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Bread & Butter in North Amherst celebrates two-year anniversary

Collegian file photo

Far from the hustle and bustle of downtown Amherst, Bread & Butter celebrated its two-year anniversary serving up their “New American” breakfast and lunch on Friday. The restaurant now sits on Cowls Road next to The Lift salon and across the street from Atkins Farms.

Brian Knox, the chef-owner, said the expansion of The Mill District led to an increase in customers eating at the industrial-style restaurant and that the quieter location allows for customers to find parking more easily.

Knox has been cooking breakfast in Amherst since 2001. He previously worked for the Black Sheep and was the sous chef for The Lone Wolf Cafe, both in downtown Amherst. Knox said he was inspired to open his own breakfast restaurant because of the long lines heading out the door each weekend for The Lone Wolf on Main Street.

“I had tons and tons of breakfast experience. I wanted to see a little more of a local and organic focus and a little more higher end than I had already been working with,” Knox said.

After finding an advertisement for the location on Craigslist, which at the time was still under construction, Knox decided North Amherst would be a perfect location to open up a breakfast spot that would not compete with restaurants in the town center.

“Part of me had worked for other chefs for so long that I really wanted to be able to do my own thing, and add my own creativity to it,” Knox said.

Alexa Halvorsen, a waitress at Bread & Butter, said she enjoys working in a family-like environment. She has been working at the restaurant for a year-and-a-half. Halvorsen said customers come from all over to eat at Bread & Butter from local towns to Vermont and surrounding hill towns like Shutesbury.

“I feel like we are a destination out here because there is not a lot to do out in North Amherst and there are not a lot of places to eat,” Halvorsen said.

Some of the favorite breakfast dishes customers keep coming back for are the various interpretations of eggs benedict, according Knox. From the traditional style dish, to eggs Florentine with spinach and tomato and even pork belly benedict with a maple Sirach glaze, Knox said their eggs benedict dishes are unlike any other in Amherst.

The pork belly benedict, one dish that incorporates the restaurant’s staple meat, is the most popular according to Knox. He said the restaurant goes through a minimum of four pigs a week.

“Every weekend I am still shocked about the amount that we sell,” Knox said.

The pork belly is the same cut of meat as bacon, but instead of being smoked, the restaurant roasts the meat, pan searing it to “sweet and spicy deliciousness,” Knox said. Aside from serving classic breakfast dishes, Bread & Butter serves lunch on the weekdays for anyone looking to eat sandwiches and soups. Knox said they roast all their own meats for the sandwiches, creating traditional options like BLTs or more unorthodox items like a turkey sandwich with brie and raspberry preserves.

Knox said partnering with local farms and incorporating local agriculture is key to having fresh ingredients in the restaurant’s dishes. He said having relationships with the farmers who deliver their food is a great experience for the local community.

“It is nice to have something a couple miles away, and also knowing the farmer is a wonderful thing. The same person that went out and picked all that, turns it over to you,” Knox said.

Bread & Butter serves mixed greens, spinach, kale and other types of greens from Queen’s Greens in Amherst, not too far from the restaurant. The restaurant’s maple syrup comes from the North Hadley Sugar Shack and homemade Sriracha is made at Kitchen Garden Farm in Sunderland from their own chili peppers.

Bread & Butter also serves breakfast for dinner on Friday nights, serving the same breakfast menu with some specials here and there. The restaurant is also hoping to attract more customers through the extended night-time hours.

For their two-year anniversary, Knox said the restaurant plans to serve up specials that customers have favored over the years, like strawberry Nutella french toast as well as biscuits and gravy.

Carson McGrath can be reached at cmcgrath@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @McgrathCarson.

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