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Date night to-do list

Entertainment and eatery suggestions from four married couples of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra

The (585) region is rich with culture and food—but sometimes, we take the work that happens behind-the-scenes for granted. Who are the players on stage and in the pits, really?

Many of them are locals: our neighbors, perhaps, or people we push carts beside in the grocery store. Oh, and it turns out that quite a few artists are also married to each other, which makes their schedules twice as busy.

In light of this, we asked a few couples from the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra to share their favorite local spots for date night (when they’re not busy providing the soundtrack for your date night, of course). 


Wes: In the summer (now’s a good time to think about summer), Shannon and I would start early, with a late afternoon espresso or cappuccino from Joe Bean, and then continue down the street to The Revelry for dinner. We would probably bring at least one bottle of wine, and the white would be a single vineyard Riesling from Red Newt Cellars (in Hector). Afterwards, we would drive out to Shumway Marine for a sunset sail on Daydreamer, an O’day 25 [boat] owned by Shannon’s father. Dessert would likely be Abbott’s at Charlotte Beach, or a Wegmans Ultimate Chocolate Cake enjoyed back home, downstairs in the home theater. 


Liana: Lars and I have been married for five years this past August. My ideal date nightspot would have to be Pane Vino restaurant on Water Street. It is where we had our wedding reception and have gone back to for every wedding anniversary celebration, as their food is exceptional. We cherish every moment spent with our two boys, Max (four years old), and Tyler (six months old), but [I] always look forward to spending some quality time with my wonderful husband as well!

Lars: I enjoy a pretty simple date night with my wife, Liana. A dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and a couple of drinks is always a welcome reprieve from our busy lives. Although getting out by ourselves has been more difficult recently (after the birth of our second son six months ago), we do like to go to a couple of different restaurants.The two that come to mind are 2Vine and Pane Vino. We have always enjoyed the atmosphere at these places, especially when the weather allows for outside seating.When it comes to really simple dates, however, we found a great pizza and pasta place called Fiamma, where you can enjoy authentic Italian food and a good wine selection. I hope Liana and I can spend more time out at our favorite places soon when things settle down a bit with the kids! 


Mark: We are big fans of the theatre, so for us, an ideal date night would include a performance at Geva Theatre Center, where we have been subscribers for over twenty years. Having those dates on our calendar allows us to plan ahead and create a special evening. Our date nights sometimes turn into a family nights because our 16-year-old son is also a theatre fan and budding actor. We have such admiration for the actors, writers, directors, and tech people who work on these productions at Geva. We often find ourselves hoping that the Rochester community appreciates the contributions of the RPO the way we appreciate the great offerings at Geva! We are big fans of the Owl House and Aladdin’s (on the canal, in particular). At both places, the food is reasonably priced, healthy, and with terrific service. Both definitely great places to get the evening started!

Joanna: I’ll second Geva and Aladdin’s as two of my favorites – Aladdin’s on the canal has been our favorite restaurant as long as I can remember. We were sad to see Bill Wahl’s close, but very happy that now Pittsford Dairy has taken its place as a favorite spot for ice cream. Since our schedules involve a lot of juggling and dinners at odd hours, sometimes it’s nice to find time for a quick lunch date at Java’s in the middle of the busy Eastman crowd. As much as I love our old favorites, I also like trying someplace new, or having a cozy dinner at home with friends. 


Erik: For our date night we are more low-key than most. We are fortunate to perform exhilarating concerts every week with the RPO, and these concerts are date nights for many couples in the audience; so when we have a free night we tend to be homebodies. We like to stroll around our Park Avenue neighborhood with our now seven-month old daughter, Kaia, and, after visiting our wonderful local farmers markets to find ingredients, we love to cook new and interesting recipes together at home. 

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