The name actually came from some college kids that helped to create the dish. Oh almost forgot you really need to eat this after midnight after a night out on the town. Tradition.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I’m from Rochester. My wife has a food blog and if you want to make your own garbage plates at home, check out this post! My wife was skeptical and she hates her food to touch, but even she loves garbage plates!!

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Nice try, LA, but it ain’t a garbage plate. First, it’s not a chili-ish meat sauce. It’s an authentic Rochester-style HOT sauce. Seconds, onions are part of the deal, not an add-on. Third, mustard, and only if it’s French’s, is an option. Fourth, the original was with 2 grounds. If you want hots, they gotta be Zwiegle’s Pop-Opens, which LA probably has never seen.
    Finally, you never, ever eat one unless it’s from Nick’s, it’s well after midnight, and you have a very strong stomach.
    Geez, I miss those days.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    A garbage plate should NOT be finished with onions, they should be included in the MEAT SAUCE (not chili sauce like this article suggests is used). Also, you people are getting robbed! Almost $11 for a regular sized cheeseburger plate? WHAT!? I can go up to the corner from my house (in Rochester, mind you) and buy a plate fuller than the one pictured for $7.

    I wish this garbage truck thing the best. Other regions should know the taste of a plate, it’s out of this world! One thing I do like is how they call their soft drinks “pop.” They must be from WNY.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Note to anyone purchasing one of these, be it in L.A. or anywhere else, please be aware that you are also required to consume at least a six-pack of Genny Cream Ale while enjoying said Garbage Plate.

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