Owned and operated by Easthampton residents Rich Lyman and Jeff Cahill, Riff's Joint spices up everyday meals with bombastic and spunky takes on traditional burgers, burritos, and salads. Carnivorous consumers can sink canines into a starter of hoisin-marinated beef sticks ($6.00), while voracious vegetarians can test their mettle against the sweet-potato fries, which are flanked by jalapeño honey-mustard sauce and cooked in pure kindness ($4). Build an edible tribute to tastiness with Riff's custom-creation station, where gastrological Gauguins can craft Thai-inspired burritos ($8.50) or dramatic Greek cheesesteaks ($8.50). Fans of dining predetermination can opt for house burgers and wraps, such as the Alamo Wrap made with in-house roasted turkey ($7) and The Bandit, an all-beef patty topped with grilled onion, cilantro, and chipotle mayo ($8). Like romantic picnics and amorous parole hearings, Riff's is BYOB, letting customers method-act the role of master sommelier.
In Captain Jack’s kitchen, the crew assembles a concise menu. With the fryer bubbling and the scent of salt and oil in the air, the cooks prepare fresh scallops, whole-belly clams, all-natural beef, free-range chicken, and hand-cut french fries. The menu appears selective because it is. They use only humanely treated animals from regional farms to make their house-made burgers and hot dogs, and all their veggies come from local purveyors who practice sustainable farming. In fact, everything at the roadside shack is so fresh that they don’t even own a freezer, which assures their ingredients are served in a timely fashion and that penguins never claim squatter’s rights.
The handmade dough on Red Rock's 21 specialty pizzas is loaded with from-scratch sauces and inspired specialty toppings, and the hand-selected, oven-baked jumbo chicken wings eschew the boiling-oil baths of the deep fat fryer. Delve into the pizza menu to discover creations forged from slow-cooked marinara sauce, oven-roasted garlic, smoked salmon, smoked gouda, and smoked hookahs. Break an appetite with a large Widowmaker ($20.99), topped with ham, salami, Italian sausage, arezzio pepperoni, black olives, and mozzarella. The eponymous jumbo 18-inch Red Rock delivers a massive payload of classic pizza taste with each slice, packing on Italian sausage, arezzio pepperoni, honey-baked ham, mushrooms, sweet red onion, green bell peppers, black olives, and mozzarella ($24.99). Red Rock's wings ($8.99 for 10) emerge from their convection inferno and unite with their saucy soulmates, dousing taste buds in garlic parmesan, barbecue, honey barbecue, and heat-adjustable buffalo flavors.
Side Street Café brings the world of upscale American dining to the neighborhood level. Local ingredients are given diction lessons and gussied up into high society cuisine under the watchful eye of owner, chef, and pasta linguist Patrick Shannon. Diners may choose to shepherd home wayward taste buds with the baked goat cheese and honey ($9) or sample undersea edibles with the pan-seared scallops ($10). Hungrier humans can make a break for one of Side Street Café's signature entrees; the fresh herb gnocchi ($19 full, $14 for lighter fare) gets cozy with balsamic roasted shallots under blankets of mozzarella and marinara, while the lager-braised short ribs ($25/$18) raise a toast to good taste with horseradish mashed potatoes and parmesan bread.