Bread & Butter: A small gem in North Amherst

By Marissa Vertes

(Cade Belisle/ Daily Collegian)
(Cade Belisle/ Daily Collegian)

Tucked away in the quiet North Amherst area is a small strip of local businesses. Among these businesses is a salon called The Lift, Atkins Farm Country Market and a gourmet breakfast place called Bread & Butter.

Bread & Butter, stationed at 68 Cowls Road and owned by Brian Knox, a former sous chef at The Lone Wolf in Amherst, opened in early March just a year ago. Knox, through his experiences at The Lone Wolf, fell in love with the idea of breakfast and it clearly shows through his menu at Bread & Butter.

The menu focuses on a simple but wholesome breakfast. When asked about what one of the main goals of the restaurant is, Knox said, “We want our food to be mindfully sourced (and) crafted with care.”

“That itself leads to the farm-to-table aspect,” Knox added.

As for their main focus for clientele, Knox said it is aimed at drawing different groups of people.

“In a college town we want to (attract) students, but based on our hours we get a lot of retirees and professionals,” a clientele which Knox said he has succeeded in reaching.

When you step into the restaurant, it is hard not to notice the minimalistic details of the decor. The restaurant doesn’t look like it belongs in North Amherst, but in Southampton in New York. With large windows all around, the restaurant is constantly bright and cheery and it has gray wood lining the walls.

In addition, there are many light bulbs hanging from the ceiling with intricate wiring inside. Although these bulbs do not radiate much light, they add to the feel of the minimalistic approach. The location is easily accessible via car and has a large amount of off-street parking, or one can take the Pioneer Valley Transit Services’ Route 33 bus to the Cowls Road stop. To top it off, the service is excellent and very attentive to your needs.

Bread & Butter’s menu is on the smaller side, as it appears to be catering toward the minimalist trend. However, the small menu is also due to the fact that practically every item offered is made from scratch in-house.

The effort to make the entire menu from scratch truly shines through their dishes. It shows an attention to detail and illustrates how much better food tastes when it is homemade.

One of the main focal points of the menu – and Knox’s favorite – is the maple sriracha pork belly. This dish is made in-house with a homemade glaze and it practically melts in your mouth.

The pork belly is featured in both the pork belly benny (a take on the classic eggs benedict with pork belly) and in the pork belly sandwich offered on their lunch menu with arugula, house pickles and aioli sauce.

Other menu offerings include buttermilk pancakes, which are extremely large but thin like crepes and beyond delicious; create-your-own omelets, which are sizeable and flavorful (you can get the pork belly in that too); and the tofu scramble, featuring garlic and herb spiced tofu with kale, red onions, mushrooms and broccoli (an excellent option for vegans and vegetarians).

An honorable mention, as it is not an entrée, is the home fries. The home fries are thinly sliced like chips and are extremely rich and buttery. All menu items are under $12 and come in large portions for the price.

If you want to go to Bread & Butter and avoid a wait, try going closer to opening time (at 6 a.m.) or closing time (3 p.m.). While in the area, one may want to check out the other businesses in the strip. Atkins Farm is located right across the street where you can find excellent gourmet foods, ranging from fresh baked goods and meats to locally grown produce. It is a must-see for those who want to experience a locally-run store that focuses on farm-to-table.

It can be fun to explore new areas in town and try out some local stores and restaurants. In any event, since its opening, Bread & Butter has proven to be a well-run business with a great staff and a great concept of creating minimalist food from scratch. It is definitely worth the visit.

Breakfast is served every day from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and lunch is served Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Marissa Vertes can be reached at [email protected].