Where's there to eat around here? Here are some restaurants that are nearby, cheap, or good.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The chicken parm calzone with blue cheese is real good.
234 Main St Williamstown, MA 01267-2641 map Phone: (413) 458-9009
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 the food is good. 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. Just a basic alternative to wrap night.
It's pretty easy to get served alcohol here, perhaps easiest at the Desperados in North Adams.
A few minutes' walk east of campus on Rt. 2 (on the right, opposite Cumberland Farms). Best coffee in town.
Simply the best dining in an hour's drive of campus. For a full four course meal -- and you'll be wanting it -- expect $30 per person, inluding salad, soup, appetizer, and entree. 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 35 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 personal service here is unsurpassed, an absolute joy. The cook, Tom, may serve you personally, chat with you, and occassionally brings Williams students free appetizers. They love us there.
Everything is fresh to order and freshly acquired that morning. No one I've eaten with has ever had one single complaint. The salad is fresh everything-you-can-imagine yet perfectly harmonious, and amazing 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 mind 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 veggie, 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 be adventurous.
- 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? You don't.
- Go on a date here. Get the Lizzy's Mushrooms appetizer. Eat it. Kiss.
Elizabeth's, 1264 East St. Pittsfield, 01201. Tel. (413) 448-8244
On route 2 across from the Big Y in North Adams. Good food and a chill atmosphere. Seems like a good date place. Sorta pricy but pretty classy.
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.
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.
Of the people I know, about half prefer Colonials to Hot Tomatoes and vice versa. Hot Tomatoes has a very sweet pizza sauce which they use a good deal of. Some peole love it, I personally am not a huge fan.
An asian fusian 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.
1111 South State Street (Rt 8) North Adams, MA 01247 (413) 664-0100
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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). Closes too early though.
Avoid the meatball sub.
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
Yummy Thai food, reasonably priced, decent portions and conveniently located on Spring Street. What's not to like? A mainstay in Williamstown dining; you won't graduate without having a meal here. The servers, who seem actively hostile to students, do detract from the experience. Possibly the worst service of any place in town after the Red Herring.
Thai tips: If you have never eaten Thai food before, the Pad Thai is a good thing to order. Also, Thai iced tea rocks. Try going at lunch, when the portions and quality are as good, but discounted about 25% over dinner prices!
27 Spring Street, Williamstown, MA (413) 458-0004
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.
Major weakness is probably the service, which has been consistently slow, and has provided some less than clean glassware at times.
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, which is also very tasty.
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.