Universities, historic homes, museums, nature trails, and farms dot the picturesque landscape of central Massachusetts. The next time you’re headed out to Amherst be sure to stop by Bread & Butter Restaurant.
Situated just a few minutes from the vibrant downtown, the restaurant is part of the newly renovated Mill District and has much to offer. Chef Brian Knox, focuses on simple cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients. We caught up with Chef Brian the last time we visited.
Tell us a bit about your background. What inspired you to get into the restaurant industry?
I suppose at a base level, it was a true, passionate love for cooking and food. But to be honest, it also started out of convenience in looking for a job after college. I just fell into it somewhat unknowingly.
You’ve been a chef for many years. What made you decide to open your own restaurant?
We either built it from scratch (like our poured concrete bar and table tops, or we reclaimed it, like our salvaged leather kitchen doors, which came from the original Greenfield Courthouse.) Our benches, bench backs, and bar valance all came from the Albion Paper Mill in Holyoke, est, 1898. It was falling down a midst deep deconstruction, but we were able to go in and pick anything and everything we wanted from the space.
Also, all of our dining room chairs were from the Parson Street School in Easthampton, MA. We were lucky enough to get them through the Trading Post in South Amherst, and they took a lot of refinishing work, but they couldn’t be a better fit. And finally, our signature barn-board wall came from a friend’s local barn. We took every other board from a barn that was about to fall down. We didn’t touch the original 100-year-old worn finish.. just planed down the underside and put it up. It definitely makes the space.
We know you love using local ingredients. Who are some of your local suppliers?
Local ingredients mean so much to me. If it can be worked into our menu, and it’s grown locally, I’ll take it. Some of our local suppliers include Kitchen Garden Farm, Queen’s Greens Farm, Book & Plow Farm, Doubleday Farm, and many more. For larger local suppliers, we use Squash and Black River Produce.
I want everyone to know that we treat breakfast and lunch from the viewpoint that many other restaurants take for dinner. We cook everything a la minute, from scratch. Nothing is pre-made, no microwaves. Every egg is cracked to order. I make a fresh, small-batch hollandaise for every four or five orders. It might take a little longer than usual because of that, but we think it’s well worth the wait.
Visit Bread and Butter Restaurant
68 Cowls Road
Amherst, MA 01002
Visit the Jennifer Bakos Photography website.