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Northampton, MA


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Good to hear your opinion abt Patrick Shannon. I'll give his new place a try on the basis of those thoughts.

I completely forgot abt Mi Tierra. Love that place. Having never lived in Central America or the SW, I can't comment on authenticity. All I know is that it is a great value for the money. (And they're nice to kids, which is a major bonus in my world).

Our newest discovery abt Herrell's: If you like one of their occasional flavors, they'll call you when they have made it and have it in stock. My wife said the best voicemail she got all week was when Herrell's called and told her that they had her favorite flavor available.

Have never tried sandwiches from Atkins. Another addition to the list. (If there's room after the donuts).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Went to Patrick Shannon's new place in Florence, Side Street Cafe, for lunch. He has a nice set-up: a sit-down cafe as well as a case with prepared foods to-go. It was pleasant at lunch but I have to go back to see how a dinner setting feels.

Food was very good. A very flavorful tomato consomme (I was skeptical but it was good) and 2 very good sandwiches (reuben and pork loin). The entire sandwich menu looks good and they say that they roast their turkey and beef in house.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Four of us tried to get into NoHo against Saturday traffic this past weekend, thinking we'd dine at Spoleto's, but lost the battle of Rte. 9 and dropped into Carmelina's for an early dinner.

This was the favorite place to splurge for an old buddy of mine and his future bride, both of whom went to UMass. I don't see him much anymore, but he always told me to go there, though I always kept driving by. Carmelina's either looks rundown and forlorn in its dusty parking lot, or else impossibly overcrowded.

To cut to the chase, it was really very good mostly northern Italian, with fast, smooth service and a great piano player at that early hour. We had nice, crisp calamari (with chunks of raw jalapeno instead of the usual pickled peppers, actually kind of nice), pillowy gnocchi, a fresh-looking pasta dish with sausage, and a very tender lamb shank sauced with enough demi-glace to give it a nice, gamy, gummy feel.

Unremarkable pre-packaged dessert (Meyer Lemon mousse), good espresso and $10 in tips to the piano man finished off a great evening.

Compared to the other places around, this seemed to attract an older, very regular crowd, though again that may have been due to the early hour.

--L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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This thread makes me nostalgic for my college days ten (gasp!) years ago.

Some favorites:

Cha Cha Cha! It recently changed owners, but the food is still dirt cheap and amazing, now with more of an Asian influence.

Joe's for cheapo, garlicky Italian

Teapot for yummy sushi

There's an Indian place down a side street off King, somewhat close to Smith College. Wish I could remember the name. It's in a small house and absolutely fantastic.

Aqua Vitae on Route 9 is an old-school dive, but has some really tasty pizzas and other assorted Italian dishes.

in Amherst, try Bueno Y Sano for excellent cheap burritos and Pinocchios for both takeout and upscale Italian.

As others have echoed, Atkins Farm is the quintessential New England farmstand. Great cakes and pastries, too.

Down the road a bit farther in Holyoke or Easthampton is a nice upscale restaurant called Delaney House. YUMMY!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm heading to TJ Buckley's in Brattleboro for my birthday dinner this weekend and will post a review of it, afterwards...

But I just wanted to say (if I haven't mentioned it on this thread already): the WOODSTAR CAFE on Masonic St. in Northampton. Fabulous homemade breads and great sandwiches (try the roast beef!); good coffee... I have made a Sunday morning ritual of their Cinnamon Raisin toast.

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sooooooooo what did you think of TJ Buckley's.

(I agree, the roast beef sandwich at Woodstar [the Thunderbolt I believe?] is exceptional)

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  • 11 months later...

It looks like it has been almost a year since someone wrote on this topic, but here's the latest news that I have from the restaurant scene in Northampton, MA.

Just yesterday, I telephoned Green Street Cafe in Northampton, MA to make lunch reservations and received this message on their answering machine, "Hello. This WAS Green Street Cafe. We are not open now or in the forseeable future. Leave a message if you need to."

I was sad to learn this news. I have been watching the progression of businesses closing on Green Street as Smith College is building a new Engineering and Sciences Hall, and I guess the cafe is the latest casualty of this building program.

Green Street Cafe was my favorite place in town to meet family and friends at lunchtime. The atmosphere was relaxing, and the food was generally fresh (they harvested vegetables and herbs from their own garden) and nicely prepared (French bistro and other foreign influences were in evidence), although the cuisine seems to have been on the decline for the past year or so.

For those of you who live nearby and visit the town more often than I, do you have any suggestions for a replacement lunch meeting place? It seems many of the nicer restaurants, like East Side Grill and Spoleto, do not serve lunch, and those that do are very casual . I would appreciate any help or further information on this topic.

"Some ladies smoke too much and some ladies drink too much and some ladies pray too much, but all ladies think that they weigh too much."

From a poem by Ogden Nash - Curl Up and Diet

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The Green St situation is disappointing. Though I keep hearing different stories. Last thing I heard was that they had made all of their required fixes and had re-opened, but your phone call would contradict that. I have not been or called myself.

