Unsung Eats: Valhalla, Adams — mythic taste, priced for mere mortals

June 1, 2019

Here at Unsung Eats we usually have to search out the rare gems for great food at a good value but in this particular case the eatery found us.  We kept hearing, “Hey, have you tried Valhalla yet?” and when the Greylock Glass ran its Greylock Nation’s Greatest: 2019 readers poll, it was Valhalla Eatery in Adams that kept on popping up, so we knew who was going on the short list.

Just south of Adams Center at 85 Commercial Street, Valhalla Eatery shares a building with The Viking Pub, and you are even invited to sip a cold one in the pub and order from Valhalla’s menu. Valhalla will prepare your meal and deliver it through a common doorway. Valhalla focuses on take-out and delivery and as I entered the eatery it was clear to see they are all about the food. There are two stools at the pickup counter and the rest of the place is all kitchen!

The aptly named burger, "The Balder," bravely adorns itself with lettuce, roasted tomatoes, and onions, allowing it's brave flavors to shine through. Highly recommended side item? The hand cut wedge fries; photo by James Kennedy.
“The Balder” burger bravely adorns itself with lettuce, roasted tomatoes, and onions, allowing its flavors to shine through. Recommended side item? Amazing hand cut wedge fries; photo by James Kennedy.

I sat down at the counter and it was difficult not to introduce myself to the owners, Mike and Katie, as I was basically sitting in their kitchen. I picked up the menu, and the Norse theme was apparent throughout with some pretty interesting ingredient combinations. I decided on The Balder Burger and steak fries and continued my conversation with the owners. Mike, the chef, spoke very passionately about flavor and told me they had opened Valhalla in September of 2018 in response to the success of their food truck Cornucopia, and that the larger kitchen has been a blessing for both ventures. There are plans for more indoor seating and some sidewalk tables as well. 

Mike sources local meats and produce when he can, and from time to time even uses game in his specials, citing that the venison tacos were a big hit. The menu definitely has both a European and American flair that ranges from pierogis, kielbasa, and his homemade sauerkraut to pulled pork, grilled Cajun chicken, and beer braised brisket. Katie educated me that all meals are made to order using their own condiments and sauces with house-pickled items like ramps as well.

A stationary address at 85 Commercial Street gives Cornucopia a home base, and gives local diners a chance to take home their own little slice of Valhalla; photo by James Kennedy.
Pioneered by grocery deli sections, the Grab + Go idea makes sense for Valhalla diners who can’t pause even long enough for Valhalla’s made-to-order meals; photo by James Kennedy.

My burger and fries arrived in short order and the hand formed patty was a true half-pounder cooked perfectly to the medium rare I requested and topped with baby arugula, roasted tomatoes, and onions.  Some pub burgers are better than others and this one had a rich beef flavor that you don’t often get. The thick cut steak fries were like a nice mashed potato inside with a crispy outside. When I commented to Mike how delicious the fries were he let me in on his secret. He bakes the potatoes first then chills them before deep frying them for service and, in my humble opinion, the extra work really pays off. 

Although a majority of their business is take-out and delivery, Katie showed me their “Grab and Go” refrigerated case by the door, saying that a lot of people stop by to pick up a quick lunch or dinner before heading to the office or home. The Grab and Go daily specials are listed on their Facebook page at Valhalla Eatery. 

The Viking Pub can offer its customers a chance to dine well while enjoying a tasty beverage — without the complexity of running a kitchen. Valhalla gets the opportunity of serving hungry pub patrons without the hassle of a liquor license. Sounds like a match made in Viking heaven — oh wait…that’s right…photo by James Kennedy.

Unsung Eats unequivocally gives Valhalla Eatery their stamp of approval. A delicious lunch of a gourmet burger and steak fries for the reasonable sum of $13.91.  The range in their made-to-order menu, the abundance of scratch-made flavors, and the welcoming attitude of this ambitious, hard- working young couple nail it in every way.

Once again, Unsung Eats uncovers some of the greatest grub you can sample without breaking the bank. Valhalla delivers artisan vittles that will make you glad you ate local; photo by James Kennedy.

James Kennedy

James Kennedy is a local artist and former businessman. He enjoys fine art, cooking and music. His own artworks are on view and available for purchase at his website.

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