Reminisce Soda Fountain Diner

I was looking for a socially distant safe place to meet some friends at. Preferably a place with outside seating. In the town of Caledonia, New York — near the western side of Rochester — I found Reminisce Soda Fountain Diner: a classic, 50s style dinner with both inside and outside seating. Perfect.

Reminisce is a small restaurant with a decent amount of indoor seating, but it is a little tight for socially distant seating. As two large groups of diners showed up just before my friends arrived, we were glad that they had copious outdoor seating with picnic tables on the back lawn. So we checked with the hostess and she had no problem with us sitting there. She gave us some menus and said she would be back in a few minutes to take our order. We were the only people back there, so it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.

Reminisce has a pretty extensive menu covering every conceivable type of diner food. From appetizers, hot and cold sandwiches, wraps, burgers and dogs, and comfort food entrees such as meatloaf or fried chicken, Reminisce has it all. They have so many items that it was hard to choose one. House specialty items are marked with a record label; I decided to limit my choices to one of those. But you don’t have to pick just one. With the Reminisce Home style platter you can get 3 of their specialties: meatloaf, chicken and dumplings, and fresh roast turkey and gravy.

One of my friends almost went with the platter. He changed his mind after the waitress informed us they were out of the meatloaf (which I gather is one of their most popular items). Another menu item could have been substituted, but instead my friend ordered the porterhouse steak. Another of my friends did get the chicken and dumplings, a perennial favorite. Both enjoyed their meals.

As for my meal, I very much wanted to try the house smoked pulled pork which was spotlighted on the menu.

Reminisce grilled cheese

I almost ordered the standalone pulled pork sandwich but then I noticed that one of their specialty items, the Reminisce grilled cheese, has the pulled pork along with candied bacon and grilled onions. That was irresistible to me, and I ordered that. I was not disappointed. It was every bit as good as it sounds, and perhaps more so.

All sandwiches come with a side of house made chips, fries, or potato de jour. I wanted something lighter, so I substituted the home made coleslaw. The coleslaw did taste freshly made. It was light, cream based slaw. Just the type of side I was looking for. Other sides include onion rings, corn bread, and macaroni salad – all three are home made.

As you would expect from a restaurant with “soda fountain” in its name, Reminisce does have house made soda drinks. A variety of flavors are offered. I went with the strawberry. It was very fruity and not at all sweet. In fact, it was a bit on the tart side. Just the way I like it.

Appetizers include wings, deep fried pickles, jalapeno poppers, and loaded fries. They all sounded good, but we decided to forgo any in order to save room for dessert.

In addition to ice cream, there are a small selection of home made baked goods available. We ordered a bit of both. I had the peanut butter pie, while my friends ordered the banana cake, a brownie sundae, and the brownie a la mode.

I absolutely loved the peanut butter pie. With a strong peanut butter taste, a thick chocolate frosting, and an oreo cookie base, you could not ask for a better pie. The banana cake was like a carrot cake, but made with bananas instead of carrot. She liked it, but it was not what she was expecting. My other friends liked the brownie and ice cream, although he prefers his brownie more fudge like. The ice cream they server is Gifford’s, a premium ice cream that I have written about before. It is quality ice cream.

Reminisce is copiously decorated with all sorts of knickknacks and other items from the 50s. It makes for a great ambience. And the staff was super friendly and very caring. As they were short staffed that night and several large groups arrived just before us, it took a while for our order to arrive. But the pleasant service and fabulous food more than made up for it. In more normal times, the restaurant has special events such as antique car shows. All together, Reminisce makes for a memorable and unique dining experience.

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