Dining

Food: Riff's Alights in New Digs

Easthampton's Riff's Joint flourishes in the Eastworks building.

Comments ()
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Photo By James Heflin
Riff's Joint in Easthampton's Eastworks building

Riff's Joint used to be on Union Street in Easthampton, a stretch of road Riff's owner Jeff Cahill refers to as "almost like a tunnel." That's a pretty accurate stating of the case—cars plow through the narrow thoroughfare, often en route to Rte. 141 and Holyoke. Businesses have come and gone quickly on that block, including the PACE theater and East Village Cafe, among many others.

Riff's was quickly a popular place, especially for take-out, offering a vast menu of mix-and-match sandwiches, burritos and salads offered in signature styles. A "Speedy Gonzalez"-style burrito, for instance, means your standard bean-and-cheese torpedo gets the addition of guacamole, corn and black bean salsa, queso sauce and tortilla strips. Others styles include "Thai Dyed" and "Deputy Dawg."

The portions are generous, and the food is rib-sticking fare. Just-right, house-made tortilla chips accompany many dishes, along with perfectly piquant salsa. The menu may seem like a dizzying over-abundance, but the many combinations work very well. Multiple visits don't exhaust the possibilities when it comes to piling things onto a bun or into a tortilla, and the numerous vegetarian options don't skimp on flavor. Riff's burritos are not exactly traditional; they include items like Asian-style vegetables and peanut sauce, but such crazy-quilt combos all somehow work very well.

In keeping with cartoony themes like Speedy Gonzalez, Riff's snazzy new location in Easthampton's Eastworks building is graced with a wall full of portraits of cartoon characters. Much like Union Street, the new location has seen businesses come and go in short order; it was formerly inhabited by a burger joint, and before that the Blue Moon Grocery. Now it's bright—a yellow and an orange wall gleam near the counter, and large windows provide plenty of light—and it's an inviting space. Riff's seems likely to stay put. What happens outside won't hurt: a Willy Wonka-esque extension of the kitchen's ventilation system broadcasts the aromas of grilling and frying out into the air, providing an olfactory beacon that is, so far, drawing plenty of customers. Cahill says that, since the early January move to Eastworks, lunch volume has tripled, and overall volume has doubled.

Find it Here:

» Search the archives

Local Burger
Local Burger is a family-owned restaurant in downtown Northampton. Our goal is to sell fresh, homemade...
The Sierra Grille
Sierra Grille was voted the best Creative American Fare Restaurant and best Service/Waitstaff in the...
Local Burger
Local Burger is a family-owned restaurant in downtown Northampton. Our goal is to sell fresh, homemade...
The Sierra Grille
Sierra Grille was voted the best Creative American Fare Restaurant and best Service/Waitstaff in the...
Local Burger
Local Burger is a family-owned restaurant in downtown Northampton. Our goal is to sell fresh, homemade...
The Sierra Grille
Sierra Grille was voted the best Creative American Fare Restaurant and best Service/Waitstaff in the...
Local Burger
Local Burger is a family-owned restaurant in downtown Northampton. Our goal is to sell fresh, homemade...
The Sierra Grille
Sierra Grille was voted the best Creative American Fare Restaurant and best Service/Waitstaff in the...
Local Burger
Local Burger is a family-owned restaurant in downtown Northampton. Our goal is to sell fresh, homemade...
The Sierra Grille
Sierra Grille was voted the best Creative American Fare Restaurant and best Service/Waitstaff in the...
Local Burger
Local Burger is a family-owned restaurant in downtown Northampton. Our goal is to sell fresh, homemade...
The Sierra Grille
Sierra Grille was voted the best Creative American Fare Restaurant and best Service/Waitstaff in the...
Local Burger
Local Burger is a family-owned restaurant in downtown Northampton. Our goal is to sell fresh, homemade...
The Sierra Grille
Sierra Grille was voted the best Creative American Fare Restaurant and best Service/Waitstaff in the...
Local Burger
Local Burger is a family-owned restaurant in downtown Northampton. Our goal is to sell fresh, homemade...
The Sierra Grille
Sierra Grille was voted the best Creative American Fare Restaurant and best Service/Waitstaff in the...
Local Burger
Local Burger is a family-owned restaurant in downtown Northampton. Our goal is to sell fresh, homemade...
The Sierra Grille
Sierra Grille was voted the best Creative American Fare Restaurant and best Service/Waitstaff in the...
Local Burger
Local Burger is a family-owned restaurant in downtown Northampton. Our goal is to sell fresh, homemade...
The Sierra Grille
Sierra Grille was voted the best Creative American Fare Restaurant and best Service/Waitstaff in the...
« Previous   |   Next »
Print Email RSS feed

The Great Burrito Smackdown
Size matters, but big isn’t necessarily best
A Tale of Two Restaurants
Coming from different places, two local eateries represent the range of dining available in the Valley.
Cider the Hard Way
Carr’s Ciderhouse in Hadley carves its place in the new and fast-growing cider market.
Beer Around Here
So much to sample, so little time
Rockets in Flight
Matthew Blau’s Fireworks lights up Brattleboro.
The 2014 Pizzalympics
A pizza snob judges two of the region’s tastiest and priciest artisan pizzas.
Noho’s Pearly Gate
At 40, Fitzwilly’s is both a vestige of Northampton’s hardscrabble past and a symbol of its successful present.
An Ode to the Sandwich
The gastronomic creation that best balances deliciousness and convenience