The University Club’s New England roots are evident not just in its creamy, New England-style clam chowder, but in its very building. Nestled in two colonial-era farmhouses, one of which is the oldest, most wrinkly house in Amherst, the eatery is a venerable institution to the history of Massachusetts. The Boltwood-Stockbridge house contains the Daniel Chester French room, named for the Lincoln Memorial Statue sculptor who lived there as a child, and the Tory room, where nine loyalists hid during the American Revolution.
Today, the loyalists have given way to diners feasting on fare that changes with the seasons. Dinners consist of upscale proteins such as new york strip steak, braised lamb shank, and pan-seared salmon complemented by a farmer’s-market risotto loaded with fresh local produce. Alternatively, lunchtime visitors—or diners sampling the bar’s lighter fare menu—can nosh on a Black Angus burger or a jalapeño crab-cake po' boy.
Since 1976, Bart’s Homemade has been a destination for ice-cream lovers of all ages. The shop scoops rich, 16% butterfat ice creams in an array of fun flavors, including chocolate Heath bar, mint chip, and Three Geeks and a Red Head—coconut ice cream with coconut flakes, chocolate chunks, fudge brownie, and a raspberry swirl. Local fruit makes appearances in many seasonal flavors, such as ginger peach, featuring ginger from Old Friends Farm and peaches from Franklin County orchards. Bart’s team also whips up batches of healthier treats, including five varieties of sorbet and three hard-serve frozen yogurt flavors.
Tangerine-colored walls and colorful prints from the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, embody the spirit of the visual- and performing-arts celebrations for which Spoleto East Longmeadow—a member of the Spoleto Restaurant Group—is named. Yet, the inspiration doesn’t stop in South Carolina. Across the Atlantic, in Spoleto, Italy, the annual Festival of the Two Worlds showcases the Umbria region's dance, drama, cinema, and opera. The two yearly festivals in Charleston serve as the stateside mirror images of the Italian original. Spoleto restaurant owner Claudio Guerra has fond memories of taking part in these festivities with his mother as a child, and so christened his restaurants after them in homage.
Like the Northampton location before it, the East Longmeadow site offers a lively atmosphere and traditional Italian dishes such as stone-baked pizzas topped with cremini mushrooms and veal saltimbocca with fresh sage and marsala sauce. Diners can personalize their experiences by opting for the restaurant's multicourse meal option, or by carving their likenesses into meatballs before eating them.
According to Gazettenet.com, Daniel and his wife Elizabeth describe Grub as the "little punk child" of restaurant Bistro Les Gras. Though rebellious, the tyke has imitated the bistro's farm-to-table aesthetic by employing local ingredients, making their own bread and even corning their own beef. As patrons get cozy in yellow-cushioned booths, grilled and cold sandwiches arrive at tables hosting slow-roasted pork belly, house-roasted turkey, and innovative sauces such as blue-cheese aioli and roasted-tomato marmalade. The eatery's late-night menu—served Thursday–Saturday from midnight to 2 a.m.—features pulled-pork sliders and seitan tacos, accommodating night owls and those trying to stay up late enough to tuck in the moon. Flaunting its defiant attitude, the dining room is emblazoned with an enormous graffiti octopus, its tentacles twisting into the word "grub."
The grill masters at Caminito Argentinean Steakhouse stay true to their culinary roots with a distinctly South American cooking tradition, which begins with hormone-free meat from cows that were fed a vegetable-only diet and raised on pastures instead of in cages. Manning a cast-iron grill stoked by locally sourced hardwoods, the expert chefs fire-kiss select cuts of beef to smoky perfection, infusing filet mignons, skirt steaks, and short ribs with rustic flavors that pair harmoniously with the restaurant’s robust selection of Argentinean red wines.
Although Caminito’s wood-fired steaks have earned it the Valley Advocate’s award for Best Steak House from 2010 through 2013, the menu proves that the restaurant does not live and die by expertly charred beef. Lobster-filled ravioli, pan-seared salmon, and seasoned chicken breasts showcase the kitchen team’s culinary repertoire, in addition to vegetarian entrees that aren't just snapshots of steak printed on soy paper. Refreshing sips of ale from Peak Organic Brewing Company complement hearty bites, and spoonfuls of flan and mousse bring meals to their bittersweet conclusion. On weekends, the acoustic strumming of guitarist Alvaro Olvera Sanchez nourishes famished ears with flamenco notes and classic Spanish songs.
Behind the rust-red façade of The Brewmaster’s Tavern, a brick fireplace casts rough-hewn pillars and long tables in a soft glow. The historic tavern dates back to 1812 and may have once hosted the nation’s founding fathers for rounds of grog and annual wig swaps. Now, The Brewmaster’s chefs pay homage to New England’s culinary legacy with meats marinated in beer and sherry sauces alongside tender chunks of seafood baked in flaky pastry crusts.