Where's there to eat around here? Don't want to eat at the dining hall? Here are some restaurants that are nearby, cheap, or good.
6 House Pub
The 6 House Pub, just three minutes south on Route 7 next to the 1896 House, is legend amongst old Williams alum for the place to be to hang out. Re-opened this past July of 2005, the 6 House offers a very simple menu of sandwiches, salads, Spaghetts!, and burgers for your dining pleasure. The burgers are just plain awesome, probably the best in town, and the wings are certainly on a level comparable to Ye Olde Forge, but much closer to town. The beer selection, while not as expansive as the Forge's, is still decent in its own respect. Perhaps the greatest trait of the 6 House is that it is close to campus and just a great place to hang out with a quaint bar area (including a big screen and 6 tvs) and very pleasant dining room with fire place and outdoor terrace with fire pit. The prices are also very fair for the amount of food you get. Try it some time, you won't be disappointed. Especially if you get the warm brownie sundae...
If you're passing through Amherst to watch the Ephs defeat the dirty 'herst, do yourself a favor and stop in here for some of the BEST pizza in Western Massachusetts. They offer big portions (by the slice) and a huge and interesting variety of toppings. The spicy chicken blue cheese and the sicillian pizzas come highly reccomended. Definitely worth the drive.
31 N. Pleasant St, Amherst, MA (413) 253-0808 Website
Blue Benn Diner
Located in Bennington (Keep driving up Rt. 7 through Bennington.) You'll see an authentic, tiny diner on your left. An amazing variety of food available, from meatloaf to french fries. Not high class, but still delicious. The harvest pancakes are especially good.
Located on the Mass MoCA campus, this swanky restaurant is owned by the same people who run Mezze. Input needed.
Rt. 7 north, (413) 458-5120
Great and Cheap Diner, with a laid back, homey atmosphere. For 10 dollars a person you can get a feast - for 5 a solid meal. I recommend their homefries, reuben, country fried steak (the gravy has sausage in it and is a meal in itself), and peach and walnut waffles. For Sunday brunch you can't beat it - though you may have to wait a few minutes to get a table, the service is quick and the apple-cinnamon french toast is well worth it.
Sake sake sake BOMB!
The "party room" in the back lefthand corner of Chopsticks is the scene of many sake-bombing experiences. Frosh Revue and the Men's Golf Team are frequent partakers of the messiest fun that can be had in the beaded, soundproofed area. Make sure to ask for Sharon as a waitress, who may bang the table with you, or at least bring her cute daughter out to watch.
One time Bibby ordered from here and attempted to get sushi, and they weren't having it. For some reason, he kept asking the foreign phone answerer for more and more complex types of sushi, much to everyone's surprise. Finally, they agreed on some bizarre kind of sushi. Needless to say, Bibby wound up with 6 spring rolls. He called to complain, but it was OK because nobody who he was talking to spoke English. The end.
A word of warning: when they tell you how long to wait for delivery, double it. It usually takes them about an hour and a half to deliver, so ORDER EARLY!!!
Constantine, the proprietor, is a minor Route 2 celebrity. This pushy flirt almost invariably concludes his phone exchanges with "OK, I take care of you" in a Greek immigrant accent. Anyway, the pizza is pretty good and not too pricey, although not many people swear by the crust. The calzones aren't bad, either. Colonial's delivers to Williams, and closes at "midnight" (11:30-midnight) on weekdays. Why do they still answer the phone when they're closed? They bring your hopes up, then crush them.
The chicken parm calzone with blue cheese is real good.
234 Main St Williamstown, MA 01267-2641 map Phone: (413) 458-9009
The newest offering in off-campus dining, Coyote Flaco is a short drive away on Route 7 South, not far from Sheep Hill. Upon entering, you'll immediately encounter the congenial hostess who will take you to your table. She'll hand you the drinks menu, which is an impressive collection of different kinds of margaritas. They have over 50 kinds of Tequila, ranging from the house brand to the likes of Cuervo Reserva de la Familia; make sure to bring a designated driver along in order to enjoy some tasty drinks. Although the sign outside reads that the restaurant offers "Mexican and Spain cuisine", there is sadly only one Iberian offering--the Paella Valenciana. Otherwise, the menu reads much like one would expect of a Mexican restaurant. The food is very tasty and enjoyable, but traditional Mexican food aficionados may be disappointed in its lack of spicyness. The service can be slow at times, but the waitstaff is very helpful, and both the manager and the hostess came over to my table at different times to make sure that we were enjoying our meal. Overall, this new restaurant is certainly worth a try. You won't be disappointed.
