Judie's North_Pleasant_Street











Amherst Brewing









Judie’s Judie’s is probably the restaurant that defines Amherst, Massachusetts, more than any other single eatery. It is the place in Amherst to take a date, to bring your relatives when they come to visit, or to have a pleasant Friday evening with your friends. The food is upscale and very rich, not what you would want to eat every day, but always nice for a special occasion. Judie’s is now expanding to twice its original capacity, and is a must-visit here in Amherst.



New American


 Amherst Center

Food 48/60

 Atmosphere 27/30

Attitude 10/10

Value 79/100


Casual Restaurant
Sun and Tues-Thurs
11:30am - 10:30pm
Fri-Sat 11:30am - 11pm
Closed Monday

51 N. Pleasant St.
(413) 253-3491

Bar: Full
Credit Cards: Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations: Not Accepted

Vegetarian-Friendly. Date-friendly. Food after llpm (weekends only).


Every once in a while, a restaurant ceases being just a restaurant and ascends to a role as a culinary time capsule. It becomes an institution whose enduring menu preserves a pathway to the gustatory memory of a moment in the development of a community. In 1977, when Judie's opened its doors, the Pioneer Valley offered little more than a few old- New-England pot-roasters, one fancy French restaurant, the odd chop- suey purveyor, and a horde of Betty Crocker-style menus. This establishment was the response of a visionary who longed for something more.

In the quarter of a century since, Judie's has traversed the arc of a venerable restaurant. It hit its stride. It gained immense popularity. Now, a quarter of a century later, Judie's has begun, gracefully, to show its age. The immediate visual impact of the enormous, iconic popovers is no longer such a customer-satisfaction slam-dunk. It's no longer novel for Judie's to combine sweet and savory elements in, say, the curried chicken salad sandwich; late-model fusion restaurants have evolved several stages beyond this confusing melange of peanut, banana, raisin, coconut, cranberry, apple butter, and curry. Still, the sandwich tastes good.

So it's hard to say whether the queues that still stretch out the door at peak times (try off-hours for better results) derive more from loyalty to a wonderfully friendly Amherst institution than from a deep craving for the restaurant's steeply priced, irreverently eclectic food, which ranges from okay to tasty. Almost anything on the bewilderingly large menu can come served with, or inside, a popover, which is tender and eggy but not quite worth all the fuss. Baked onion soup is too salty, but it's still satisfying. Crispy french fries are bland and mealy on the inside. A green salad is bitter. Lobster and mussels do all right, but fish can fall flat. But reliably good desserts, such as bananas Foster and a chocolate lava cake, have a devoted following. And reasonably priced cocktails and wines prove that new-age eclecticists don't have to be teetotalers.

The several rooms are cute, kitschy, and flowery; design accents seem to have started out as craft-store supplies. The decor is a bit precious, but works with the restaurant's homey, welcoming appeal. The menu and attitude couldn't be more vegetarian-friendly, students-with- parents-friendly, senior-friendly, or almost-anything-or-anyone-else- friendly. And, with apologies to the popovers and quirky ingredient combinations, perhaps that has been this restaurant's most important contribution of all.

Review from The Menu by Robin Goldstein and Clare Murumba, Used with permission.
The Menu may be purchased from Amazon.com by following the link to the left.

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