Off the Menu: OpenTable produces its Top 10 list for Western Mass
Posted Jun 12, 2021
By Hugh Robert | Special to The Republican
Best restaurant around? It’s a question the answer to which will vary widely depending on of whom it is asked.
There was a time when such pronouncements were the prerogative of food writers and professional critics, but in the 21st century we all have a way to make our opinions widely known — online reviews.
OpenTable, the online reservation service, collects and analyzes over 400,000 new diner reviews it receives every month. Periodically they use those summaries to generate a crowd-sourced overview of those establishments OpenTable users consider to be the best of the best.
Their recent Top 10 list for Western Massachusetts proved to be an interesting cross section of local dining destinations. Out of the 10 restaurants Open Table afforded “Best Overall Restaurant” status, six were from the Pioneer Valley.
Restaurants on the “Best Overall” roster include B Napoli in West Springfield, with its contemporary Italian fare; Johnny’s Tavern in Amherst; and Hanna Devine’s in Ware.
Tucker’s Restaurant in Southwick earned a spot, as did 30Boltwood, the in-house restaurant at Amherst’s Inn on Boltwood.
The only Northampton listing, the Tunnel Bar, apparently gained its placed due to its “reservations” policy, since food is not a significant aspect of the Tunnel Bar experience.
The remaining four slots on the “Best Overall” list were claimed by Berkshire County operations, including the well-regarded Mezze Bistro + Bar; the Barn Kitchen at The Williams Inn (both in Williamstown); Cafe Boulud at Blantyre in Lenox; and the Stagecoach Tavern in Great Barrington.
Of course, like any aggregation of opinion, the OpenTable list has biases built in. Only those restaurants that use the OpenTable system of online reservations would be among the restaurants included, so otherwise top-notch operations not affiliated with OpenTable have no chance to make the list.
The Irish House Restaurant at the Irish Cultural Center in West Springfield has announced that it has converted its Sunday brunch experience into a buffet. The brunch is being served from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with seating inside and on the patio. Reservations are suggested.
The menu includes morning favorites such as scrambled eggs and bacon but also components of a traditional Irish country breakfast-black pudding, baked beans, Irish bangers, and soda bread.
Also available is the restaurant’s Bloody Mary bar, an option that allows guests to specify a liquor, mixture, rim, and garnish for their own personalized Bloody Mary experience.
For more details, contact the Irish House Restaurant at (413) 342-4358.
June is National Dairy Month, and in celebration of the occasion, six area dairies have teamed up to sponsor the #DairyCrawl. Those choosing to participate in the Crawl will get a “passport” they can have stamped at each location they visit. A completed passport enters the holder in a drawing to win at $25 gift certificate. Participating dairies include Smiarowski Farmstand and Creamery in Sunderland, McCray’s Country Creamery in South Hadley, and four Hadley locations – North Hadley Sugar Shack and Market, Flayvors of Cook Farm, Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery, and Maple Valley Creamery. More details on #DairyCrawl are available at www.barstowslongviewfarm.com/dairy-month-dairy-crawl-2021