Unknown to most students, probably because it doesn't deliver, but possibly the best pizza place in Williamstown.
Rt. 7 north, Williamstown, MA (413) 458-3854
Located in Colonial Plaza, probably just too far to walk (though you can certainly do that if you want to). It looks kind of like a hole in the wall, but Tex-Mex makes for a nice change from the Spring Street restaurants.
Pretty standard American fast food type tex-mex fare-- Nothing too well seasoned or too savory. Frankly, the food is downright mediocre. Just a basic alternative to wrap night.
It's pretty easy to get served alcohol here, perhaps easiest at the Desperados in North Adams.
If you show your driver's license, they'll give you a free dinner on your birthday.
A few minutes' walk east of campus on Rt. 2 (on the right, opposite Cumberland Farms). Best coffee in town.
Does not take credit card or debit card, so bring cash.
Some call it the best dining within an hour's drive of campus. For a full four course meal -- and you'll be wanting it -- expect $30 per person (cash or check only), including soup, appetizer, entree, and complimentary salad and bread. Don't bother with dessert -- it is not as special as the other courses, and you won't have room (but if you do, ask for the Nun's Cheesecake. Every time I go, they're out of it).
This small Italian restaurant is run out of what seems to be a small house by the side of the road in Pittsfield, about a 45 minute drive from campus. Reservations are recommended, and do not blow one off without calling them, or come significantly late, as you may be blacklisted. Show up, and the service here is unsurpassed, an absolute joy. The cook, Tom, may serve you personally, lay a meaty hand on your shoulder and chat with you, and occassionally brings Williams students free appetizers. They love us there.
Everything is made fresh to order and freshly acquired that morning. No one I've eaten with has ever had one single complaint. The salad is a mix of fresh everything-you-can-imagine yet perfectly harmonious to the taste, delighting even to non-salad enthusiasts (eg, me). The spicy tomato corn soup is a balance of light spice and bold tomato flavor that will astonish you with its subtle perfection -- go for the full bowl, you'll be wanting it. Hot bread is brought out constantly (though you may have to remind the cute waitress if you don't fear filling up on it) and is warm, chewy, and thick. For an appetizer, be sure to get the goat cheese "chevre-deux," though some favor the fried onion with a little salt.
I won't even speak about entrees. You can't go wrong. Though this is not a vegetarian restaurant, most meals happen to be meatless, so this place is very friendly to eaters of that ilk. Be sure to listen to the specials before deciding, as there is always something to make you want to change your mind.
- Lactose intolerant? Bring the Lactaid along.
- 21? Go for the 22 ounce BBC Steel Rail... and try to finish it.
- Freshman? Ash your JA to take your entry here on dues (pay your dues!).
- Think you like cheese enough to eat the whole gorgonzola dish in one sitting? You don't.
- Go on a date here. Get the Lizzy's Mushrooms appetizer. Eat it. Kiss.
- They don't take credit cards. Bring cash or a check.
Elizabeth's, 1264 East St. Pittsfield, 01201. Tel. (413) 448-8244
On route 2 across from the Big Y in North Adams. Great service compliments a good menu and a relaxed, intimate atmosphere. Think in terms of a classy, but not overly formal, date place. The prices are higher than one will find at most other local restaurants, but there are also a couple of reasonably priced dishes on the menu (like the pasta dish for 10 dollars).
A small, cozy bistro right near Mass MOCA. Excellent appetizers (especially the crab cake with a light wasabi sauce) and pretty nice desserts (the chocolate cake with raspberry hits the spot), but the entrees themselves were on the weak side. Reservations recommended. Website. Phone: (413) 663-5300.
The professors' Subway -- twice the quality at twice the price.
In this author's opinion, not really practical for students unless you are getting treated by a prof. Think yuppie. Light and interesting sandwich options that will meet a standard appetite, but you pay for it. Bidding starts at ~$7.50. Tasty, with freshest ingredients of all local sandwich shops.
If Subway's not good enough, better you stop walking at Pappa Charlie's. If you want that touch of class with the meal, hit up their juice bar downstairs.
