The Main Street Makeover has brought a lot of changes to downtown Rochester.
So you may have missed the grounded plane.
Sure, you might think it looks like a restaurant, but to Tower Bistro owner Shelly Anderson, all it's missing are the wings.
"I was a flight attendant for 16 years on the big aircrafts to Asia so I would say this, Tower Bistro, is my grounded plane," Anderson said. "Just like on the plane, all I want is for my customers to be happy and come back."
Part of that customer happiness came in the form of Rochester's first bistro license which allows smaller restaurants to get liquor licenses by investing at least $75,000 in renovations or upgrades.
"Everyone was asking me for a beer with their pizza," Anderson said, "I'm happy that people can now have their favorite beer with their favorite pizza."
New menu, new dining room
Tower Bistro is the former Tower Pizza. Besides the new name, Tower Bistro is also sporting a brand new dining area, a new rear entrance and a new menu.
"I hired a new chef and together we came up with a new menu," Anderson said. "It includes fish entrees, pasta dishes and salads along with all the old favorites."
The menu also includes gluten-free pizza, gluten-free beer and a gluten-free chocolate cake that Anderson said "is to die for."
Anderson's favorite new dish is the Bistro Mussels with coconut milk, chili paste, cilantro and lemongrass.
She's excited to serve it tonight in the beautifully remodeled dining room. The space had previously been storage but now is decorated with reds, golds and black in metal, wood and tile. It seats 38.
"We kept the exposed brick. The wood is from the Amish in Saginaw. I think it feels homey," Anderson said. (Writer's Note: It knocked my socks off!)
The dining area also features an overhead stage, fondly called "The Crow's Nest."
"We plan on having live entertainment up there," Anderson said.
The new dining area can be reached through the back alley or, for now, through the Main Street entrance.
Out in front, the old dining area is undergoing a remodel that will transform it into a bar with an all-glass storefront.
And while the guys on Main Street are digging up pieces of history, so is Anderson.
"We were removing the old drop ceiling that was put in during the 1960's and between that ceiling and the original tin ceiling is the wallpaper from the previous owners, a bakery," Anderson said.
They also found the State of Michigan Sales Tax License from the bakery, Mac Innis Don's Pastry Shoppe, which expired in 1957.
Anderson plans on having it framed and hung in the new bar.
One thing that hasn't changed is the kitchen size at Tower Bistro. Although it's on the small side, Anderson has no problem with it.
"Have you ever seen the size of the kitchen on an airplane?" she said with a laugh.
Tower Bistro (formerly Tower Pizza) is located at 334 N. Main. They can be reached at 248-651-4660.