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North Adams Restaurant to Reopen With Med Menu
On: 03:40PM / Tuesday June 11, 2013
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The set-to-open Mediterra will offer Mediterranean dishes, a sampling of which was offered at a recent gathering of business and cultural representatives.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Local is undergoing a name and menu change.

The restaurant at 67 Main St. was closed over the weekend and is set to reopen on Wednesday as Mediterra, with a new menu of Mediterranean dishes along with some American bistro-style option.

According to a statement through the North Adams Chamber of Commerce, owner Fahri Karakaya, who opened the restaurant last year with sandwich and breakfast offerings, has been considering the change for some time.

"It was always in my mind to open a Mediterranean restaurant. After operating The Local for over a year, I have realized that there were many similar restaurant concepts in the area, but no Mediterranean cuisine," he said. "Many of The Local guests constantly asked if I was thinking of making a change, and here I am. I am running toward my dream."

Karakaya previewed some of the dishes at a recent gathering to update the area on coming events, including the Solid Sound Festival. He said he has found an experienced chef to execute the new menu of Turkish, Italian, Greek and Lebanese selections.

"I am proud of my Turkish heritage and am looking forward to sharing this with my guests," he said.

Several upgrades have been made to the kitchen as well as painting and redecorating the dining room.

With the change, Mediterra will be open for lunch and dinner during the week, and will also include traditional breakfast choices on the weekend. The restaurant also offers beer and wine.

Hours will be Tuesday to Friday beginning at 11 and serving dinner; breakfast will be offered on the weekends beginning at 8 a.m. Closed Mondays.

For more information, 413-346-4172.



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Barrington Brewery: Come for the Beer, Stay for the Cake
By Stephanie Farrington On: 05:40PM / Tuesday May 07, 2013
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Cheddar ale cheese soup starter at Barrington Brewery.

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — What's better than chocolate cake?

For you, it might be a really good beer or a great sandwich, even a really fresh salad but for me, it's chocolate cake. So you should know, even if the rest of the menu at Barrington Brewery was just OK, I'd still go there for the cake.

Situated on Route 7, on the fringe of Great Barrington, the Barrington Brewery prides itself on serving "solar powered" beer brewed on the premises. For $4.95 you can try five of them served in three-ounce glasses set in a wooden tray. It was fun to try the beer but the real appeal of the Great Barrington Brewery for me was the food.

We arrived at 6 on a Friday night. The place was pleasantly busy with beer lovers enjoying happy hour in the pub while couples and families had dinner in the rustic dining room.

The decor is typical for a Berkshire pub, rustic and low key with a whiff of "Ye Olde English" about it, but unpretentiously so. Rough-hewn wooden tables and benches are surrounded by walls decorated with quaint farm and brewery memorabilia. It's comfortable and makes for a congenial setting for a relaxed Friday night supper.

Barrington Brewery offers specials for every weeknight. On Friday, the special is a New England Fish Fry. Served with salad, it includes scallops, cod, shrimp, cole slaw and fries. The Fish Fry is a big meal, so if you also want to try their soup or share an appetizer, you might want to share one plate between two. That's especially true if you plan on dessert.

We started with cheddar ale soup. I have never understood the appeal of soups that are basically melted cheese and beer heated together but this soup was excellent, sharp, tasty, rich and satisfying. Topped with crunchy croutons and served with a good loaf of bread, it was a great start to the meal. A cup was ample.

The salad that comes with the nightly specials is a good-sized side salad. It's balanced and fresh. It's a real salad that you'd pay extra for in many restaurants, which made it a pleasant surprise. It arrives at the table before the entree. The contrast of the fresh, crisp salad with the rich mellow soup made me feel a little less guilty about eating an entire plate full of fried food.
 
Our fish fry was good, hot and fresh. The batter was crisp and tasty and the plate was not overwhelmed with french fries. The fish fry is served with cole slaw, tartar sauce and cocktail sauce — with the ketchup on the table and vinegar available on request, I don't think you could ask for much more.

My partner found the scallops a little small but I think, for $14.95 for a good-sized serving of three kinds of fresh seafood, that's quibbling.

A chocolate cake of many layers.

We talked, we laughed we ate and when we were done, my thoughts returned to the dessert display and that great, big cake. We asked for a dessert menu.

If you don't want cake, you can choose from three different pies, a lemon tart, choclate tart, brownie sundae, cheesecake or a fruit crisp. All of them looked good, but for me there was no question. We ordered a piece of the chocolate stout cake to share and I will be back for another to keep to myself on a night when I eat a much lighter dinner.

Because there is nothing light about this chocolate cake. Wrapped in fudgy dark chocolate icing, it is three layers high. Rich and heavy, moist and soft — deeply chocolatey with a mellow undertone that could only come from the addition of house-made stout. This cake calls out for an ice cold glass of milk, if you can manage it. But with or without milk, it's a classic.

And it's huge. Honestly, between three of us I wasn't sure we would finish it.

I was wrong.

So, do yourself a favor, any night you're in South County and don't feel like cooking, head down to the Barrington Brewery. The prices are modest, (three of us ate well for around $70) the service friendly, and most important of all, beer or no beer, they're cooking what you want to eat.