Hickory Bill's Bar-B-Que
A small restaurant set up like a take-out joint, Hickory Bill's is known to Williams students for providing a solid rendition of a cuisine unavailable anywhere else in the area. Bill's is the best place in the area for delicious and satisfying barbeque.
Try the brisket (it's delicious), or the ribs, and don't forget to add a liberal helping of BBQ sauce (comes in "hot" and "mild" flavors; both are fantastic.) Dinner meals are around eight or nine dollars and come with a large portion of meat, a choice of two sides (beans, coleslaw, potato salad, etc...) and a peice of their amazing Mexican cornbread. You can get a lunch special for around $5. The portions are large and satisfying, and well worth it. If you've got room left, finish the meal off with a piece of their homestyle sweet potato pie. If you're in a rush, call in advance and stop by for take out, but if you have time, sit at a table and talk to Hickory Bill (a very chill guy). He'll give you a student discount (something around 10%) if he likes you.
The family meal (I forget what it's called exactly) that claims to serve 6 indeed does and is an excellent value. The potato salad is good too.
20 Holden St North Adams, MA, 01247 (Right next to Gideon's) (413) 663-6665
Located on the west side of Water Street between Latham and Meacham, Hobson's Choice offers excellent "American cuisine and seafood" for moderate prices. It features a make-your-own-salad bar, and the cozy atmosphere is highlighted by lots of those little hand-crafted puzles where you have to get a metal ring off some convoluted intertwining of other metal rings and triangles and bars. You know the sort. I highly recommend the Cajun blackened swordfish/tuna.
Not to be confused with Hobson's Choice in Williamstown, Victoria, Australia. You may also be interested to know the origin of the phrase (a "hobson's choice" is a supposed choice where there is really no choice at all; presumably, in this context the implication is that one has no choice but to eat at the restaurant, since the food is so good).
159 Water Street Williamstown, MA 01267 Phone: (413) 458-9101
Simply the best pizza you are likely to find anywhere in Western Massachusetts. Somewhat expensive ($20 for a large pie), no side dishes, they often don't deliver, and they close too early. However, the pizza makes it all worthwhile. The crust beats Colonial's any day. Try the pizza with pesto instead of tomato sauce, or eggplant and feta toppings.
Located at the intersection of Latham St. and Water St., near the Water Street Grill. Just start walking south on Water St. at the bookstore, and the smell of fresh pizza will guide you. Call 413-458-2722.
Of the people I know, about half prefer Colonials to Hot Tomatoes and vice versa. One of its criticisms is its sweet pizza sauce which they use a good deal of.
Jack's Hot Dog Stand
What a place. Located at 12 Eagle Street in North Adams, this hot dog stand is famous among locals for its chili cheese fries and 95 cent hot dogs and "hamburgs" (as they're called in North Adams). All items on the menu are cheap and delicious. Probably the best choice for lunch or dinner in North Adams, especially when you're in the mood for something greasy and delicious. Jack's can't be beat, especially because Chef Mike, the infamous carrot-topped chef, has an impeccable memory and remembers exactly what each of the regular clientele eats. Be wary of the time however, as Mike's prima donna personality increasingly becomes an issue as it nears closing time and the hot North Adams's party scene (where he is a huge player). The best way to go for dinner is one chili cheese dog, two double bacon "cheeseburgs", and an order of chili cheese fries. Phone: 413-664-9006. Open since 1917. They do deliver to Williamstown, but it's probably best to get your food fresh. No credit cards accepted--cash only.
An Asian-fusion restaurant that is better than both Thai Garden and Chopsticks (in my opinion). Jae's Inn is also less pricey than Thai Garden. It's located just a little past Walmart on the right. Their pad thai is especially amazing if you prefer your pad thai an Americanized, sugar-filled glob. The sushi is divine as well.
It's a little far, but definitely worth the drive! It's also an Inn (as you might guess from the name...), so it's a bit nicer, but the ambiance is still very warm and inviting, with an art collection better suited for the Walmart across the street.
Le Jardin is owned by the same people and is a much classier (and much pricier) option closer to home.
1111 South State Street (Rt 8) North Adams, MA 01247 (413) 664-0100
Lickety-Split is great for ice cream, of course, but also serves a nice quiche and salad lunch (among other things) during the academic year.
