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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Food Festival Caters Flavor and Fun

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Spice Root restaurant offered several tempting choices at the June 26 Northern Berkshire Food Festival in North Adams.
View Slide Show
North Adams – Heat and humidity reigned throughout the June 26 Northern Berkshire Food Festival but the steamy weather didn’t keep hungry hoards away from the fourth consecutive downtown event.

The event kicked off at noon and concluded at 4 p.m.. Picnic tables were set up between two food tents and the “Reformers” provided live music.

Rave Reviews

The festival, which featured about 19 Northern Berkshire-based eateries, drew local residents and area visitors to Main Street. Among those who enjoyed the festival were Barbara Rosenberg of Johnstown, Pa., and Arch Copeland of Jacksonville, Fl.. Copeland and Rosenberg were part of a family contingent traveling through the region. The group enjoyed their food selections while seated beneath the shelter of the Mohawk Theater marquee.

“We’re having a wonderful time,” said Rosenberg. “This is really very nice and a lot of fun.”


Breda's restaurant workers served up Italian fare at the food festival.
Copeland noted the number of participating restaurants and the variety of foods.

“There’s quite a selection,” he said. “I think this is wonderful. Everyone is having a great time. This is something we would come back for, if they have it again next year.”

Tickets and Temptations

Those stationed at the ticket sales booths were kept busy as lines formed to purchase the tickets, which were exchanged for food items. Tickets were $.50 each and most of the sample-size entrees, desserts, and foods such as pizza slices were offered at a cost of three to five tickets.

Many restaurants meant dozens of tempting choices; the Orchards, a Williamstown-based hotel that includes Yasmin’s restaurant, offered a chilled-food menu. Executive Chef Swen Boehm and restaurant employees Marco Heinrich and Tara Kennedy served up Mediterranean-style gazpacho, teriyaki-marinated tuna tartar flavored with cilantro crabmeat-pineapple salad served on a crostini, and a cold strawberry cappuccino topped with whipped cream.

“The festival is a great community thing and it’s an escape from the business side of things,” said Boehm. “It’s fun.”

Village Pizza owners Keith and Christina Randall brought "southern steak" pizza to the festival.


Those working at the booths of host restaurants Gramercy Bistro and Steeples, both of North Adams, were kept busy as folks surrounded their white-clothed tables. Steeples fare appeared quite popular, as did samples of Thai Curry Chicken and Goat Cheese Tartlets offered by Gramercy.

Ned Smith, co-owner of Williamstown’s Red Herring restaurant, served chilled carrot-ginger soup and peppered steak over greens with a tomato-pineapple salsa.

“This event is good for families and it’s a lot of fun,” Smith said. “It’s just a great downtown event.”

Ch-ch-ch-changes

There was news as well as food at the eleven restaurant booth; as of July, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts complex-based eatery will be known as Café Latino, said business owner Nancy Thomas and chef Omar Montoya. Café Latino will offer “the warm flavors of Latin America,” said Montoya. A grand opening is planned for July 13.

“Warm flavors” were featured at the festival; Montoya and restaurant employee Dan McDonald served plates of blackmint barbecue empanada with yellow chile cream sauce, “Café Latino chips [fried plantains],” and Peruvian fried sweet potatoes with vanilla honey.

“This is the fun part of the business for me,” said Montoya. “We have the three “Fs,” friends, fun, and flavor.”

The Sugar Llama Café offered a glimpse of a new soon-to-open Eagle Street eatery. Café owner Whitney Suters said he and his wife Monique Suters hope to open the restaurant on July 1, and will participate during outdoor First Friday events even if there is a delay in opening. The couple are among existing Eagle Street business owners; Whitney Suters owns Hairpin Tunes and Monique Suters owns the Persnickety gift and toy shop.

Mountainview restaurant manager Joe Williamson said that the event offered area residents and visitors a chance to experience many different dining options at one time.


North Adams City Councilor and Moulton's Pizzeria owner Robert Moulton dug for cold beverages for festival patrons.
“It’s good for exposure and it’s a good way to get feedback,” he said. “It’s good all around.”

Crabcakes and pizza and shrimp, Oh My!

While restaurants such as How Sweet It Is tempted taste buds with fare that included Maryland crabcakes and coconut shrimp, more casual favorites were plentiful. Moulton’s Pizzeria offered pizza and calzones and Village Pizza offered chili and pizza, including a new “southern steak pizza” that was created by a pizza parlor employee. Ice cream sales were brisk at a Lickety-Split booth and other venues that offered cold treats such as Sno-Cones. Polish foods were in demand at the Stefan’s Polish Deli booth, where golbaki and kapusta were among the favorites.

eleven [soon to be Cafe Latino] restaurant employee Dan McDonald and chef Omar Montoya.


A Hot Time in the Downtown

Village Pizza owners Keith and Christina Randall said that festival attendance has grown each year since the event began. “We really like this,” said Christina Randall. “There’s been an increase in attendance every year.” “This is the hottest it’s ever been,” said Keith Randall.

Glances at a Main Street thermometer indicated Randall was probably correct; at about 12:45 p.m., the digital numbers read 95 degrees Fahrenheit, about 30 minutes later, the temperature was reported at 97 degrees.

The northern side of Main Street was closed to vehicle traffic during the festival. City police reported no serious injuries or incidents during the event.

A multi-photograph slideshow of the Northern Berkshire Food Festival will be posted at www.iBerkshires.com during the upcoming week.

Susan Bush may be reached at 802-823-9367 or by e-mail at suebush123@adelphia.net.
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