Munchies With Max: Homemade Ice Cream Still Reigns Supreme in Amherst
By Max Gilbert '13, Staff Writer
Last week, unfulfilled by Val and craving the unseasonably warm night air, I decided to take a walk to Bart’s Café. My first visit to Bart’s was on a visit to Amherst during my senior year of high school. They had an impressive selection of high-quality ice cream, but the establishment was nothing to go home raving about (like Antonio’s was).

I ate at Bart’s a few times during my freshman year, but they then closed for renovations. I had yet to make a visit since the reopening, and thought an ice cream splurge would be the perfect opportunity to write a food review and satiate my insufferable, homework-inhibiting sweet tooth.

The first thing that strikes you when you walk into Bart’s is the cotton-candy-pink walls. The bright colors and art deco design were a little much but fitted a place dedicated to the ultimate fun food. The new Bart’s boasted not just its ice cream, but also numerous bakery offerings and coffee selections. Feeling indulgent, a friend and I ordered a mocha-fudge sundae, a slice of chocolate peanut butter cup pie, a cupcake and a cup of coffee.

Ice cream is my all-time favorite food, and I consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur. In all fairness, the ridiculous sundae that I had the pleasure of eating was not merely a showcase for the ice cream itself. The coffee-flavored mocha ice cream was on top of a warm, fudgy brownie, and the whole thing was topped off with a generous amount of thick hot fudge and fluffy whipped cream. The dessert was very visually enticing, served in a traditional sundae dish with long spoons.

Isolated from the sundae, the ice cream itself was really quite good. I do not think it can stand up to the incredible creaminess and flavor of Herrell’s in Northampton, but is certainly a great alternative for those not willing to travel. I have eaten so much ice cream at so many different places in my short lifetime, and Bart’s is certainly on the upper end of the spectrum. Much better than Baskin Robbins or Dairy Queen, Bart’s falls just a step above a Coldstone or Maggie Moo’s in terms of its ice cream.

We ate the slice of pie and the cupcake without complaint. The pie was not overly sweet, which is a gripe I tend to have with peanut butter desserts. The cupcake was a little dry, but the icing was delicious. While I never turn down baked goods, the pastries at Bart’s do not stand up to the amazing desserts at The Black Sheep. Neither did the coffee, which was about as fair in quality as it was in trade.

All in all, I think Bart’s may have over-extended itself. With Rao’s, Starbucks, Amherst Coffee and the Black Sheep, the small town of Amherst has plenty of great options for coffee and pastry. What Bart’s does best is what it always has — they make great ice cream. As winter approaches the desire for ice cream will likely wane, but in the spring keep Bart’s in mind as the go-to place for ice cream in town.

Issue 09, Submitted 2010-11-17 01:20:14