Bread & Butter brings local produce to Amherst’s breakfast scene

By Isaac Burke

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(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)

(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)

The latest addition to the restaurant scene in Amherst, Bread & Butter, opened its doors last week to bring locally sourced breakfast to a flock of hungry customers.

Bread & Butter has been both a “passion and a dream” for owner Brian Knox and his wife Jaime.

“I’ve been doing breakfast for the last 10 years, and I love it,” Knox said. “There’s something nice about being able to cook someone’s first meal of the day, especially if you can make it nicer than normal.”

Knox moved to Amherst in 2001, and has had a career working for local restaurants such as Amber Waves, The Black Sheep and for three years, had a stint as the head chef at the University of Massachusetts sorority Sigma Delta Tau. Most recently, he was the sous chef at The Lone Wolf, before he decided he wanted to start his own restaurant.

“I think it was really once my wife and I realized we were having a baby, that we realized it was time to take that plunge and go into business for ourselves,” Knox said.

“Controlling our own destiny,” he believes, was what motivated him to go out on his own.

Construction for Bread & Butter began over two years ago and has involved a number of people including contractors, local metal sculptor Kamil Peters, a childhood friend of Jaime Knox and a major contributor to the design of the restaurant’s interior. Though the projected opening date for the restaurant was in November, there were some delays.

According to Knox, it was built to look like a barn that used to house the Amherst Trolley, and is uniquely decorated with polished cement surfaces for both the bar and the tables. Knox said over 8,000 pounds of concrete went into the dining room surfaces alone.

Knox added that the chairs came from an Easthampton elementary school, while the wood for the benches and booths came from the Albion Paper Mill in Holyoke. One long bench against the window was originally a support beam, lying at 22 feet.

“That was a fun challenge getting it in here,” he said.

In addition to these salvaged seats, the doors leading into the kitchen came from the Greenfield District Courthouse.

“I even got an email from a retired judge from Greenfield who said he was looking forward to coming in and seeing these doors being repurposed,” Knox said.

However, the furnishings are not the only locally sourced things at Bread & Butter. Knox is a member of the Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, a South Deerfield non-profit organization that helps connect farmers to buyers.

“We get a lot of stuff direct from local farms,” Knox said. “Handing cash directly to the farmer, to the guy who picked (the produce) is nice. It’s really nice to meet the guy or the family who grew your food instead of it just showing up on a truck.”

All that local produce is prepared in-house to make some of Bread & Butter’s most popular specials. Among them is their own pork belly, prepared with a maple syrup and Sriracha, and their most popular dish, a duck confit hash that takes 10 hours of slow roasting to prepare.

Bread & Butter also caters to vegan and gluten-free customers in Amherst.

“We have a pancake that’s both vegan and gluten free,” Knox said. “Breakfast can so easily be gluten free. As long as you’re making it from scratch, you can pretty much make almost anything gluten free.”

Also on the health-conscious menu is a vegan omelet and a tofu scramble.

Knox said the response to the restaurant’s launch has already been “ridiculously busy,” and the owners also expect to be getting a liquor license soon to boost their Friday night menu.

“It’s been more than we ever imagined,” he said. “We look forward to being able to really offer Amherst everything we have.”

Bread & Butter is open every day from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., and reopens on Friday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Isaac Burke can be reached at [email protected]