Farm to Main Street: New Northampton sandwich shop to focus on locally-sourced food

MassLive, April 07, 2017, By Michelle Williams

A new restaurant is set to open this summer in Northampton, offering a new take on standard lunch offerings.

Belly of the Beast will focus on serving local, in-season foods alongside a selection of beer and wine.

Owners Aimee Francaes and Jesse Hassinger plan to source the majority of vegetables, meats, cheeses and breads from farms and shops within a 250-mile radius of the restaurant.

To serve locally grown produce during New England winters, Francaes and Hassinger will preserve foods by canning, pickling and drying.

The menu will be seasonal, with different takes on classic sandwiches available certain times of the year.

“We’re always going to have a BLT, but tomatoes are only at their prime a couple of months out of the year,” said Hassinger. In the coldest months, fresh tomatoes will be swapped for pickled ones and in the fall, the sandwiches may feature fried green tomatoes.

Francaes and Hassinger say they will specialize in accommodating dietary restrictions, from offering gluten and dairy free options to customizing menu items for less common allergies.

Belly of the Beast will replace Lhasa Cafe, which occupied the downtown storefront at 159 Main St. for more than a decade.

“We lucked out,” Francaes said, of the space that is currently in the middle of renovations.

“Being in the heart of Northampton, it seemed really fortuitous,” said Hassinger.

The pair hope to open Belly of the Beast in June, open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. with a menu focused on lunch with some menu options for breakfast, others for dinner.