69 Spring Street, Williamstown
Little Anthony's Pizza
Little Anthony's, located in North Adams, is an establisment relatively unknown among Williams students that is becoming well-regarded for its thick, tasty pizza. The Anthony Deluxe is a winner, they deliver to Williams, and they're open till one. What's not to like? Well, for one, they have a $15 minimum order for deliveries. Usually a pizza and a big bottle of soda will get you there. Also, they stop delivering to Williamstown at 11:30 on weeknights.
They have a special on Tuesdays - two XL pizzas for the price of one. There's also the triple nickel: 3 medium 1-topping pizzas for 5.55 each, and crazy eights: 3 XL 1-topping pizzas for 8.88 each. It's just a little ridiculous. They also have insanely good calzones for around 6 dollars, as well as wraps, sandwiches, chicken wings, potato skins, pasta, popcorn chicken, cheesecake... and pretty much anything you could ever desire.
1 River St North Adams, MA 01247-2404 Phone: (413) 662-3600
Located a block past the overpass on Rte. 2, the North Adams McDonald's is almost always visited by Williams students between the hours of 1:30 and 5 a.m., the time when it's the only hot food in town. Caveat esor.
Mezze Bar and Bistro
Located a couple of stores before Water Street Books. The fancy restaurant you get your parents to take you to when they're in town. Nice website, too.
16 Water Street Williamstown, Ma 01267 (413) 458-0123
Possibly the most stuck-up place around- there are many other places around that I would go to before I would ever go back to Mezze. Gideon's is a nice alternative for a classy atmosphere minus the snooty attitudes.
Lovely Greek/Italian restaurant located a few minutes' walk east of campus on Rt. 2 (on the left before you get to Cumberland Farms). Solid entrees, priced between $10 and $14. Friendly service. Free garlic bread and soup or salad with any entree, which makes it a good value. Order a carafe of retsina and try the Greek desserts - the baklava and the galaktobouriko are to die for. Note that the hours can be a bit iffy...do a quick drive-by first to see if they're open, but if they are, definitely go in.
The Mill on the Floss
This cosy yet refined French restaurant 15 minutes down Route 7 has been around for 30 years. It used to be the only game in town when it came to fine dining, but its star shines less brightly now with so many more options close to Williamstown. That said, it remains a favorite for special occasions, such as graduation. Unlike its newer rivals, the Mill on the Floss knows what it does best - French country cooking - and has a well-trained staff and a consistently good menu. Good wine, too.
East of campus on Route 2, on your left after a few minute's drive. What can I say; it's a diner! Solid but unremarkable food, really exactly what you'd expect. Good, but ten times better if it were at the foot of Spring Street.
The Pot of Gold, two half potatoes stuffed with scrambled eggs, cheese, and meat, is recommended for breakfast.
Pappa Charlie's Deli
Tastier than Subway, but also slightly more expensive. Mad crowded at lunch, and whenever any parents are in town. They make all sorts of sandwiches named after celebrities. Their gyros are surprisingly weak. Don't forget about the tasty juice/smoothie bar in the basement!
Try the Richard Chamberlain for the delicious turkey/cranberry sauce you've always known belonged together on a sandwich.
One of the cashiers, though, has a terrible attitude. She's been known to rush you through your order and snap at customers who don't know what they want. Not the most charming presence you want as the public image of your deli.
A friendly and unpretentious pub located behind Subway. Make friends with the staff, and you will get great service. Don't go there to act like a drunken jackass - Williams students have a bad reputation at this place and other bars or pubs in town. This author's favorite place to grab a leisurely Sunday lunch. Burgers and wings are cheaper than at the Red Herring or the Water Street Grill. A hearty meal of a burger and fries with a good cold draught beer (try the local Berkshire Brewing Company beers on tap) can be had for less than $10 - beats Subway "sandwiches" or dining hall "brunch" on those lazy weekend afternoons.
8 Bank Street, Williamstown MA 01247 Tel: (413) 458-3306 Fax: (413) 458-2586 [Link to Website]
Large portions of food and well worth the trip. To get there, take Rt. 7 most of the way through Bennington. It will be hidden back a ways on your left, and very brightly colored.
If you're looking for a swankier Mexican restuarant, try Cafe Latino at Mass Moca.
Located on Spring Street, below Images Cinema (turn left and go downstairs before entering the cinema). Good beers on tap and a few hearty entrees and snacks. Decent wings, and probably the best place in town for burgers. Best to avoid on Friday and Saturday nights when you will be lucky if the bartender even acknowledges your existence in the crowd.
