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Dining Changes in Amherst, MA

s
scribos Jun 24, 2011 10:22 AM

Does anyone out there know about some new changes in restaurants coming to Amherst, MA soon?

I read that the manager of the incomparable beer pub, Moan and Dove in South Amherst, has been hired to run a restaurant in the space that Amherst Brewing is vacating in Amherst Center. (AB is going to a new, larger space on University Drive.) My fantasy restaurant for the vacated space is Moan and Dove 2.0 but with fabulous burgers and pub food that goes with the great beers they serve at their current space where they don't serve food. Anybody out there have details on what's planned? Things move slowly in Amherst, so I probably shouldn't let my mouth water anytime soon. I'm longing for a grown-up beer pub. Amherst Brewing didn't do it for me--kind of had that college vibe you find at Antonio's, Souper, Hanger, etc. The Moan and Dove has a more varied crowd and just lacks great pub grub to make it perfect.

There's something called Lumber Yard planned for Main St. down past the Emily Dickinson house. Any details on that?

And I read that White Hut of Springfield is coming to Amherst, probably good for takeout.

Still haven't tried Chez Albert, which is moving a bit north to another location on North Pleasant.

I've got my fingers crossed about all of the above. Anybody out there know anything about these possible new restaurants?

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Moan and Dove
460 West St, Amherst, MA 01002

Chez Albert
27 S Pleasant St, Amherst, MA 01002

White Hut
280 Memorial Ave, West Springfield, MA 01089

  1. s
    scribos Feb 4, 2012 03:46 PM

    Ooops. Just to clarify my White Hut comment about milk shakes. I checked the White Hut Amherst menu, and they do have milk shakes! I'll have to try one. Sorry White Hut. Should've checked the menu first.

    1. s
      scribos Feb 4, 2012 02:11 PM

      Last summer, I originally inquired about local places that were going to be opening in Amherst. It took awhile, but we now have the White Hut, High Horse, Lumberyard, new Chez Albert, Johnny's Tavern, and the new Boltwood Restaurant at the renovated Lord Jeff. My husband and I tried three of them. Herewith:

      --White Hut: It is what it is, i.e. several notches above fast food. So yay. My husband and I get in the mood for that once in a while. The menu is minimal--made-to-order "thin" burgers, fries, hot dogs with good onions on the burgers and other condiments. Better than McDonald's. My husband and I tried a take-out night. I can see myself bringing the burgers and a drink to the Amherst town green in the summertime before an Amherst Cinema movie if we don't have time for a sitdown meal. Wish they had milkshakes. Wish a lot of things but especially that the White Hut would go up to the seasonal Sugarloaf Softee/Freezie, whatever the heck it's called up in Sunderland on 116, take milk shake lessons, and offer milk shakes with the burger and fries. So far, I think it's just sodas and water. But it's fine for what it is. Service was friendly. It's bright and clean, but we didn't eat "en place." I'm judging it by some of the local, seasonal stands in the Pioneer Valley that make me nostalgic and do offer milkshakes. Still, it's in town and really quite okay.

      --Lumberyard. We gave it a shot right before Christmas right after it opened when it was working out the kinks. At that time, the service was a little uneven, but it's probably smoother by now. We were seated right away but had to wait way, way too long for drink menus. They do have an excellent wine list by the glass, half bottle, bottle, and a creative cocktail menu. But come on, hand over the drink menu. Then we had to wait a long time for the server to take the drink order. Hope they worked on that since.

      Like another Chowhound poster, my husband's burger was not rare, as ordered, not even medium rare. They need to pay attention to that since they have some competition with High Horse and Johnny's Tavern with the gourmet burgers. The fries were incredible, though, as was their amazing bread (had to ask for that, too, but darned good.)

      I had some kind of lamb with a great sauce and presentation. I can't remember now what it was exactly, but I do recall thinking: "This is incredible. If only it were hot!" It did come rare, as ordered, but THE DISH WAS BARELY WARM!!! I didn't send it back because I was too hungry. I don't recall if we had dessert. We'll definitely go back because they were in a shakedown period and probably have worked out the problems with service and food. I can tell they have the chops, literally, to offer a creative, fresh menu. Attention to details will make this a terrific place where we might become weekday regulars and bring out-of-town friends. The setting is much more sophisticated and modern than anything else in town--liked it a lot despite the aforementioned problems. But If they don't get the service right or don't bring food as ordered and at the temps it should be, then we won't become regulars.

