‘Fried madness’ at Cheers Cut in Amherst

  • Colorful crispy fried snacks at the new Cheers Cut restaurant on Boltwood Walk in Amherst.

  • An order of fried giant squid to go at the new Cheers Cut restaurant on Boltwood Walk in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Chef/manager Bill Hao prepares an order of ninja crispy chicken at the new Cheers Cut restaurant on Boltwood Walk in Amherst. STAFF PHOTOS/KEVIN GUTTING

  • A bento box, or combination platter, at the new Cheers Cut restaurant on Boltwood Walk in Amherst. This main dish of minced meat and rice includes half-boiled egg, seaweed salad and marinated broccoli. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Vivi Bubble Tea at 48 North Pleasant Street in Amherst. Photographed on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Paul Morrison prepares a beverage at Vivi Bubble Tea on North Pleasant Street in Amherst on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Paul Morrison prepares a creme broulee beverage for a customer at Vivi Bubble Tea on North Pleasant Street in Amherst on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 1/26/2020 10:37:02 PM
Modified: 1/26/2020 10:36:47 PM

Within five to 10 minutes of placing the batter-covered chicken, beef and squid into the large vats of cooking oil, the deep-fried entrees are ready to be served.

The Taiwanese-inspired cuisine, with specialties such as ninja crispy chicken and exploding chicken cutlet, are on the menu at a recently opened restaurant in downtown Amherst.

Cheers Cut, at 31 Boltwood Walk next to the parking garage, continues a trend of having restaurants featuring food from around the globe in the community.

The small chain of franchised restaurants, which dubs what it offers as “fried madness,” is based in Taiwan, but already has a handful of locations in the United States, including in Boston and New York, as well as Australia and Singapore.

Bill Hao, the chef and store manager, said Cheers Cut is already popular with international students craving food that reminds them of home. “People from Taiwan are coming several times per week,” Hao said.

Along with ViVi Bubble Tea, which opened last April in the basement of the Tucker Taft Building at 48 North Pleasant St., the restaurant is owned by franchisee YU Holding, Inc.

“We revolve our business around the goal of providing our customers with quality food,” said Kelly Zhang, co-founder of YU Holding. “The menu features a variety of selections, including our famous crispy fried chicken and seafood dishes, as well as other recipes ranging from snacks to bento boxes.”

The ninja crispy chicken is a 12-ounce chicken cutlet given five special cuts to flatten it out with the bones still inside, and is marinated for at least 48 hours. Zhang said. “It is huge, but still tasty and juicy,” Zhang said.

The meal is served to customers inside a special paper sleeve.

The squid, pink in color and imported from South America, is covered in potato flour breading before being deep fried.

For the exploding chicken cutlet, cheese is placed inside a chicken breast.

The bento boxes, or combo platters, give customers the main dish, along with a half-boiled egg, seaweed salad, marinated broccoli and a choice of white rice, minced meat rice, curry rice or French fries.

Chicken, beef and squid teriyaki are also among the full meals. Prices range from $6.95 to $9.95.

The menu also has snacks, including bean curds and fish cakes, with drinks ranging from ice teas to sodas with flavors like mango, passion fruit and kiwi.

The Cheers Cut location, which has been the site of a number of restaurants over the years, is just a block and an alleyway away from its sister cafe. ViVi is one of at least 70 franchises of bubble tea across the country, and is one of three bubble tea sites in Amherst, with Lime Red Teahouse and the soon to open Moge Tee.

The Taiwanese fried chicken has not yet reached that level of popularity, though it is competing with the nearby Honey Crisp, where the menu includes Korean fried chicken and Taiwanese popcorn chicken.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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