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The Hub Restaurant Celebrates 5 Years on Friday
By John Durkan On: 06:30PM / Thursday May 02, 2013
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Matt and Kate Schilling pose outside of their restaurant, The Hub, on the eve of its fifth birthday.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Thursday afternoon at The Hub seemed typical.

The lunch rush has passed. Matt Schilling checks over slider supplies and gets his line staff ready for the next rush. Kate Schilling goes over adjustments in the restaurant's computer with waitress Jennifer Tatro.

Tomorrow's a different story. After all, the popular Main Street establishment will celebrate its fifth birthday on May 3.
 
"We're really proud of it, and mostly I'm proud of Matt," Kate Schilling said. "He deserved this. It was always his dream to have his own place and he worked his way up to it and he's really the backbone, he holds it all together."
 
Friday's already usually busy. But it will be busier than usual in celebration, as the Schilling family has birthday plans.
 
Every table will receive mystery envelopes, which at random hold a discounts from 10 to 50 percent or a free meal or desserts, Hub T-shirts, bumper stickers and more. In addition, they'll have a big cake that everyone will get a slice of, $5 appetizers all day long and $5 drink specials.
 
Matt and Kate Schilling both have been in the restaurant business for awhile. Matt Schilling has about 25 years of experience, and even ran the Mangrove Mamas, located in Key West, Fla., for 14 years. Kate Schilling started her restaurant experience at 16 and worked in Bar Harbor, Maine, where she met and worked with Matt.
 
"I was as far north as you can go and he was far south as you can go on the same seaboard," said Kate, a North Adams native.
 
They made a good team, and as Kate put it, "decided to get married even after working together in a restaurant," which if you have ever worked at a restaurant, you would understand.
 
They eventually moved to North Adams to get married and then they saw the old Milan at 55 restaurant for sale and decided to make a move.
 
"We were like, 'would this be a good opportunity?' And it was a good spot, right on Main Street," said Kate. "Me being from North Adams, I felt like there was so many things missing restaurantwise. Even since we opened in five years, so much has happened. The town has really improved, there's a lot more here."
 
Kate felt her connection to North Adams also helped her decide on the menu.
 
"I felt like I knew what North Adams needed," she said. "I knew that most people don't want the fancy-schmancy escargot ... People just want good food, good honest food ... It doesn't need to be that complicated."
 
Matt joked that the expectation was to "become millionaires and retire" but quickly retracted that statement. They just want to make a living, offer the city a restaurant to "be here for the long haul."
 
"We hoped that the town would keep us going and they have," Kate said.
 
The Schillings, as well as their staff, credited the local residents for their success.
 
"We have such a good local following, and that's the most important thing ever," Kate said, noting that they are also thankful for the added business from Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts, the Porches and other venues.
 
They also credited their staff, the "Hub Family," for keeping the place successful.
 
"We have the best staff, and you know who says that? The customers say that all the time," Kate said.
 
Tatro, a waitress at The Hub, echoed Kate's feelings.
 
"I love all the staff, we're like family," Tatro said.
 
The Schillings hope for the next five years to treat them as well as the first, and hope to expand to offer entertainment. 
 
The Hub is located at 55 Main St. and is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. until 9:30.


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Nudel Chef-Owner Nominated for Top 100 Chef
On: 09:49PM / Wednesday March 13, 2013
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Bjorn Somlo of Nudel has earned a second nomination for best new chef.

LENOX, Mass. — Bjorn Somlo, chef-owner of Nudel Restaurant, has been nominated one of the top 100 chefs for The People's Best New Chef award for Food & Wine magazine.

This is Somlo's second nomination for an award honoring up-and-coming innovators who have run their own kitchens for five years or fewer.

Restaurant devotees will determine The People's Best New Chef winner by voting online here through March 18.

His bistro takes its inspiration from the bounty provided by local farms and food producers of the Berkshire region. He is committed to using local, organic, ethical and natural ingredients whenever and as much as possible.

Somlo started out bussing tables at the county fair when he was 16 years old. Since then, he has worked in the kitchens of restaurants across the region. After living in New Orleans and New York City and working abroad, he returned home to the Berkshires. Somlo opened Nudel in August 2009 and has been nominated one time for Rising Star Chef and three times for Best Chef: Northeast by the James Beard Foundation, in addition to this second nomination for The People's Best New Chef award for Food & Wine magazine.

"I am honored to be nominated for the Food & Wine award and extend this recognition to the incredible farmers, artisans and purveyors I have the privilege of working with," said Somlo. "Nudel's success is the result of collaboration and partnerships in the Berkshires and Hudson Valley and I am so fortunate to play a part in this food community."

The field of 100 nominees for The People's Best New Chef award includes 10 chefs in each of 10 regions across America. Somlo has been nominated as a top 10 chef in New England. The chefs with the most votes in each of the regions will be named finalists and the most votes overall will be named The People's Best New Chef on March 18. The winner will also be featured in the July issue of Food & Wine, the same issue that profiles the Best New Chefs.