Or... best to attend on Friday or Saturday nights, when you won't be the only person there.
Semi-delicious, cheapest sandwiches in town. Ask about the discounted sandwich of the day. You will have eaten at one of these before. Ask for the special spicy sauce (it's red in colour - I don't remember its name but it's awesome). Ask for extra napkins if you get the sweet onion teriyaki sub because that sauce just goes everywhere. Closes too early though.
Avoid the meatball sub. Eat the Italian BMT.
Spice Root is a mid sized restaraunt on Spring Street that serves Indian food. The food is as close to authentic Indian that you'll find within a pretty good radius, and tastes quite good. Modestly priced student meals are available ($10 for a sit in meal and $5 for a take away of small proportions) The Naan bread is good, as is the tandoori chicken. The chole (pronounced chho-lay) served with a student meal is excellent.
Not for the hard-core Indian food fans who might be offended by the mixture of North Indian and South Indian cuisines, but definitely worth a try. Check out the buffet lunch for $7 -- an excellent deal any day!
23 Spring St, Williamstown, MA (413) 458-5200
One of the greatest places for sugar, spice, and everything nice. This place sells candy, ice-cream, burritos, and stuffed llama (the fake cotton kind), all in a colorful little place next to a toy store! Try anything on the menu and it's good. The atmosphere is wonderful. So, enough of my Zagat review, check it out and enjoy all of it's pleasantries
15 Eagle Street, North Adams, MA
Sushi Thai Garden
Down Spring Street, great place for Thai food. They now serve sushi!
For extra authenticity, don't say "Pad Thai" with an 'a' like in 'paddy'. It's more like a cross between the 'a' in father mixed with 'putt'.
Water Street Grill
This author's favorite in-town restaurant. A pub-restaurant with solid fare at reasonable prices. A Forge alternative if you are short on time, or haven't made a Forge reservation on their busy night: the Forge is better in most ways, but the Grill has better entrees.
Prices average $12 for a full entree, or $7 - $10 for anything on the lunch-geared "pub menu." The burger platter, at a reasonable ~$7 with all toppings included, is a favorite for a cheap quick meal for some. Other meals in between. True to expectations for this kind of restaurant, portions are hearty.
The chicken pesto over penne, my favorite, and the sizzling platter of fajitas come highly recommended. The potato skins and other appetizers are solid. On the whole, this place seems to satisfy with something for everyone.
- Actually, I disagree. The Water Street Grill is an abysmal place. Service is slow. Moreover, even when the Grill is slow, they are also getting your orders wrong. Food is bland, depressing, and most times cold. My friends and I have vowed never to return and to spread the word.
The Sunday brunch is not to be missed. Beg, borrow, or steal your way to one of those meals. For the more, but not absolutely, ethically endowed, keep an eye on speakers coming to campus sponsored by departments and special-interest clubs. Many clubs take a speaker who stays overnight out to the brunch the next day, and students are invited to come on Uncle Eph's tab. Frequently, there are even more seats than demand! Bring your significant other on a free date!
Ye Olde Forge
A restaurant/tavern on Rt. 7 about 20 minutes from campus (14 if Z-Mac is driving). The wings alone are reason enough to make the trip. Also famous for its wide selection of beers and the Beer Card; sample 50 different beers within a year and you'll get an engraved pewter stein (although it may take up to 9 months before you see it as was the case for the Shokstar).
Don't forget to have a designated driver! This is a classic getaway, especially for upperclassmen, but over the years it has become increasingly popular among the Williams community. A perfect night at the Forge involves several of their quality beers on tap (they normally have about 15 on tap at any time in addition to almost 300 more bottled varieties available), a cup of chili with cheese and top it off with some Dean's Original wings (the buffalo style). Contrary to popular belief, the Forge also does food other than wings, some of which is also very tasty. Try the foccaccias.
On the poster above the urinal in the male bathroom you may witness ongoing communication between two 05's (Shokstar and Z-mac) who loved the place more than anything else and still return there every other weekend despite having graduated and living several hours away.
The butternut squash quesadillas are really good.
But not as good as the Deans, which are great. It's all about the Buff Orpingtons, baby -- sweet and gooey and a Forge exclusive.
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