My strongest recommendation, after Green St, would be Zen. Zen is a nice Pan-Asian place for lunch. The food is reliable (and, more often than not, excellent). The space is very pleasant and welcoming.

Would you mind a good sandwich and/or soup? Woodstar Cafe on Masonic is the type of bakery/coffee shop that every town deserves. THe sandwiches are excellent and it's a wonderful spot. It's biggest problem is that it's often busy, although I'm sure everywhere will be busy w/ the parade this weekend.

Paul and Elizabeth's is popular among a number of folks I know, but I've never been myself.

Other than that, yes, you're looking at casual and ethnic places open for lunch.

However, if you are coming this weekend, it may be worth a call into the nicer places to see if they'll be open b/c of the parade.

Good luck.

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Thanks for your suggestions, dscott. I am planning a lunch for a weekday, not this upcoming weekend, so I still have some time.

I am not familiar with the ZEN restaurant. I remember that there was a Chinese restaurant, I believe it was called SZE's, in the location where Spoleto is now. And there used to be a Thai restaurant on Main Street, but I believe that is long gone, too.

I would not mind a soup and sandwich place, and Woodstar Cafe sounds good for that, but I would most like a comfortable, relaxing setting where we can sit around the table and chat for a while. I have tried Sylvester's many years ago. The food was o.k., and it was busy and noisy. How does Woodstar Cafe compare?

I have also tried Paul and Elizabeth's and was not that impressed with either the food or the setting, but it did afford the time and space to sit and chat.

I also read that the owners of the Green Street Cafe had some problems with their liquor license and are moving the cafe to their home and garden!? This does not sound right.

"Some ladies smoke too much and some ladies drink too much and some ladies pray too much, but all ladies think that they weigh too much."

From a poem by Ogden Nash - Curl Up and Diet

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Based on your comments, Zen's your spot. I find it very relaxing and it's comfortable enough (no couches or anything like that, however).

Woodstar is just as busy as Sylvester's and it's more cramped, so it's not particularly comfortable. Frankly, it's a great place to grab a sandwich and coffee for an in-town picnic. Usually, I'm a big Sylvester's fan for casual breakfast and lunch, but the food has been simply average on my last several visits.

If you have any reason to be heading toward Amherst, I think that Esselon Cafe on Rte 9 in Hadley does fit your bill. I've never found it noisy, even when it's busy, and on a nice day there's both a nice porch and patio. It's a welcome addition to the area. Plus, the food and coffee are both very good.

Having said all of that, in Northampton, Zen is my go-to nice lunch spot.

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Thanks again for your help. Sounds like ZEN is worth a try. I shall miss Green Street, though, as all things must come to an end at some time.

"Some ladies smoke too much and some ladies drink too much and some ladies pray too much, but all ladies think that they weigh too much."

From a poem by Ogden Nash - Curl Up and Diet

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  • 1 month later...

We're visiting from PA and going to try Pizzaria Paradiso tonight. I love wood fired pizza, but their prices seem rather high for pizza, About $20 for a 16" pie with a topping or two? I think tomato, basil and cheese is $16.95.. I'll give it a try as I love a great pizza and I guess I'm willing to pay, but..... I hear it's not unusual to stand in line for a table. Must be great pizza!

We went to Eastside Grill Wednesday night and had a really nice meal. I'd say their prices are the opposite of Paradiso's. They have SEVERAL wines for under $20/bottle. My son had a NY Strip, about 12 oz. that he said was done perfectly for about $18.95. I had a warm seafood salad that was done just right and had a very nice tomato based broth. My son had dessert too. So Steak and Seafood, bottle of wine all for about $72, and it was good. One warning, the coffee was terrible...

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Well, went to Pizzaria Paradiso and wasn't impressed at all. Had a Caesar salad which wasn't bad. They seem to make their own dressing which is a plus, but there was too much garlic for my tastes. The first several bites were fine, but it built up to where I was glad I was finished when I finished... if that makes sense. So I ordered the Margherita which was tomato, cheese, basil and olive oil for $17.95 (16"). The tomatoes were tasteless (no sauce, just sliced plum tomatoes) and the crust bland. The crust was thin, almost cracker like and so tough that my jaw was sore from chewing after several slices. I have no idea what the excitement is about. Still looking for a good pizzaria in the Northampton area. I was really excited when I saw the wood fired oven, but..... they don't seem to have the skills to use it.

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I'm headed for Hatfield, MA for business in July and am looking for good dinner spots. I'm from NC and don't know the area and driving distances, but I will have a car and it appears Northhampton is nearby. Suggestions?

Thanks!

Debbie

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Yep, I'd say it's all pretty much in this list. Green St. Cafe has closed, unfortunately, and a few other places have changed hands. My the preference order would be:

TJ Buckleys

Blue Heron

Circa

Del Raye

I've heard that Chez Albert in Amherst is great (maybe better than TJ Buckleys), but I haven't tried it.

