Restaurant Review: “The Owl House”

Friday nights have inadvertently become our ‘eat out’ night.

I say ‘inadvertently’ because usually we go through the week with really great intentions of creating well planned, healthy dinners. However, Friday rolls around and we both return from an extremely long day of work, so hungry that we are googly-eyed and unable to form a sentence and any intention of cooking at home goes straight out the window.

So, in order to make ourselves feel better, we decided to just go with it and make it an official date night. And we’ve run across some pretty great restaurants in the process!

Last Friday we finally took a trip to a place that I’ve been dying to try called “The Owl House“. Located at 75 Marshall Street in Rochester NY,  “The Owl House” is known for it’s New American cuisine and it’s creative use of locally grown ingredients. It also specializes in vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes (which, I have to say, are still a bit hard to come by in Rochester, NY).

Since the weather was nice, Steve and I opted to sit outside and enjoy the breeze. The outdoor dining space was definitely more informal than the indoor seating – your typical cast iron umbrella tables and chairs. The whole area was fenced in and edged with the beginnings a beautiful flower and herb garden (love seeing home-grown herbs at a restaurant!).

Steve and I started with some of their ‘snacks’ and drinks. I ordered a glass of Reisling and some of their house made pickles, while Steve ordered a Strawberry Lager and their smoked Moroccan Jerky. We also opted to split an order of their Rosemary and Cracked Pepper Fries. 

One thing that we noticed almost immediately was how fresh everything was. And I mean everything. Even the ketchup served with the french fries was distinctly homemade. The pickles (an assortment of pickled vegetables) were crunchy with just a little kick. And the jerky was definitely not your typical packaged leather, but rather bite-sized pieces of smoky, salty meat that was still tender.

Steve and I cheerfully inhaled everything, and then looked up in surprise as the waitress brought out our sandwiches that we had apparently ordered before we became engrossed in our appetizers.

My sandwich selection was the “Matty’s Mustache”, which consisted of warm brie melted over apple, pear,  red onion, and baby arugula, sandwiched between two pieces of lightly grilled sourdough bread spread with a house made dijon.

I usually find myself disappointed in sandwiches – the bread is too hard, or too soggy. The cheese is rubbery from being reheated, the greens are limp and wilted. (My mom tells me that packing my school lunches was a nightmare!) But THIS sandwich was the exception in every way. It was light, incredibly fresh, and each ingredient was able to shine through on it’s own. The whole grain mustard in the dijon gave a nice little kick to the otherwise mellow brie.

All in all: sandwich success!!

The waitress returned to check in and I immediately asked for the dessert menu. Steve, still struggling to finish his order, looked up at me with his classic “I can’t believe you are still eating” face. You’d think after three years he’d realize that not having dessert is simply not an option.

Since the whole meal was on the lighter side of things, I went with their Coconut Strawberry Jam Bar, which was a delicate shortbread crust topped with generously spread strawberry jam, toasted coconut, and a dollop of mint whipped cream. 

This dessert definitely reminded me of one of those ‘made from scratch bars’ that you would find at your grandmother’s house. Simple goodness that was made a little more exciting by the mint in the whipped cream.

Overall, definitely one of the best meals I’ve had in a looong time!

If you haven’t yet been there, I highly recommend making a trip out to The Owl House your number one priority this week!



  1. Did you go to Eastman? I live in Rochester and will have to check out The Owl House.

    • Hi Elise!

      I actually did my undergrad at Roberts and then finished up my graduate work at Naz. I definitely recommend The Owl House! I’ve absolutely loved it every time I’ve been there!

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