Published in CISA’s E-newsletter in 2011.
Click here for an interview and more from Sylvester’s.
Sylvester’s Restaurant is legend in Northampton, and not just because of its namesake – graham cracker inventor Sylvester Graham. Voted “Best Breakfast” multiple years running by the infamous Valley Advocate poll, locals know that Sylvester’s is the place to go for hearty, delicious breakfast and brunch.
After working in numerous restaurants, owner Peter St. Martin scraped and saved to open his own place. This provided the freedom to try out new ideas and have more control over what was served. “Our goal at the outset was to serve delicious made from scratch food from quality products,” he says.
The emphasis on buying local that has taken off in recent years fits right in with the philosophy at Sylvester’s. Peter purchases local dairy, meat and vegetables, noting that, “People want it and ask for it and I feel we have more control over the quality by buying from local farmers.” He says that the customers notice, and appreciate the effort that restaurants make to provide the freshest ingredients while supporting a locally-based food system. The community aspect is vital to Peter, who is glad to see farms flourishing thanks to growing awareness about supporting local.
The Sylvester’s menu is a work of genius, sure to anticipate any breakfast or brunch craving. There are multiple varieties of pancakes and French toast, eggs every which way, and classic sides like hash browns and bacon. The menu itself reflects how rooted the restaurant is in community. You can order The Mt. Tom (an egg sandwich with tomato and red onion) or the Norwottuck Rail Trail omelet (ham, onions, peppers, homefries and cheese). The Community Gardens Eggs Benedict is aptly named, and features veggies grown right here in Western Mass. All the eggs are local and organic, yogurt comes from the cows at Sidehill Farm in Ashfield, and goat cheese from The Farmstead at Minebrook. Like maple syrup on your French toast? Go for the good stuff from Snowshoe Farm in Worthington. The bounty of summer brings in local tomatoes, tangy in house-made salsa and gazpacho. Another customer favorite, “those local blueberries and strawberries are so delicious in our pancakes and our fruit cups,” says Peter.
And as if that wasn’t enough – they also serve lunch! Specialty sandwiches, burgers, soups and salads make up a selection that is sure to please any hungry patron. Gluten-free or dining with kids? Sylvester’s has got you covered.
If he weren’t in the restaurant business, Peter says he would be farming. “Raising local beef and chicken as well as local vegetables would be a great way to spend my next 20 years.” For now, however, his vegetable gardens will have to remain a hobby. We need him making breakfast.
Sylvester’s is open 7am-3pm, 7 days a week. Call 413-586-5343 to make a reservation.
Here is a quick and easy favorite from Peter St. Martin for you to make at home…
Cold Gazpacho Soup
1 quart tomato juice
2-4 local slightly firm ripe tomatoes
1 c. ocal cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 local green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 local red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 local scallions, chopped
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
2 T. olive oil
Salt to taste
1-2 T. Tabasco
1/2 C. cilantro, stemmed and chopped
1 T. ground black pepper
Mix all ingredients together. Chill overnight in refrigerator. Serves 6-8