By KEVIN OKLOBZIJA
The first time Alexandria, Va., native Tim Melville heard of a garbage plate, he was perusing Twitter and came across a tweet from the Rochester Red Wings.
The team had tweeted a photo-shopped picture of Bartolo Colon wearing the official garbage plate garb.
Melville, a member of the Red Wings starting rotation, figured since he’ll be wearing a plate on his chest, and cap, on Thursday night, he’d better know what all the fuss is about.
After all, if you’re going to be decked out like a mustard-smothered plate of hamburgers, macaroni salad, home fries and hot sauce, you certainly should have sampled the staple of Rochester cuisine.
The Wings will, for one night, change their name to the Plates and wear garbage-plate uniforms on Thursday night when they play the Norfolk Tides at Frontier Field. It’s their way of honoring the 100th anniversary of the garbage plate, which was “invented” by Nick Tahou.
“I felt I needed to try the original,” Melville said.
And his thoughts on the garbage plate after his recent first trip to Nick Tahou’s?
“It was great,” Melville said. “It’s simple but it’s complicated.”
Infielder/outfielder Niko Goodrum, an Atlanta native, made the quick trip from the ballpark to Tahou’s during a recent homestand for the first plate of his life.
“It had a lot of good things on it that I would eat by themselves, but I would have never thought to put them together,” Goodrum said.
So thumbs up or thumbs down?
“It was alright,” Goodrum said. “But I would have had mine with mac and cheese instead of mac salad, with ketchup drizzled over it.”
Even though the celebratory night is nearly here, not everyone in the clubhouse has sampled a plate yet. Center fielder Zack Granite, who grew up on Staten Island, promises he’ll have one eventually, he just doesn’t see it as the ideal pre-game meal.
“I mean, it’s called a garbage plate, so I don’t think it would be what you’d eat before a game,” Granite said.
Even Wings manager Mike Quade hasn’t tried the most famous indigenous-to-Rochester concoction, despite being in town three seasons.
“I was looking for one on the menu at Char (the East Avenue steak house) but I didn’t find one,” he said with a smile.
He admits he’s more of a each-food-has-its-place-on-the-plate kind of person, not one who mixes it all together. Take the famous sandwiches from Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh, for instance. It’s everything piled on a roll, the turkey or hamburger or bacon along with the fries and cole slaw.
“Awful,” Quade said of his first bite. “I like fries, I like cole slaw, but not together.
“But in honor of this wonderful event, I will definitely have a garbage plate soon.”
He won’t be taking video coordinator Kevin Marable along, however. The Seattle native has no interest.
“I don’t like mac salad, I don’t like ketchup or mustard or whatever, I don’t like meat sauce,” Marable said. “What’s left, hamburgers and french fries? That’s not a garbage plate.”