The Green Bean.. Northampton MA
Went to check out Green Bean, the new breakfast/lunch spot in downtown Northampton that opened in the former Sparky's location. Very mixed review.
The new owners did a nice job with decor. It's a small space but comfortable. Wooden tables. Bench seating along the side walls. Pleasant lighting.
The menu is a bit odd for a breakfast place. Basically, all the eggs are mixed scrambles or sandwiches. No omelettes. No toast (but scrambles served instead with an scone.) The scrambles are mostly veggie & cheese but there was one with bacon mixed in. They are served with homefries. Any other meat is ala carte.
Food quality was good. My egg, cheddar, green onion, and mushroom, and bacon scramble ($7.50) was done right and tasty though a little stingy with the good quality bacon. Potatoes were small red skinned, not very well spiced but with just the right consistancy. The scone was just OK. A bit overpriced at $7.50. $5.75-6.50 would have been about right. Coffee was $2.25 for a bottomless cup. OK, but keep reading.
Service was a bit weird/off-putting: Its a sit down restaurant where the waitperson gives you the menu, takes the order, and brings the food to the table. Fine. The weirdness was that customers are required to go get their own coffee from one central coffee table. That's alot of up and down in a small restaurant. I made four trips to get 2 cups of coffee. There was one smallish dispenser and the first and third trips they were out of coffee so I had to go up two more times for my first cup & refill. I also had to wait while the people in front of me poured their coffee, put in their sugar and cream to taste, etc etc. Very inconvenient for a sit down restaurant. They need to either make the entire place self service or full sit down service. The way it is now is goofy and off-putting. Please, bring the coffee to the table! It's not that much to ask..and so much more pleasant for the customer! And, then how do I tip properly? Hmmm.
Bottomline: Kinda disappointing. About $12.50 for breakfast including tip. Overpriced for what you get and how its served. Green Bean should be a welcome addition to a town with too few decent breakfast places but it is miles behind Sylvester's in quality and value. Jake's is much better value. I'll give it another shot but right now I'd still rather wait the 45 minutes in line at Sylvester's than be seated right away at Green Bean.
Any other reports?
Sylvester's has done one thing consistently well for me: eggs benedict. Their home fries, omelettes, and huevos rancheros have varied in terms of preparation. Not worth the hour long wait on weekends (and the stressed out staff), on weekdays it's a much quieter place and more worth a visit.
I finally got to the Green Bean today. I had an excellent mocha for a "starter" and a scramble w/potatoes and scone. The scramble was just okay, I could probably have done the same at home, but the scone was good, flaky and lighter than some. We had to ask for butter and jam.
I liked the looks of the menu, veggie and meat options both. There was a savory take on a Korean bibimbap with brown rice that I'd like to try next time. Any place with Sriracha hot sauce on the table is okay by me...I used a bit on the potatoes. Since I ordered the mocha I didn't have the "coffee problem" but my friend did have to visit the coffee stand to put sugar in her cafe au lait, and that was a little awkward, as the beverage was delivered tableside (no packets). They made it very clear they were fine with us lingering -- maybe that's the guiding intent of the coffee stand, dunno. Staff was pleasant.
Lunch menu also had some good-looking sandwiches and a burger. Overall the menu options seemed to split the difference between Sylvester's and Haymarket, if that makes any sense to the W. MA folks.
I'll definitely go back, although I'm a little afraid of how crowded the place could get on the weekends (my normal schedule), vs. Friday am of a holiday week, as the entranceway has a potential for stacking up. We were able to easily get a table but it was pretty full even today. If I get out at all in the morning on Sat. or Sun. I usually end up at Miss Flo's or Look Diner rather than risk the madness of Sylvester's; maybe this place will present a third option.
We are thrilled to have another option for breakfast especially on weekends in Noho. We are old regulars at Sylvester's and love!! breakfast at Amanouz but any place that offers tempeh and veggies (Tempeh, Arizona served with corn pancake...great) has a special place in my heart. I eat eggs but just crave other things sometimes. I think the coffee service set up is fine...I just didn't love the coffee itself. And my friend found the Chai kind of ordinary but she said it hasn't been great at Haymarket lately either. Haymarket is probably my least favorite for actual breakfast food, but I love going there just the same. Also like granola at Woodstar for a change.
Guess we are very lucky in Northampton and welcome the addition to our great choices. I would have to say that Jakes is not on our list at all...sorry.
I thought the atmosphere was sweet and quirky, and the food was of good quality. I really appreciated all the veggie options. I actually liked getting my own coffee and the mug tree is beautiful. Definitely a tad bit overpriced. I've been to Sylvester's a handful of times (I keep going back, hoping to like it, and it always disappoints) and while I do love the bakery section, I'd go to the Green Bean over Sylvester's for breakfast any day.
I love the Green Bean and eat there at least once a week! Their veggie options (& meat) are fresh, tasty and local when possible. If you're looking for a typical meat-based diner breakfast, it may not be your favorite place, but you'll know when you're ordering meat you're getting really great quality. It's a great place to bring your meat-eating friends and vegan friends to have brunch/lunch together. Think Evolution and Sylvester's in a happier, friendlier space. The staff is wonderful and it's super kid-friendly. I personally have no complaints about the coffee station, but can understand the dilemma it may pose for some. It's getting popular now, so expect a wait during weekday lunches and weekend brunches, but it's worth it in my book.
I love the green bean..... they have fantastic staff and ingredients... simply the best omlettes in Northampton center.... try the pesto goat cheese with your toast for a real treat. I really love this place and i'm picky. The self serve coffee works just fine. Great atmosphere no smugg bs that one gets at the haymarket or sylvesters. .... While you're in northampton try Amanouz, packards, la veracruzzana, ichiban, green st cafe, siam square and the eastside grill. O ya whatever you do dont let the Lone Wolf in amherst sell you its stale toast.. I went to that place 5 times and it was the same gag each time :(