Photography by Meghan Marin of Meghan Marin
Tells us your name, age and what you do.
Breanna Banford, 28, Yelp Rochester Community Director
Give us a little of your history.
I was born in the midwest and my family made their way to Rochester when my dad got a job here. I spent my adolescence and formative years in Honeoye Falls, which is where I graduated high school. After going out of state for college, I moved back to Rochester in 2010 where I worked at Xerox for 2.5 years before I made the jump to Yelp. I've been the community manager here for 4 years now and love every minute of it.
Tell us more about what you do.
As Yelp Rochester’s Community Director, I focus on bringing our local Yelp community offline by connecting people to great local businesses hosting events, establishing marketing partnerships, and supporting business owner outreach in the Rochester area. I think the best part about Yelp and what sets it apart is the community — the locals who are interested in exploring new things, visiting new and old businesses, hidden gems, and everything in between. I like building bonds between people who live, breathe, and experience all things Rochester. There are so many business owners doing things to change our city for the better, create roots here, and celebrate what makes us great. In a variety of ways, I introduce the Yelpers to those people and find ways to bring all of us together to learn about how we all tick and what drives us to make our community stronger.
What are your favorite things about Rochester?
Where do I begin? I love that this city pulled me back in. Growing up in the suburbs, you get a different experience of life here. I always felt isolated living so far from the action. I assumed that meant I was destined to live in a huge city like New York. But when I moved downtown after college, I really fell in love with Rochester and how much it was evolving, plus it's such a manageable size — I could try everything I wanted, I didn't feel like I was missing out. To see first hand the growth of the food and drink scene, center city development, and collaboration among so many great businesses and communities inspires me everyday. That camaraderie and commitment to the community is what keeps me here.
If we're really going to dive into my faves, I have a lot of love for good food and drinks. A few of my favorite restaurants right now include Empanada Shop on Monroe Ave (get the beef and cheese empanada), Thai Mii Up in Irondequoit, Rocco for their ricotta and intimate atmosphere, Atlas Eats (try one of their Edible Atlas dinners and brunch is a must!), all things Good Luck and Apogee — they're my home base for friend hangs and good drinks on the weekends. Everything is so accessible. That includes quick trips to other parts of New York like the Finger Lakes, hiking in the Adirondack's, Ithaca, the list goes on.