A mayor and his garbage plate.

Ithaca, N.Y. — Cody Adams was having a blast.

The prep-chef at an Ithaca diner and his boss were throwing together a Rochester-style “garbage plate:” macaroni salad on the bottom layer; a hamburger steak and hotdog above that; capped off with hot sauce, meat sauce, mustard and onions.

A female co-worker wasn’t having any of it.

A mayor and his garbage plate.
A mayor and his garbage plate.

“We’re making this concoction right in the middle of the kitchen,” Adams said with a laugh.

“She started yelling, ‘Stop fooling around with this nonsense! You’re never going to win that prize!’ ”

It’s unclear if Adams’ co-worker was right to call the whole affair “nonsense.”

But she was wrong about the prize. On Friday morning, Mayor Svante Myrick confirmed that he’ll award the key to the city to the first restaurant that made him a Rochester-style garbage plate.

The winner has been declared: It’s the Lincoln Street Diner, on Ithaca’s north side.

Adams, of Newfield, began working at the Lincoln Street Diner as a dishwasher about three years ago. He worked his way up to prep-chef in about a year-and-a-half. In one day, he’ll now get access to the city’s most powerful office.

Adams saw an Ithaca Voice story last night that quoted the mayor as telling the magazine Edible Finger Lakes, “I will give the key to the city to the first restaurant in Ithaca that makes a garbage plate, Rochester style … I’ll make a proclamation.  Cut a ribbon. Whatever it takes.”

Adams took the idea to his boss. They agreed to do it.

The Lincoln Street Diner opens around 6 a.m. Sometime after Adams and his boss finished making the garbage plate, the boss drove it over to the mayor’s office, took it to the top floor of City Hall, and left it with the mayor’s assistant around 8:30 a.m.


“He said, ‘Oh, okay, we’re just leaving this for the mayor in case he wants it,’ ” Adams said.

That he did. Myrick has sent a photo of himself, smiling, looking down at what had not existed in Ithaca previously.

Gorgers Subs and Moosewood Restaurant also said on social media that they planned on making Rochester-style garbage plates. Myrick said he still hopes Gorgers and Moosewood, which wanted a vegetarian option, serve the meal.

The keys to the city, however, will go to the Lincoln Street Diner.

Though the prize might not be exactly what Adams was expecting.

“Yeah,” Myrick said when asked for the diner’s prize, “They can have the keys to my office if they want.”

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.