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Boston Restaurant Blog >> 2007 archives >> June, 2007 >> blog entry

Boston Restaurant Blog -- June, 2007

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Trip to the Pioneer Valley

A couple of weeks ago, we headed west to the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts to check out some of the sights, including, of course, a few restaurants. We ended up having a terrific lunch and dinner, with a leisurely snack in between.

photo of Skip's Roadside Diner, Gill, Massachusetts As we traveled west on Route 2, we started looking at some restaurants along the road. Route 2 has a number of old-fashioned dining spots, and it was tough to choose which one to try. We ended up going to Skip's Roadside Diner in the small town of Gill, just north of Turners Falls. Skip's ended up being an outstanding stop, as the Polish cuisine that we tried was about as good as I've had in New York or Boston. The kapusta, kielbasa, and pierogies were all top notch, and the prices were ridiculously cheap. And Skip and his family are really good people; we got to talk to him for awhile while dining at one of the outdoor picnic tables. All in all, a very nice experience was had at Skip's. By the way, if you would like to read more about Skip's Roadside Diner, go to the link above, as we have a featured review on the restaurant.

photo of Lady Killigrew Cafe, Montague, MassachusettsAfter lunch, we drove around Turners Falls, impressed by all the changes made to this gritty but interesting community, then took a side road over to Montague, which is home to one of the best secrets in all of Massachusetts: The Montague Bookmill. Located just outside of the center of town along the Sawmill River, the Montague Bookmill is an old gristmill that has been converted into a used bookstore, along with a restaurant, a cafe, and a music store. And it is the Lady Killigrew Cafe that we sought out, as we felt like relaxing with a dessert and a drink or two while enjoying the sights and sounds of the river below. So we ordered cupcakes to go along with tea and beer (yes, beer!) and spent a good amount of time just staring down at the river while people all around us were either reading or on their laptops (the mill is set up for wi-fi). Getting back to the beer for a minute, Lady Killigrew happened to have Hennepin Ale that afternoon which is one of my favorite beers on the face of the planet, so I couldn't resist enjoying one with my cupcake.

photo of Chef Wayne's Big Mamou, Springfield, Massachusetts We eventually dragged ourselves away from the Montague Bookmill and spent some time in the surrounding area, including Sunderland and South Deerfield, where we enjoyed some great views from the summit of Mount Sugarloaf. Then we wound our way down through Whatley, Northhampton, and Holyoke before coming to our final destination, which was Chef Wayne's Big Mamou in Springfield. Now for those of you who don't know about this local institution, the Big Mamou is a tiny restaurant that features Creole and Cajun cuisine, with dishes that you don't often find in New England. We started with the incredible Southern-style spinach and chicken Cakes, which were gone in a flash (the mix of cream, nutmeg, hot pepper, and bread crumbs made this dish into something truly special). We then moved onto the our main entrees, which were the New Orleans red beans and rice (a hearty, delicious dish that was so filling that I got two full meals out of it) and the chicken Mississippi (too many ingredients to name, but it was basically sliced chicken mixed with spinach fettucine, along with a ton of herbs, veggies, and spices). We were pretty full after the meals, but did end up trying the bourbon pecan pie, which was easily the best pecan pie I have ever had (no contest!). In retrospect, Chef Wayne's Big Mamou was everything I thought it would be, which is saying a lot, since there has been a lot of hype about this great little restaurant.

I can wholeheartedly recommend all three places that we hit in the Pioneer Valley two weeks ago, and I would surely go back to all of them at any given time. Perhaps next time I may try a sandwich at the Lady Killigrew Cafe, and perhaps even bring my laptop out there so I can write more about it as I sit there, listening to the rushing river below the window. As far as Skip's and the Big Mamou, well, I hope to get out to both places later in the summer as part of another food trip.

Related Blog Entries: cafes, diners, road trips, Springfield restaurants

muskarani said:
I have gone to the Lady Killigrew Cafe many times. The staff is standoffish to downright rude, with one or two exceptions. Students with their laptops hog all the window tables all day, all year, nursing a cup of coffee. The staff is very 'clique' with their friends and cold to others. Many times I have brought friends and ordered full meals for a party of three or more, only to find there is no seating other than the bench, and one person at every large table. The tables are frequently dirty and so is the glassware. If you go more than once, you will soon get bored of the menu. They only stay in business because there is nothing else nearby.
Posted on 12/2/08
Pete said:
Went to Skips Roadside. Food was good. One thing really bothered me, though; we got just 1 fork for me and my wife. When I went and asked for another fork he charged me 50 cents, said he has to pay for them!! Won't be back anytime soon.
Posted on 7/17/10
JDC said:
Went to Skips on a fall trip to pioneer Valley.
The Polish Food was great. The priogie tasted like my grand ma made. The Kaousta was very good also. Kielbasa was awesome. The place was very clean and shinnie skip and his wife were pleasant and. Try a polish Ruben kielbasa pattie on seeded rye bread yumm. It was Oct foliage season terrific .
Posted on 12/31/12

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