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. 


bread and butter restaurant

 

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.

 

bread and butter restaurant
You’ve been a chef for many years. What made you decide to open your own restaurant?

It was a total control issue, to be sure.  I knew how I wanted things, and the only way to do that was do open my own place.  I had also come to a point where there was no more upward mobility at my current location, so it was either find another job as a chef, or branch off on my own.

 

Now that you’re the boss, what’s your signature dish?
Our signature dish would definitely be our Maple-Sriracha Pork Belly.  I originally intended it to be a small addition to the menu, and it ended up becoming our biggest seller.  Slow roasted, then pan seared, we use it as a straight breakfast side, or in various sandwiches, and even in a Pork Belly Benedict.

 

bread and butter restaurant bread and butter restaurant bread and butter restaurant

Your restaurant is in the Mill District of Amherst. Tell us about why you picked this particular spot for your restaurant.
 The Mill District was a very obvious spot for me to open my first restaurant.  It is an up-and-coming area which we were lucky enough to get a foot-hold in.  I can’t wait to see all of the other businesses that develop over the next couple of years.

 

People are always curious about the life of a chef. What is a typical day like for you?
I usually get to the restaurant between 4 and 5 am, to get the kitchen ready for service.  We open at 6.  Depending on the day of the week, it’s either a nice leisurely pace, or on the weekends, we’re all out crazy from about 8 am on… We close at 3, which is followed by a few hours of prep and paperwork, finally finishing up around 9 or 10, hopefully.  Then back at it again.

 

bread and butter restaurant

 

You have some interesting furniture and architectural elements in your restaurant. Where are the pieces from?

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.

 

 

What made you decide to focus your menu on breakfast and lunch only? Why not dinner?
Breakfast is what I knew for years, and I also saw an opportunity.  I was the sous-chef for another popular local breakfast spot, and saw that there was a line out the door every weekend.  That begged for another place, far on the other side of town, so it wasn’t exactly competition… just another choice in the marketplace.

 

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.

 

bread and butter restaurant

Some say you can judge chef by his omelet. Since omelets are a staple on your menu, what advice do you have for home cooks who are trying to turn out a perfect omelet?
There are so many different techniques to use, but to be honest, if you use a good pan, and the best eggs you can find, then you’re well on your way. With great eggs and a great pan, you’ll always do well.  That’s how we treat things here at the restaurant.  If you start with great ingredients, it’s pretty hard to mess things up.

 

Anything you’d like to share with our readers?
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.


 

Fresh New England

Get inspired to love & support local food. We have some great ideas sprouting up so browse our site for more delicious finds.

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed

X
X