Local Hidden Gems: 5 Pioneer Valley Restaurants You Need to Visit

While Antonio’s and the Route 9 Diner are staples of off-campus dining at UMass, there are tons of restaurants in the area at which most students may or may not have dined that are definitely worth a visit!

1. Amanouz Café, Northampton

One of the few places in the area that serves good Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food such as couscous, dolma, shawarma, and baklava, among other things. It’s also very inexpensive - a plate of dolma and salad costs $3.50, all with free, refillable pita chips. Located on Main Street in downtown Northampton, it’s a quick walk from the nearest bus stop.

2. Lady Killigrew Café, Montague Book Mill, Montague

Placed in an unusual location, the Lady Killigrew Café is located in a book store that used to be a mill on Mill River in Montague along with a Turn it Up! location as well. This café is one of the most scenic restaurants in the area, with the dining room and the outdoor seating doing the same. The food is delicious: you can order from a variety of sandwiches, salads, and some noodle/rice dishes, a good selection of teas, craft beers, and other drinks. It’s located pretty far up Rt. 47, but it’s still definitely worth the very scenic drive. The bookstore itself is pretty awesome, too, with tons of used books, and a lot of old armchairs to read in while hanging out in a really cool former mill building. Maybe you can catch a show as well since, the space also hosts acoustic/folk/jazz acts periodically.

3. Bub’s Bar-B-Q, Sunderland, MA

In a poll of all the barbecue restaurants in the country in 1985, Bub’s got 5th best in the nation, beating out places in Kansas, North Carolina, and Texas, where usually the best barbecue in the nation can be found. Founder “Bub” Tiley got the recipe for the sauce in 1952 from a prisoner in Florida, and the restaurant has used it ever since. The meat and fish dishes are amazingly done, with much of the meat being cooked in the smoker out front. One of the other great things about it are the hot and cold bars, which hold unlimited sides which come with your meal. If you ever have a hankering for some pulled pork and gator tail(!), this is where you can go to get your fix.

4. Mesa Verde, Greenfield, MA

I stumbled upon this place when I was coming back from street performing in New Hampshire with my friend one weekend. Once we reached Greenfield, we were hungry! It’s a burrito/taco place, with inexpensive food (only one item on the menu is over $7), and some interesting burritos such as Thai, Spinach & Garlic, and Mojo Pork. There is outdoor and indoor seating, and it’s definitely worth the trip up to a very cool city that doesn’t get as much notice the way NoHo does by the UMass community.

5. The Black Sheep Deli, Amherst, MA

This restaurant on Main St. in Amherst is pretty cool, not that far from campus. The Deli sells a wide variety of sandwiches, bagels, and other baked goods along with coffees and teas. While this isn’t a New York Style Deli in the slightest, the sandwiches are still extremely good. It also serves as a sort of hub for the community, a site where Amherst chairwoman Stephanie O’Keefe holds audience with the townspeople every Monday morning. There is also an open mic held every Thursday night.

Break outside your UMass-comfort zone and try some of these delicious hidden gems in the Pioneer Valley!