Of course, the Smithsonian in Hatfield has that country charm.

July? Take a drive around and look at how lucky we are to have all the great farm stands in Hatfield and Whately.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Chez Albert is lovely... Simple, mostly French food, local vegetables... Bistro-ish atmosphere.

In Northampton, I'd also recommend Sierra Grill, on Strong Ave. It was new as of a year ago; wonderful selection of beers and the best Belgian-style fries I've found in the Valley (get them with the DUCK GRAVY!)...

Sadly, one of my favorite restaurants in Hatfield burned down last month... RIP "Holy Smokes," a great BBQ joint that was housed in a historic church...

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  • 1 month later...

I have some good news to share. Just yesterday I received a postcard from the proprietors of Green Street Cafe, John and Jim, announcing their plans for a reopening in their former space sometime in early October. This is what they had to say:

"Dear Green Street Friends,

We are thrilled to be reopening in our old space and plan to do so in early October. There is a problem. After being closed for seven months we are short of funds. But, we have a solution. You are invited to prepay for your dinners (or lunch or Sunday Brunch ) and receive a 10% discount. Just sent a check to:

Green Street Cafe 64 Green Street Northampton, Massachusetts

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

John & Jim"

Several months ago, I followed dscott's advice and tried ZEN. Although I enjoyed the Pan-Asian food, my fellow diners were not as adventurous and declined to return there on our next visit to Northampton. Plus, the atmosphere at ZEN was just not as relaxing and pleasant and conducive to conversation as was the ambiance at Green Street Cafe. So I am happy that they are going to be back in business and look forward to eating there once again. I am not sure how the prepayment arrangement is going to work. Does anyone else have any information about what is going on with the continuing saga of Green Street Cafe and their struggle to survive?

"Some ladies smoke too much and some ladies drink too much and some ladies pray too much, but all ladies think that they weigh too much."

From a poem by Ogden Nash - Curl Up and Diet

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  • 3 months later...

Has anyone been to the Green Street Cafe since they reopened on October 24, 2007? There has been no activity on this board for some time, so I am wondering if there is any restaurant news in the Northampton area?

"Some ladies smoke too much and some ladies drink too much and some ladies pray too much, but all ladies think that they weigh too much."

From a poem by Ogden Nash - Curl Up and Diet

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I recently received a postcard with news from John and Jim at The Green Street Cafe about the opening of their Wine and Cheese Bar at the end of this month:

"Beginning on Thursday, January 31, in conjunction with the opening of our new wine and cheese bar, Green Street Cafe is pleased to invite the public to our staff wine tastings. Wine expert Don Williams will conduct classes featuring the wines of Southwest France, Spain, and Portugal....We will also be introducing some unique and wonderful Spanish cheeses along with our favorite regional cheeses."

Has anybody been to the Green Street Cafe in the past several months who could report on what has been happening since their reopening at the end of last October? What is the quality of the food, the service, and the general dining experience? I am also wondering about how the construction is proceeding next door to the Cafe and if it is very noisy there during the lunch hours?

I would greatly appreciate any information or updates from egulleters who live in the Northampton area and have anything to report of interest about the Green Street Cafe or other Northampton restaurants. It appears that the thread on this topic of Great Restaurant Recommendations in Northampton has been nearly dead for months--since the summer of 2007--and there surely must be some restaurant news to report on the Northampton scene, especially for the new year of 2008!

"Some ladies smoke too much and some ladies drink too much and some ladies pray too much, but all ladies think that they weigh too much."

From a poem by Ogden Nash - Curl Up and Diet

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Sad to say, we've been disappointed in most of our Northampton eating experiences lately..........so we've been sticking to our casual favorites: Jake's for breakfast/brunch and Caminito for their fantastic skirt steak and Argentinean wines. We used to go to Del Raye for the occasional Saturday night dinner and some of the Wine dinners, but even the quality there has been slowly slipping,

We've never been huge Green Street Cafe fans, but the Wine and Cheese bar does sound like something we'd enjoy. Will report back if we end up going there.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Have not been to the Green Street Cafe since it (reportedly) reopened.

In the meantime, I can recommend for breakfast: Sylvesters in Northampton, The Lone Wolf across the river in Amherst and Esselon Cafe about half way between the two in Hadley. All are excellent. There tend to be waits for breakfast, except during college vacation periods when all of the students and many other people are away, but it's worth it.

Esselon is also open now for dinner -- Tuesday through Saturday I believe.

My all-time favorite dinner place in Northampton is the Del Raye. Someone reported here that's it's gone down hill but that has not been my experience. I've found it to offer superb food, emphasising local food when possible, in a beautiful atmosphere with impeccable service.

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  • 8 months later...

Update: The Del Raye has closed and has been replaced with Paradise City Cafe (?). Went there once. It was horrendous. I had to send back the food, which I rarely do. Was met with disdain by the manager for that request. Avoid at all costs.

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