Nick Tahou Inspired Garbage Plate Pizza

The treadmill will be your friend if you get through a few slices of Garbage Plate Pizza.

Honestly, can you believe these clips. Holy Ouch!

That really hurt.

Back to the Pizza.

I went to college at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY. One of the landmark eateries in Rochester is Nick Tahou’s, the home of The Garbage Plate. A Garbage Plate description is as follows:

“A Garbage Plate is a combination of one selection of cheeseburger, hamburger, red hots, white hots, Italian sausage, chicken tender, fish (haddock), fried ham, grilled cheese, or eggs; and two sides of either home fries, French fries, baked beans, or macaroni salad. On top of that are the options of mustard and onions, and Nick’s proprietary hot sauce, a sauce with spices and slowly simmered ground beef. It’s served with rolls or Italian toast on the side, fresh from the bakery next door. named the Garbage Plate the fattiest food in the state of New York.”

After a night of drinking, Nick Tahou’s was the destination of choice of many of my male college friends.

The guys would hang those empty plates in their dorm rooms, too. Always impressive to see how many some people ate over the course of a semester.

I only went to Nick Tahou’s once (being a Sal’s Bird type of gal instead). Those garbage plates are definitely a sight to behold. What really made me smile was watching the ladle full of grease (yes, grease) that was spooned over each plate right before serving.

Nostalgia got to me and I decided to create Garbage Plate inspired pizza. I knew that my (sober) boyos would love it.

Everyone loved it. As pizzas go, Garbage Plate Pizza is completely over the top.

I topped my pizza with cheeseburgers, French fries, macaroni salad and a good dose of “secret sauce”. (The recipe for the macaroni salad was, by the way, one of the best I have ever tried. Just make that if you want something really good.)

Nick Tahou Inspired Garbage Plate Pizza


8 beef patties, from 2 lbs ground beef
8 slices of white american cheese
Frozen French fries, baked crisp according to bag directions
Macaroni salad (recipe follows or use purchased)
1 medium onion, diced
Yellow mustard
Special Sauce (recipe follows)
2 lbs pizza dough


1. While the fries are baking, cook burgers on a hot greased skillet or seasoned griddle. Flip, and when almost cooked through, melt one slice of cheese on each burger (cook in batches if necessary and keep cooked cheeseburgers warm).

2. Bake the pizza dough according to package directions. I used store bought dough and baked it in a 425℉ oven for about 12 minutes until golden brown.

3. Remove pizza crust from oven. Arrange burgers, fries and macaroni salad on top. Spoon special sauce over. Serve with mustard, ketchup and chopped onion, as desired.

Recipe adapted from Heather Homemade

Macaroni Salad


1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
2 cups dry elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 green onion, sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste


1. In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, cider vinegar and relish.

2. Add the macaroni, celery, carrot, salt, pepper and green onion. Stir to combine. Serve well chilled.

Recipe slightly adapted from 365 Ways To Cook Pasta

Special Sauce


1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 1/2 cup water, plus more as needed
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt


1. In a large skillet, sweat chopped onion and garlic in oil until soft, but not brown. Add meat and break it up, Once the meat browns, add water and tomato paste.

2. Simmer covered, 10 minutes. Add sugar and spices. Simmer 30 minutes, adding water as necessary, to keep the sauce moist but not soupy.

Recipe from Susan Lynch via Heather Homemade

The Macaroni Salad

More Pizza

Music that is not garbage, and most certainly would have been playing in my ears during college, is that of The Sound.

The very first time I ever cried over a musician’s death was when Adrian Borland killed himself. Such an amazing talent, such a tortured soul. The Sound remain one of my favorite bands ever. I love Borland’s solo work as well.
The Sound-Dreams Then Plans

Read about Adrian Borland and The Sound on this website. You can buy The Sound’s music here.


About I Sing In The Kitchen

Music obsessed cooking freak whipping up fab food one song at at time.
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7 Responses to Nick Tahou Inspired Garbage Plate Pizza

  1. Muffy says:

    Thanks for the nostalgia, Tricia. I have many (fine?) memories of Nick Tahou’s – mostly taking the drunken wards from my hall there after mid-night only because they threatened to drive there on their own (was I a good RA or what??) Nick’s is alive and well in Rochester, but I no longer have the stomach for it. The pizza and mac salad look great!

  2. Jimmy Vlahos says:

    Love your pizza pics!! I made my first garbage plate pizza at the Boston House of Pizza back in 1997. I was one of those guys at the UR you described with the empty plates on the wall, only I had to get them signed by server that night. In fact, we’d walk in to W. Main Tahou’s on weekends at 3am and give a wave to Jimmy from behind the 6-deep crowd around the counter and he’d know automatically what we wanted and put our order in. We’d eat then get a plate to go, sometimes getting the OK to pay next time. Then I moved to Boston and despair set in. Long story short, I just launched a new biz to sell my own sauce, called Rochester Plate Sauce. I’d love to send you some in exchange for your thoughts! Heavy Sauce!!! -Jimmy

    • HaHa! I forgot about the signed plates.

      Coincidence…I also lived in Boston. I moved there right after graduation and was there for 8 years.

      That is really cool about your new business. I would love to try your sauce. I am a sucker for all things RaChaCha and any kind of sauce.

  3. noyrproduct says:

    Nostalgia? More like torture. And excellent choice on the period music.

  4. Pingback: Classic Cheeseburger Plate, Nick Tahou Style | I Sing In The Kitchen

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