Tiny Gramercy Bistro is expanding its operation with a move to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art campus on Feb. 1.
The Marshall Street eatery has signed a lease to take over the dining room and catering kitchen in Building 11. The space was occupied by Mezze Inc.'s Cafe Latino for a number of years before closing at the end of its lease agreement in September. Cafe Latino was the second restaurant Mezze had at Mass MoCA, after the high-concept 11 did poorly. A ice cream and sandwich cafe LIckety Split is located inside the main museum building.
"We really look forward to growing our business at MASS MoCA," said chef and owner Sandy Smith. "The new space will nearly double our seating capacity and allow us to significantly expand our catering reach. We'll expand our hours of operation to offer not just dinner but also lunch and brunch. We are very excited about the new possibilities."
Gramercy Bistro opened at 24 Marshall in 2001 and has steadily grown since.
"We're pleased that Gramercy Bistro, having decided to grow, chose Mass MoCA as the site for its expansion. Gramercy is a fantastic restaurant and great contributor to the vitality of North Adams. The benefits are many: the campus will have a high-quality and well-seasoned restaurant operator, and Gramercy will be able to grow and provide the opportunity for a new venture to take root on Marshall Street," said Mass MoCA Executive Director Joseph C. Thompson.
Smith said he intends to begin renovations on the space immediately and open it to the public around Feb. 1. The current location will remain until the move occurs. He doesn't think the Marshall Street location will be empty for long.
"It's a great location right between the downtown, the hotels, and the museum, and has served us well for years. We see this as a great chance for a qualified restaurateur to add a little more flavor to the downtown dining scene," he said. "If someone great comes along, we'd be happy to transfer the Marshall Street lease. And if not, we've got several new concepts of our own for that space that we could undertake ourselves, once we get the new Gramercy at Mass MoCA up and running."
"This announcement is not only beneficial to MASS MoCA but also to the entire North Adams dining community," said Mayor John Barrett. "Sandy Smith is recognized as running one of the premier restaurants in Northern Berkshire County. Equally important is his catering expertise, which he can grow with the larger kitchen and prep spaces that this move will afford."
Mayor John Barrett III said he was concerned about losing a downtown restaurant "but I was reassured by Sandy that he would either secure a new operation at the restaurant's current site on Marshall Street or open a new type of restaurant in that space."
The new Gramercy Bistro will be open for lunch and dinner, six days a week (closed Tuesdays), and will be open seven days a week in July and August.