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Sipping with Rochester Locals

MEL ORIOLI, @feedmeroc

Mel Orioli of Feed Me Rochester has worked in the social media industry since 2014 and is now a content strategist full-time. Inspired by a presentation at work years ago, Mel decided to start her own Instagram page to showcase local businesses and restaurants in the Rochester community and Finger Lakes Region. Passionate about small businesses, Mel uses her platform to help them become known to a wider audience.

Since her Instagram page has taken off, a growing number of businesses in the Rochester and Finger Lakes communities have partnered with Mel. She works with local home bakers, hosts giveaways for small businesses, and highlights new menu items. Mel also networks with other food influencers in the area.

Mel recognizes that Rochester is a tight-knit community, and she works to get businesses and restaurants the recognition they deserve! As a remote worker, Mel’s always trying out different places around Rochester to sit and work. This has led her to many coffee shops and cafés in the area!

mel’s go-to drinks

• A delicious iced matcha latte from Anyone’s Cafe in the South Wedge

• A refreshing iced coconut green tea from Village Bakery at the Armory

• A hot matcha latte topped with cinnamon from Cafe Sasso on Park Ave

. . .

Mel recommends nibbling a chocolate croissant or a cheese Danish—any sweet pastry really—while sipping one of these!


JASMINE FLOWERS, @Caffeinated_Jazz

Jasmine Flowers has been a barista in Rochester for a decade. After starting her career at Starbucks, Jasmine’s since moved to smaller coffee shops and cafés throughout the Rochester area. She’s worked at Towpath Café and FairPour in Fairport, Mellow Mug in Bushnell’s Basin, and Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters in Pittsford Plaza. She’s now a barista at Union Place Coffee Roasters!

Learning more about coffee, Jasmine was trained by a professional latte artist. As she began to transform simple lattes into pieces of art, she posted more and more pictures of her work on her Instagram page. Jasmine’s eye-catching talents branched out when coffee shops and cafés asked her to take over their social media pages and host workshops for their employees.

Thanks to many moving parts, jobs in the coffee community are plentiful. Jasmine hosts events that provide a dose of coffee education: introducing herself to new cafés, hosting classes for new baristas, and holding what are known as “latte throwdowns!”

She’s hosted a latte throwdown at Tree Town Café in Brighton and donated funds to the Uganda Water Project, another at Hollycake House in East Rochester (a wonderful vegan bakery!), and yet another at Mamaste Café and Play in Hilton, a new family-friendly café. Jasmine also hosts events for kids to learn about coffee and coffee art!

Jazmine’s go-to drinks

• A Sun Salutation from Ugly Duck, this is a delicious turmeric, ginger, maple, cinnamon drink with milk

• A New Orleans cold brew from Union Place Coffee Roasters. This drink is a delicious cold brew that is made with a dark roast blend, steeped with chicory and cinnamon sticks, and topped with a sweet maple foam

• A shot of expresso from Mamaste Café and Play’s Dallas Corte espresso machine.

. . .

Jasmine recommends pairing with a cranberry orange muffin or a pumpkin spice scone!


STEPHANIE HANNA, @sipandsavourroc

Stephanie Hanna grew up in a large Greek and Macedonian family where food was always a big part of her life. Most of her memories growing up are associated with seeing her grandmother cook food and enjoying a meal with her family at the dinner table. Because of these fond memories, about seven years ago, Stephanie and a friend decided that starting an Instagram page would be a great way to highlight restaurants in the Rochester area.

After two years, Stephanie decided that she could really make a difference with her influence in Rochester’s restaurant industry. Stephanie’s most interested in showcasing chefs behind the scenes, making the connection to who is actually making the food in the restaurants we dine in. Stephanie also feels strongly about connecting with organizations and giving back!

Stephanie’s biggest success has been her Chef Throwdown Series. She started running this event four years ago, and it involves several chefs competing both individually and in teams. Held at various venues, those in the Rochester community are invited to come, eat samples, make connections with chefs, and place votes. All proceeds are donated to charity.

Stephanie also organizes pairing events (like beer and donuts!) and will be hosting a mocktail competition on September 22, 2022. She is co-running this event with friend Casey Bowker, who is the founder of ROConnoisseur. Stephanie is passionate about shedding light on this decision many people make for their health.

Stephanie has also cowritten two cookbooks with Casey Bowker. After releasing A Seat at the Table, they decided to come out with a second volume. These books feature recipes from local restaurant chefs, bartenders, and baristas. Highlighting inclusivity, both books include recipes for vegetarians, vegans, those who are gluten-free, and more!

stephanie’s go-to drinks

• A cinnamon bun latte from Tree Town Café

• A Bait & Switch mocktail from Velvet Belly

• A “bartender’s choice” (mix a concoction - not sweet) from Nosh

• A Dragon’s Nectar Kombucha from Happy Guy Sanctuary

. . .

Stephanie suggests sampling an Amazing Grain or a Flower City Bread Croissant with your drink of choice!


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