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Garbage Plate

The humorously named “garbage plate” was developed by Greek immigrant Alex Tahou at his restaurant, Nick Tahou Hots. The restaurant, founded in 1918, was named for the founder's son, and remains a famous Rochester, New York, landmark. First called “hots and potatoes,” the notoriously greasy garbage plate began as a “kitchen sink”-style dish. A pair of hamburger patties or hot dogs were served on top of a number of sides, piled high with a meat-based hot sauce, and served with thick slices of Italian bread. According to legend, a group of local college students requested “the plate with all the garbage on it,” and the name “garbage plate” was born. It was trademarked in 1992. The dish is sold at hamburger joints throughout the Greater Rochester Area, but is scarcely available outside of the city.

Recipe Servings: 4

Prep Time
40 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time
2 hours
Gluten Free
Dairy Free


Macaroni Salad:
  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
Meat Hot Sauce:


    For Macaroni Salad:
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add macaroni.
  2. Cook for 9–12 minutes until done.
  3. Drain and cool.
  4. In a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  5. Stir in macaroni and celery, green pepper, and onion.
  6. For Fries:
  7. Microwave the quartered potatoes, covered, for 4 minutes. Allow the softened potatoes to cool.
  8. Chop the potatoes into ½-inch pieces.
  9. In a medium frying pan, warm oil and butter over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes and fry until all sides are crispy.
  10. Coat potatoes evenly with paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  11. For Meat Hot Sauce:
  12. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and fry until softened.
  13. Add the ground beef. Stir to break up any clumps. Cook until brown.
  14. Add water and tomato paste. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the sugar and spices and simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Add water if the mixture gets dry.
  15. Remove the sauce from heat and cool. Process with a blender or food processor until nearly smooth.
  16. For Cheeseburgers:
  17. Form the ground beef into 4–6 ¼-inch patties. Generously season with salt and black pepper.
  18. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. When the butter is hot, add the burger patties. The meat should sizzle when it touches the pan.
  19. Cook the meat for 3–4 minutes, and then flip. Top with cheese, which will melt while the bottom of the burger cooks for an additional 4 minutes.
  20. For Assembly:
  21. Prepare the garbage plates by laying one scoop of cold macaroni salad next to one portion of hot home fries.
  22. Add two cheeseburgers on top of the macaroni and home fries.
  23. Top with meat hot sauce, which should be served hot. Top the entire plate with chopped onions.



Top with ketchup, yellow mustard, and hot sauce and serve with buttered slices of warm Italian bread.  

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