      High Horse. Thank you, thank you High Horse owners for bring some great brews into town à la Moan and Dove along with a superior burger with Grafton Cheddar (not a mega monster burger but "just-the-right-size-burger that we like," which came hot and rare, as ordered) The wonderfully crispy, crispy French fries came in a metal cone--love that sort of Brussels/pub kind of thing. The garlic mayo was fantastic. The service was friendly and efficient. We went there early on a Tuesday night before a movie at Amherst Cinema. The downstairs pub/bistro is light years nicer than the old Amherst Brewery even though the layout is somewhat the same. I can't comment yet on the rest of the menu, but let's call it an somewhat upscale artisanal beer pub, just what we'd hoped it would be. Someone on Yelp complained there aren't enough beer choices. We found a long-enough list for any menu pairing imaginable. I do see us eating here regularly, probably during the week, which is when we hit Amherst Cinema. I can also see it as a great place for alums and parents of students taking their kids out when they come for college visits. It's much more grown-up--at least the downstairs was the night we were there--than the Amherst Brewery was.

      Our only concern is that when it gets busy that it'll be very noisy since it has all smooth surfaces. But we were early birds because we were going to the movies. I'm happy about this place because we've been kind of starving in Amherst--great food supply with all the farms, dairy, etc, but so-so restaurants catering primarily to college students, which we haven't been for decades. Lumberyard and now High Horse used very fresh, good ingredients.

      We'll give Johnny's Tavern at shot soon. I peeked in and liked the decor. Hope the food is good as well. We also might try some small plates and wine at the new Chez Albert.

      We're just happy to have more choices. And we're only months away from the Sugarloaf Frostie reopening in May--something to look forward to. So that's my take on "dining changes in Amherst."

      6 Replies
      1. re: scribos
        fame da lupo Mar 28, 2012 08:33 AM

        White Hut isn't going to appeal to my foodie pretensions, but I definitely appreciate a tasty, "several-notches-above-McDonalds" fast food burger for a cheap price in downtown Amherst. Made lunch in Amherst more palatable. Still, by comparison to Local Burger, Amherst suffers.

        1. re: scribos
          JunieB Mar 28, 2012 05:31 PM

          I haven't been to the Horse, but I understand they serve poutine! Poutine, a Canadian thing, seems to be making its way into America. I've never had it it, but my understanding is that it is basically French fries with gravy. Everyone seems to have their own version of the gravy. I'm anxious to try it.

          My husband and I tried White Hut, and it's okay for what it is. We ordered a cheeseburger and a hot dog and they were both pretty good. Definitely not on par with Local Burger, but okay for a quick burger.

          We loved Lumber Yard. Four of us went there a couple of months ago. The food was excellent. The service was okay. And the only negative thing was the noise level. I wrote to them and they said they are doing something about that, which I assume they have done by now.

          One of our go-to places in Amherst is Moti. It had been there two years before we even knew it was there! I love the chicken kabob, and the hummus and grape leaves. We've had several things on their menu and they have all been good, but I keep going back for the kabobs.

           
          1. re: JunieB
            e
            edub23 Mar 29, 2012 04:04 PM

            Poutine is french fries with gravy, but you have to include the cheese curds to make it truly authentic. The squeakier the curds, the better. Looking forward to a poutine fix when I go to Montreal next month. In the meantime, good to know it's making an entree into the Pioneer Valley.

            1. re: edub23
              JunieB Mar 29, 2012 04:43 PM

              Thank you. I forgot perhaps the most important ingredient!! I saw another "area" restaurant serving poutine recently but I can't remember where it was. Could have been Hartford. For something I never heard of before a few months ago, it seems to be popping up all of a sudden.

              1. re: JunieB
                fame da lupo Apr 2, 2012 04:17 PM

                We had High Horse's poutine the other day, it's legit, delicious and well priced ($6 for a decent sized portion). Finally poutine in the valley!

                1. re: fame da lupo
                  JunieB Apr 2, 2012 04:45 PM

                  Thanks for the review!! Good to know.

        2. c
          corinnerose Oct 14, 2011 08:55 AM

          So has White Hut opened yet in Amherst? Anyone tried it?

          Also, anyone been to the relocated Chez Albert? I actually never went to the old one, but I had a small meal at the new location a few days ago and frankly... it was really disappointing. Like, pretty bad. Maybe they're still working out the kinks? I'm curious to hear from someone who is familiar with the old location if the quality has changed...

          -----
          Chez Albert
          27 S Pleasant St, Amherst, MA 01002

          White Hut
          280 Memorial Ave, West Springfield, MA 01089

          6 Replies
          1. re: corinnerose
            m
            MsBees Oct 14, 2011 09:31 AM

            I don't hink it has or if so I can't find any info about it.

            My family went to Chez Albert about a week ago and were very happy with everything we ordered.

            -----
            Chez Albert
            27 S Pleasant St, Amherst, MA 01002

            1. re: MsBees
              BerkshireTsarina Oct 14, 2011 05:24 PM

              Is it possible that lunch provides a different experience from dinner at Chez Albert (in the old days or now)?
              I only got to the restaurant once, last year for lunch, and was really disappointed after hearing so much about it. So I wonder if there it might be because lunch doesn't show it off. Or our experience was atypical. Or something ----

              -----
              Chez Albert
              27 S Pleasant St, Amherst, MA 01002

              1. re: BerkshireTsarina
                m
                magiesmom Oct 14, 2011 05:59 PM

                I have had bad dinners at the old place. I know it is popular here, but that has been my experience, cold food, indifferent service.

