Coming off a short stay in Western Massachusetts, it seems only fair to share the haunts I always look forward to during stays at home. After all, there’s nothing like the taste of home and those certain things you can only get there.
Next time you’re lost, leaf peeping or just in the area, check out one or all of the below. Have a taste of home, try something from a local eatery and you’ll never leave.
1. Hope & Olive
44 Hope St, Greenfield, MA 01301
You might think avant garde is NOT very Western Massachusettsian, but Hope and Olive quashes that myth mercilessly. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes the dishes go a step beyond the pale (peking duck with waffles. waffles. I do not know what they were thinking, but the duck was good) but the trick is don’t go outside your comfort zone. Steve loves their meatloaf sandwich. They make a mean cukysake (hendrick’s gin, sake, fresh lemon, muddled cucumber) and Korean ribs. Be sure to check their hours.
24 Federal St, Greenfield, MA 01301
Anywhere that has pickles as a bar snack gets an A+ in my book. I love this establishment. Love it. I could live off their peanut noodles with fresh veggies and sesame seeds (do NOT order with anything else – it ruins it). Could literally eat nothing else for the rest of my natural (or unnatural) life, just pair it with a Farmer Brown Ale. I may not have ever ordered anything else there but Steve swears by their home brewed sodas (have you had fresh brewed root beer) and my mother always ordered the squealer. Be forewarned that this is an eatery that embraces the natural – I understand that does not appeal to everyone, but I love this place.
125 Avenue A.
Turners Falls, Massachusetts 01376
T: (413) 863-5183
I came home after two years to find this burger bar, and could not have been more pleased. From the amazing burger options to the mac&cheese bar, it’s a keeper in my book. Not to mention, they’re the site of the former Equi’s candy shop and keep a very well stocked chocolate supply right by the exit to tempt you. My order – mac&cheese with bacon and carmelized onion. Steve has only good things to say about their reuben (that dares push the boundaries of what you think a reuben is) as well as the cajun burger. My cousin gets the sexy salmon. All in all, good eats to be had for a decent price and an excellent wine list to boot.
50 Third Street
Downtown, Turners Falls
Very new, very avant garde, very worthwhile. Opened just a few months back, this place is a must if you are in the area. We stopped in for brunch once and were very pleasantly surprised. They specialize in local produce and products. Beware that locally procurement means the menu changes often and that is a very good thing. I had the filet mignon (and is there a better brunch than filet mignon?) and, on first bite, I wanted nothing more for this restaurant to make it in today’s cut through restaurant scene. They certainly have what it takes to appeal to all walks of enthousiasts (from carnivores to vegans).
119 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA 01376
You cannot grow up in Turners Falls without eating at the pizza house. It’s a local landmark. The efforts of the new (ish) manager have only made the food shine beyond my preconceived notions of the New England Pizza house. Order the BBQ chicken with BBQ sauce, the J-Bombs or any of the grinders. Embrace your appetite.
54 School Street
Nothing says “New England” like fried fish. Nothing. And I can’t even count how many times I’ve eaten here since I started solid food. Greasy fried deliciousness awaits you, among other things. I, however, will just be eating the fried haddock dinner and loving every moment.
8. Adams Donuts
348 Federal Street, Greenfield MA
The upside of jetlag is an old school bakery that opens at 5:00 A.M. A cornerstone institution of Franklin county, I cannot tell you how good these donuts are. There’s something to be said about donuts made hours before you awoke. Bear claws the size of your face, glazed and with sweet chunks of fresh apple, maple butter cream rings of joy, apple cider donuts – enough said. This is not to be missed.
104 4th St, Turners Falls, MA 01376
T: (413) 863-4455
The site may be under construction, but these pastries will change your life. I’ve never eaten lunch there but I may have insisted that all my birthdays celebrated at home have included their carrot cake (sans raisins) with cream cheese frosting. Almond croissants and fresh coffee never go awry either, on non birthday dates.