Dan Mason wasn’t sure what to expect last August when the Rochester Red Wings hosted their first “Plates Night,” a tribute to a local popular delicacy creatively called the Garbage Plate. Sure, the Red Wings general manager was familiar with the success of other franchises adopting the moniker of favorite foods — see Tacos in Fresno and Bacon in Lehigh Valley — and he hoped for a similar response in Rochester when the team swapped their Red Wings name for a dish created a century ago.
The response, it turned out, went beyond Mason’s expectations. It was one for the books. The Red Wings, or rather the Plates, welcomed the fifth-largest crowd in Frontier Field history on Aug. 10 — 13,281 fans to be exact, just shy of the record 13,723 set in 1997 for an exhibition against the Baltimore Orioles.
“People love their Garbage Plates,” Mason said yesterday of the dish made famous at Nick Tahou Hots restaurant that consists of home fries topped with macaroni salad, two hamburger patties or hot dogs, hot sauce, onions, ketchup and mustard. “It’s something people in Rochester are very proud of.”
So, it is certainly no surprise that Plates Night is playing a prominent role on the Red Wings’ promotional schedule this season. In fact, Rochester will be donning their Plates jerseys for every Thursday home game, beginning this evening with “Plates Opening Night.” While Mason doesn’t expect the team to make a run at the attendance record again tonight, particularly on a school night when temperatures are still a bit chilly, he does have high hopes for a packed promotion.