Nudel is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30 until 9:30 p.m., no reservations required. For more information: 413-551-7183 or info@nudelrestaurant.com.
 



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Berkshire Grown Hosting March Maple Dinner
On: 05:47PM / Wednesday February 27, 2013
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LENOX, Mass. — A slate of culinary experts with local ties will display their skills using New England's first harvest of the year — maple syrup.

Berkshire Grown holds its annual March Maple Dinner on March 18 at Cranwell Resort to benefit the organization and Share the Bounty, which buys shares in local farms for food pantries.

This year's March Maple Dinner chefs cut their cooking teeth at either Wheatleigh or Blantyre in Lenox and Stockbridge. Many of these young chefs went on to other triumphs — Brian Young is now executive chef at Tavern on the Green in New York City; Hung Huynh, winner of "Top Chef Season 3," is now executive chef at The General, also in New York City.

Their hearts, however, have remained in the Berkshires and this is the first time all seven will gather to produce a meal in support of Berkshire Grown.

The maple-inspired five-course dinner features these creative chefs:

    Jeffrey Thompson, executive chef at Wheatleigh
    Brian Young, former cook at Wheatleigh and executive chef at Tavern on the Green
    Hung Huynh, former cook at Wheatleigh, "Top Chef" winner and executive chef at The General
    Chris Brooks, former executive chef at Blantyre, current owner of The Chef at Your Table catering company and chef at Austin Riggs
    Michael Roller, former executive chef of Blantyre and current owner of Savory Harvest Catering
    Shirl Gard, former pastry chef at Wheatleigh and current pastry chef at The Old Inn On The Green
    Host chef Carl Deluce, executive chef at Cranwell Resort

The event also features of live auction for a wine dinner for eight at The Old Inn on the Green, and a one-week stay at Casa Miel, a home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

The evening begins at 6 with hors d'oeuvres and a complimentary tasting of beverages by Barrington Brewery, Berkshire Mountain Distillers & M.S. Walker Wines with a cash bar available. Dinner follows at 7 with courses featuring maple syrup from local farms.

Tickets, by reservation only, are $100 for Berkshire Grown members, $125 for non-members. For reservations call the Berkshire Grown office at 413-528-0041.



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News Headlines
Williamstown Public Safety Building Committee to Pursue RFP
Weather Service Reports Dalton Hit by Tornado
Mohawk Trail Being Honored at 59th Fall Foliage Parade
Melito Family Reunion in North Adams
Three Berkshires Men Fighting Fires in Northwest
Pittsfield Councilors Favor Opposition to Gas Pipeline
North Adams Housing Agency Reaching Asset Deal With City
Williamstown Town, Fire Discuss Coordinating Annual Meetings
Wilber Off to Strong Start at YMCA Nationals
Berkshire Force Set to Host Softball World Series

Stephanie Farrington of Berkshire Food is contributing to our Eats blog — all about food, all the time. 

 


Farmfare
Seasonal Farmers Markets

Berkshire South Community Market
15 Crissey Road, Great Barrington
Saturdays through Oct. 27 from 11 to 3

Berkshire Mall Market
Sears parking lot, Route 8
Wednesdays & Saturdays through November from 8 to 2

North Adams Farmers Market
St. Anthony's Municipal Parking
Saturdays through Oct. 27 from 8 to noon

Great Barrington Farmers Market
Taconic Avenue & Castle Street
Saturdays through October from 9 to 1

Lenox Farmers Market
70 Kemble St., Shakespeare & Company
Fridays through Oct. 5 from 1 to 5

Oits Farmers Market
L & M Auto, 2000 East Otis Road (Rte. 23)
Saturdays through Oct. 6 from 9 to 1

Pittsfield Farmers Market
First and Fenn streets, across from the Common
Saturdays, May 11 through Oct. 26, from 9 to 1

Sheffield Farmers Market
Old Parish Church, Main Street
Fridays through September from 3 to 7

Williamstown Farmers Market
Spring Street parking lot
Saturdays, May 25 through October, from 9 to 1

Hoosick Falls, N.Y.
The Armory
Wednesdays, 4 to 7

 



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Popular Entries:
New North Adams Restaurant Celebrates BBQ & Bourbon
Good Hospital Food. Who Knew?
New Cafe to Open in North Adams
Wild Oats Names New General Manager
New York Columnist Speaks on France & Food
Nudel Owner Nominated for People's Best New Chef
Desperados Reopening In North Adams
That's A Wrap A Quick Hit On Spring Street
Cole Slaw Sandwich, Yumm!
Something Fishy Is Happening In The Ocean
Recent Entries:
Lenox Chef Nominated for National Award
Wild Oats Chef to Attend National Healthy Food Conference
MediTerra In North Adams Closed for Winter
Storey Publishing Celebrates 'Soup Night'
Berkshire Food Festival Serves Up Local Fare on Sunday
North Adams Restaurant to Reopen With Med Menu
Barrington Brewery: Come for the Beer, Stay for the Cake
The Hub Restaurant Celebrates 5 Years on Friday
Nudel Chef-Owner Nominated for Top 100 Chef
Berkshire Grown Hosting March Maple Dinner


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