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May 30, 2014 09:38 AM

Pioneer Valley: Thinking outside the box

Hello all. I'm quite familiar with the restaurant selection in town centers, such as Northampton and Amherst. But are there any worthwhile eats that are worth driving out of town for? I'm thinking of taking nice "countryside" drives that would include a lunch stop; somewhere in a nice rural setting or with a riverside patio. For example, I've stopped at Bub's BBQ after driving up and around the Montague and Sunderland areas. Anything nice on Rte 9 heading toward the Berkshires from Noho? In the Hilltowns? Rte 2 heading east from Greenfield? I'm keen on family style, casual lunch spots or pubs; mains <$20. Thank you!!!

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  1. If you're heading towards the Berkshires, try the Williamsburg Snack Bar on Rt. 9. It's on your right heading west, can't miss the bright pastels. Great food, epecially the seafood. ....fresh and very reasonably priced. You can search Chowhound, it's a favorite.

    1. The oOld Creamery Coop in Cummington is halfway between Northampton and Pittsfield . They make very high quality prepared food from fresh ingredients as local as possible , great sandwiches( one named after Rachel Maddow , who lives in town). It is counter service but quite good.

      On rt 2 is the wagon wheel, fabulous simple food and great milkshakes. In Gill.

      In Pittsfiels Baba Louie's makes very good thin crust pizza in a wood fired oven, good salads also.

      1. 9 towards the berkshires is not littered with good food stops. although the scenery is quite nice. unfortunately, i haven't run into any places that combine okay food with a nice setting.
        as mentioned, the williamsburg snack bar is good. the look diner in leeds has fine diner basics as well. and scotti's is a decent place to eat hot dog and hit a bucket of balls. also, as mentioned, the old creamery in cummington has some good sandwiches, although their ordering process can be a little clunky. that's about it 'til pittsfield. there, yeah baba louie's is good. as is teo's hot dogs (if like 'em small and with a weird "chili" sauce). i have also had good luck at mad jack's bbq, although opinions are wildly variant on that topic.
        off 2 east, yeah to wagon wheel, but again it's not too scenic. if you drive into "downtown" gill, there's the gill tavern, but they're dinner only except for sunday brunch. excellent food, however. but trying to find a decent place to stop between there and boston is always tough since the really good taco places in leominster closed up.
        if anyone ever moves into the montague night kitchen space at the bookmill (where the blue heron started), that'll be the pre-eminent river porch scene, but as far as i know it's still empty. the lady killigrew is still there for beer, sandwches and salads. nice setting.
        if you find anywhere even remotely interesting, please let us know.

        3 Replies
        1. re: fatheryod

          There is a new restaurant in the Night Kitchen space- The Alvah Stone. Haven't been there yet but the menu looks interesting.

          2 west toward Shelburne Falls and then back through Conway or Ashfield is a nice drive, with the various restaurants in Shelburne as a stop.

          1. re: wmassnative

            thanks for the info. i had not been aware of that. hopefully i'll get up there soon and report back.

            1. re: wmassnative

              I had brunch @ the Alvah Stone this morning. Nice setting out overlooking the river. I did have one of the better hamburgers I've ever eaten. The meat itself was delicious, and the muffin it was served on was good. My side of cheese grits was also very tasty. I'm just not a fan of iceberg lettuce on my burger, especially if the rib of the lettuce is still attached. But the burger itself was delicious.

          2. My favorite place in the value is the brass buckle in greenfield. Its open for breakfast and lunch, kitchen closes at three. The corner beef hash is to die for, as well as the pork belly with kimchi. Tacos are always great. On the cheap side as well ( cup of awesome Mac and cheese for three dollars). I love the scene in there and I can tell they really care about the food.

            1. Gypsy Apple in Shelburne for dinner. Extraordinary! Bread Euphoria in Williamsburg has great pizzas and delicious sandwiches. If you drive 35 minutes further north on 91, LA Burdick's in Walpole NH has amazing lunches (French bistro style). Hope & Olive in Greenfield has a delicious luncheon menu, well worth the drive. Manna House in Greenfield for home-cooked authentic Korean, also well worth the detour. Greenfield also has Mesa Verde, for healthy Mexican-style lunches (big portions).