Antonio’s and Bruno’s, Amherst, MA

by Andie Mitchell on October 26, 2012

New York, Chicago, Italy…these are pizza meccas. The very mention of any one of them and I’m overcome with phantom smells of mozzarella bubbling over an intense rose red sauce. Surprising maybe, that Amherst, Massachusetts is such a place for me.  But if anyone knows the pizzerias of my college town, it’s this girl.

Most who know Amherst intimately will turn you in the direction of Antonio’s. Every night out on the town ends with a late night nosh at Antonio’s. Their long counter features at least a dozen different pies, each sold by the quite massive slice. The place is loved for its fresh, eclectic mix of flavors and textures. Two of my favorites: Black Bean Avocado Quesadilla (black beans, avocado, pico de gallo with cilantro, tortilla chips, sour cream, and cheddar) and Potato Bacon (butter sauce, provolone and cheddar, potato, bacon, and rosemary).

I’ll note that they’re not exactly light, but what fantastic pizza is?

While Antonio’s gets most of the buzz, there’s another pizza place in Amherst that I patronized with far greater frequency. Bruno’s is a hole in the wall take out and delivery only pizza joint just off the main street. They have reliably great tasting pizza, specifically their buffalo chicken pizza, my personal favorite.  The real draw at Bruno’s, however, is their pasta dishes. They offer baked penne mixed with your choice of meatballs, sausage, or breaded chicken cutlets covered in housemade sauce, packed with creamy whole milk ricotta, and smothered in melted mozzarella cheese. They’re heavy. They’re hearty. They’re comforting. One dish is best shared or eaten over the course of a few meals, as the portion is massive. The one change I’d make is the addition of more sauce, since it can tend to be on the drier side.

Recently, I went back to Amherst for a visit. I walked around my alma mater, I strolled up and down the main streets of town, I ate at a few my old haunts. A slice at Antonio’s, a small helping of baked penne shared with Daniel at Bruno’s. I savored everything despite some of the less health friendly qualities, knowing that these are once in a very long while foods, and reveling in the fact that nostalgia is, by far, my favorite flavor.

photo by: micronova

Do you have any nostalgic foods/restaurants from high school or college?

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Randy Chong October 26, 2012 at 8:32 pm

“reveling in the fact that nostalgia is, by far, my favorite flavor”

What a perfect sentiment!

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AZJoy October 26, 2012 at 11:36 pm

It’s funny how we all have THAT place, that no others can live up to! I have a couple myself but they are all Mexican Food places. I live in AZ after all!

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Nancy @ Rivertreekitchen October 27, 2012 at 6:28 am

I grew up in South Hadley and went to school at Mt. Holyoke, so Hey, neighbor! Smith, UMass, Amherst, or Hampshire? And is Steve’s Ice Cream still there? The pizza places weren’t there a thousand years ago when I was in college. My favorite place was Judie’s, for their giant popovers and incredible soups.

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Amy October 27, 2012 at 7:34 am

I went to UMASS so Antonio’s and Brunos mean as much to me as they do to you…perhaps more. My roommate dated the manager at Antonio’s so we had all the free pizza we ever wanted…talk about fantastic. And every Thursday (back in the day) I would head to a friend’s apartment to watch Friends and we would order from Brunos. I vacillated between the pasta and the BBQ chicken calzone. Nom.

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Sonal October 28, 2012 at 8:33 am

We used to have this place called “Noodle Bar” whilst I when I was at uni and it was amazingg! So authentic and the servings were in HUGE bowls :)

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Divya @ Eat.Teach.Blog. October 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Yummmmm. That looks amazing.
Just wrote a nostalgia post on my blog – can’t believe how hard that feeling hits sometimes.
There really is nothing quite like college (and the food that went along with it ;) )

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Janet Vaught October 29, 2012 at 4:15 am

Jack’s Donuts in New Castle, IN (my home town) and Pizza King – Only in New Castle and Muncie IN. MMMMmmmmmm. mm.

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Leslie October 29, 2012 at 5:41 am

I went to UMass, and every time I return to campus I make sure that I stop at Antonio’s for a slice of the avocado quesadilla. So good!

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Cara October 29, 2012 at 8:00 am

I went to visit my brother at UMass this weekend! This time we opted for Bueno…. mmmm. But it’s so hard to choose! I would love a popover from Judie’s, calzone from Pinocchios (I think I’m the only person that wasn’t a huge fan of DP Dough), penne a la vodka from Pasta e Basta…

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Maayan October 30, 2012 at 8:52 am

I don’t even remember how I happened upon your blog, but I’ve been reading along for a while. Just wanted to say this post made me so happy. I grew up in Amherst (my parents still live there), but I live in Chicago – so this was a most-welcome slice of home. Good one!

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Krystina October 30, 2012 at 11:41 am

I didn’t like DP Dough either.

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Michal October 30, 2012 at 10:11 am

LOVE Antonio’s. Definitely hold that place responsible for the 5 pounds I packed on in my last visit!

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Krystina October 30, 2012 at 11:39 am

Black bean avocado is my favorite flavor from Antonio’s! Oh, I can’t tell you how amazing a $1 cheese slice is after a late night at the bars.

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Melody Rich October 31, 2012 at 4:21 pm

WOW that sounds so good!

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Kate November 1, 2012 at 4:28 pm

My goodness, my GOODNESS, that pizza looks incredible. Looks like my dinner plans are sorted…

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Elizabeth Moreau November 3, 2012 at 9:13 am

To be so honest and to expose your raw emotions to the world is truly courageous. I have no doubt that courage will always be with you and will guide you to design the rich life you so deserve. Never give up your passion, never give up your dreams. For the world is truly a better place for you being in it.

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CB November 3, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Roccos…a spaghetti restaurant in the cellar of a stone house in Hagerstown, MD. Sweet and savory memories of scoops of pasta in an incredible meat or marinara sauce with meatballs.

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Hannah January 20, 2013 at 11:15 pm

I’ve been scrolling through your posts for the last 10 minutes or so and was surprised to see Antonio’s in Amherst pop up. I just graduated from UMass last May and I miss it everyday. I’ll be visiting next weekend and Antonio’s is at the top of my list of places to stop by. Thank you for this post, it makes me happy to see a familiar name.

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Luis February 15, 2013 at 9:51 pm

I went to UMass over a decade ago… still remember the pizza joints you mentioned (yum). Best calzone EVER, was at Antonio’s (I think that was the name of it – right on Main Street by the railroad) in NOHO… artichoke hearts, pesto, mozzarella, and ricotta. Unfortunately, I haven’t had one in over 12 years since I moved back to Deep South Texas :( Calzones here are nothing like those I had while living in the Pioneer Valley.

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