Eating Here: Food & Drink

Drink for the thirsty, Food for the hungry, Lodging for
the weary, and good keeping for Horses

Thus read the 1785 tavern sign of John Nash in the collections of the Amherst History Museum. Your SHARP local Organizing Committee aspires to the same ideals (well, with the exception of the horses; but we will help you to find parking for your cars).

Amherst has long been known for its hospitality. We would like to think, however, that the food has increased considerably in quality and variety since the eighteenth century. The University of Massachusetts, Amherst College, and the commercial establishments of the downtown will serve you well.

Your SHARP 2019 registration includes the following:


receptions (light food & drinks) on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday evenings

• the informal banquet on Wednesday evening (full meal)

(open bar [beer and wine] Monday night; the others include two tickets for free alcoholic drinks; cash bar if you desire more)

• coffee breaks


Dining On Your Own

Then: Dining Room at Massachusetts Agricultural College, c. 1875
photograph by John Lovell  from Digital Amherst, Jones Library

Now: The award-winning Blue Wall Eatery, University of Massachusetts, 2015

The University of Massachusetts Amherst has for three years in a row been recognized as having the best campus food in the United States, and the establishments in the Campus Center as well as student dining commons offer a wide variety of excellent, affordable food for every taste.

We concluded that having SHARPists purchase lunch on their own would cost them less than having to pay for catered lunches (with fewer choices) via a higher registration fee.

Although the full range of dining options in the Blue Wall restaurant area of the Campus Center will not be available due to renovation work, the following establishments will be open for regular service:

• Harvest Market: sushi, the regular hot bar, and salad bar 
(open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; till 7 on weekends)

• People’s Organic: sandwich, salads, and baked good options
(open for food service 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; coffee service till 4)

There will also be “boutique [i.e. somehow reduced-service] versions” of:

Green Fields: salads
(open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday)

Deli Delish: sandwiches
(open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday)

Tamales: authentic Mexican food
(open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday)

Wasabi: sushi and other authentic Asian foods
(open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday)

In addition, SHARPists will have the option of getting lunch from the full award-winning menu at the nearby Franklin Dining Commons (price: $11.50, buffet, all you can eat)

Note: The above websites include maps and information on current hours and menus.
All these establishments will accept payment by either cash or credit card.


SHARPists who do not have breakfast included with their accommodations may purchase it at Harvest Market or People’s Organic
at the nearby Franklin Dining Commons (price: $8.50 for buffet, all you can eat; opens 7 a.m.)


Dinner will be available at the Franklin Dining Commons (price: $14.50, buffet, all you can eat)

Please note, however, that, the Dining Commons is open only till 8:00 p.m., and our SHARP receptions are scheduled to run to that hour.

We anticipate that many or most SHARPists will in any case wish to explore the wide variety of dining options in downtown Amherst.


• Most Amherst restaurants take food orders till 9:00 p.m. (sometimes 10). Bars may offer light food until later. If in doubt, check on the web or call ahead.

• Massachusetts State Law requires bars to stop serving alcohol by 2:00 a.m., but most Amherst establishments will cease by midnight or 1:00 a.m.

Dining in “Amherst the village beautiful, cultured and literary”

The corner of the intersection of Pleasant and Amity Streets in the center of downtown now occupied by the hideous Bank of America building was once the site of a succession of taverns and inns, including the Amherst House, which was the premier destination for lodging and dining in the 19th century. The hotel closed in 1917, but the building went on to host both retail stores and the public library until destroyed by fire in 1926. 

Photograph by John Lovell, from Amherst the village beautiful, cultured and literary/Amherst House hotel par excellence (Springfield, Mass. : John C. Otto, printer, n.d.), Digital Amherst

Like many small towns, Amherst has lost much of its traditional retail trade first to shopping malls and then to the internet. In its place are niche businesses; above all: restaurants, catering to the needs of the year-round local residents, students, and tourist trade alike.

Today, there are some 50 cafes, restaurants, and bars in the compact downtown area located approximately 0.7 to 1.1. miles /1.1 to 1.8 km from the main conference venues at the University.

We are delighted to announce that, in partnership with the Amherst Business Improvement District (BID) and local business owners, we have arranged for some special welcomes for SHARP 2019 participants, ranging from discounted meals to unique named cocktails.

As you see, the discounts apply only to food, not alcoholic drinks, but as compensation for that, you will find that Osteria Vespa and the High Horse (where the Tuesday night welcome event takes place) have created signature cocktails in honor of SHARP. Please thank your hosts for these generous welcome gestures.

Note: in order to take advantage of them, be sure to have your SHARP name tag (or other proof of participation) with you.

Your conference packet will include a list and map of restaurants and bars.