The Best Places to Eat in the Pioneer Valley of Mass

By Carson McGrath

The Pioneer Valley is the place for culture, art, food, music, and all different types of fun. As a lover of all types of food, western Massachusetts is home to a variety of different cuisines, restaurants, and places to eat. Here are a couple of places to try when you are in the area.

Sign outside the Black Sheep in Amherst.
Sign outside the Black Sheep in Amherst.

The Black Sheep

The Black Sheep, located on Main Street right in the center of Amherst, is a delicious place for sandwiches, stopping in for coffee, desserts, and freshly baked bread. Serving the Pioneer Valley since 1986, this deli is my favorite place to grab a quick sandwich and refreshing lemonade or tea. And if you are looking to feed a bunch of people for an event or party, The Black Sheep also caters, serving “simple to extravagant” meals.

This is a friendly, local place with yummy food and an inviting atmosphere. On a nice warm day sit inside or out, and grab yourself a cup of coffee, a signature sandwich, or a freshly baked pastry.

 La Veracruzana

La Veracruzana in downtown Amherst.
La Veracruzana in downtown Amherst.

La Veracruzana serves up latin food in the centers of Amherst and Northampton, depending on your location. They have delicious, unique options on the menu, as well as on tap and bottled beer.

Though I have only been to the one in Amherst, my trips have never disappointed. Even though the service takes a little time, if you are in a rush this is not the place for you, their home cooked style food is worth the wait. I love the enchiladas stuffed with fresh spinach, add your favorite type of salsa and you have a the perfect meal.

Local Burger

This burger spot in Northampton is the best place to stop in for a one of a kind meal. As a lover of hot dogs, you can go either your all american dog with all the fixings, to a special type of hot dog deep fried and covered in captain crunch cereal- not your everyday treat. Nonetheless, it is one of my favorite things on the menu, how can you go wrong with hot dogs and everyone’s favorite junk cereal?

Local Burger in downtown Northampton. Photo by Masslive.
Local Burger in downtown Northampton. Photo by Masslive.

Local Burger’s menu ranges from specialty burgers topped with pineapples, bacon, or even stuffed with cheese, to vegetarian options such as their Northampton burger which is a homemade veggie burger or their Amherst burger, a grilled portobello mushroom burger. And to satisfy your sweet tooth, you can order a refreshing milkshake. Stop in for burgers, shakes, and even fried pickles!

Pita Pocket

Delicious topping choices for pitas at Pita Pocket in Amherst. Photo by Yelp.com.
Delicious topping choices for pitas at Pita Pocket in Amherst. Photo by Yelp.com.

Pita Pocket in Amherst is the place to go for great service and delicious falafel. Also located in downtown Northampton, this place has wraps, dinner plates, salads, and even desserts. My favorite thing to order at this is their falafel pocket, topped with veggies, hummus, and their special tahini sauce.

Pita Pocket also has delicious chicken caesar and buffalo chicken wraps for customers who might not want to dive into trying the mediterranean cuisine.

Every time I grab a meal at Pita Pocket I am always amazed at the quality of the food and service, it is a must if you are a lover of falafel.

Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf in downtown Amherst.
Lone Wolf in downtown Amherst.

The Lone Wolf in Amherst is the spot for breakfast or brunch. They have yummy, warm pancakes topped with 100% local maple syrup. This restaurant prides themselves on using local products and food from the community in their meals.  From egg sandwiches, omelettes, lox, and crepes, the Lone Wolf serves up all your breakfast favorites with their own delicious twists. The Wolf only sells breakfast food–but they’ve got a huge menu of choices.

My favorite is their “From the Southwest” options, breakfast burritos, santa fe omelettes, and plenty of sour cream and guacamole. And for vegan options, the restaurant has a variety of choices from tofu veggies scramble, french toast, and even pancakes. There’s something for everybody at the Lone Wolf.

Cushman Market and Cafe

Cushman Cafe art.
Cushman Cafe art.

Cushman Market and Cafe is the cutest place to pick up some groceries, grab a breakfast sandwich, or stop in for a sandwich during lunch. You can pick up anything from beer and wine, to cheese paninis.

Located in North Amherst’s Cushman neighborhood, the market itself is colorful, funky, and bright. During warmer months customers can sit outside and enjoy the nice Amherst weather while eating their meals.

A local gem in the area, Cushman’s cafe is the perfect place to grab a cup of coffee with friends. My personal favorite is the Jo Jo sandwich, turkey breast, bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, red peppers and topped with creamy chipotle dressing, yum! Make sure to stop by or sit in.

These are only just a couple of local spots to grab some yummy food at in the area. Western Massachusetts is home to some of the most delicious, diverse, and satisfying eats in the state. Be sure to check them out if you find yourself among the miles of mountains and trees out here in the west.

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Carson McGrath

Carson McGrath

Carson McGrath is a journalist who loves to write about adventure, politics, and feminism. You can find her on top of a mountain or riding her bike around Amherst.