                1. re: BerkshireTsarina
                  m
                  MsBees Oct 14, 2011 06:42 PM

                  You may be right BershireTsarina. But I had lunch there in April and it was spectacular. Of course, just like every other restaurant ,occasionally some dishes are not to my taste but I've always gotten great service.

                  1. re: BerkshireTsarina
                    fame da lupo Oct 18, 2011 12:08 PM

                    I've been largely unimpressed by Chez - I distinctly remember a flabby short rib and a boring black cod. Went there once for a beer themed night and it was tasty but not great. The pate, at least, is worth eating.

                    1. re: BerkshireTsarina
                      c
                      caughtstars Oct 19, 2011 10:08 AM

                      I would encourage you to give Chez another try. I haven't been to the new location, but I've been to the old one 4 or 5 times and loved it every time. The Basque Seafood stew is incredible and the owner is one of the friendliest I've encountered. I can't wait to check out their new space.

                2. m
                  MsBees Sep 23, 2011 04:47 AM

                  When Chez Albert opens you have to try it.

                  -----
                  Chez Albert
                  27 S Pleasant St, Amherst, MA 01002

                  1. jaylhorner Aug 12, 2011 11:50 AM

                    About a year or two ago, I went to a nice Italian restaurant. My searches do not bring up a name that sounds familiar. It's address was on some walk of a parking lot. Does anyone recallthe name? Thanks.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jaylhorner
                      m
                      magiesmom Sep 23, 2011 06:05 AM

                      La Piazza on Boltwood Walk

                      1. re: magiesmom
                        m
                        MsBees Sep 23, 2011 06:16 AM

                        I don't think they are there anymore

                    2. j
                      josied Jul 31, 2011 07:59 AM

                      Anyone been to the new Mexican joint down by the Moan and Dove? I think it just opened... We are about to move to the area so I am scoping out the chow scene.

                      -----
                      Moan and Dove
                      460 West St, Amherst, MA 01002

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: josied
                        c
                        corinnerose Aug 2, 2011 09:13 AM

                        Do you mean Latino's?

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/727077

                        1. re: corinnerose
                          j
                          josied Aug 2, 2011 01:21 PM

                          No- it's called Cantina something. Just opened. Let me know if anyone checks it out!

                          1. re: josied
                            j
                            josied Aug 12, 2011 05:30 AM

                            Here's a review: http://gazettenet.com/blog/table-hopp...

                            Looks solid!

                            1. re: josied
                              fame da lupo Aug 17, 2011 10:17 PM

                              Hate to be a wet blanket, but that review doesn't inspire confidence. I'll wait until someone who knows Mexican writes something here.

                              1. re: fame da lupo
                                c
                                corinnerose Sep 22, 2011 10:01 AM

                                Wow. Not to hate on the Gazette, but that's not even a review... she quotes her own children!

                                Yelp doesn't make it sound worth a visit, either.

                                1. re: corinnerose
                                  j
                                  josied Sep 23, 2011 05:02 AM

                                  Ok haters, I've been there a few times now, mostly for take-out, and it's quite good. The carne asada is great, as is the carnitas filling for tacos. They also have delicious homemade salsas. It gets very crowded and is quite small, but the flavors are on point!

                                  1. re: josied
                                    c
                                    corinnerose Sep 23, 2011 02:05 PM

                                    Haha, okay fine... but can you give a liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttle bit more of a description. I mean, many places have carne asada and homemade salsa. What is good about theirs? How does it compare to Veracruzana (using that as a reference point, not the gold standard..)

                                    1. re: corinnerose
                                      fame da lupo Sep 24, 2011 05:40 PM

                                      Well, in having carnitas they actually fill a niche!

                      2. c
                        corinnerose Jul 18, 2011 12:05 PM

                        Wow, haven't heard about any of this. Please keep us updated if you hear anything!

                        1. j
                          johnblacksox Jul 10, 2011 07:52 PM

                          Lumber Yard has a sign up saying it is opening in October. It's from the people that run the Sconset Cafe in Nantucket. Looks like a great space, and will feature wines. I have high hopes for it!

                          Chez Albert's new space looks great too, supposed to move in in August, I believe. They are adding a bar and outdoor seating. Should be great for them.

                          -----
                          Chez Albert
                          27 S Pleasant St, Amherst, MA 01002

                          1. fame da lupo Jul 9, 2011 06:27 AM

                            Thanks for the info! I've been out of the area for a year and am coming back shortly - anything changed in Amherst since spring 2010?

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