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Gramercy Bistro Closed For RenovationsBy Susan Bush
12:00AM / Tuesday, March 21, 2006
North Adams - A Gramercy Bistro renovation project has caused restaurant owner and Chef Alexander "Sandy" Smith to cease restaurant operations for about two weeks.
April Re-Opening Planned
The restaurant has set an April 7 tentative re-opening date. Should the renovation project encounter any unexpected delays, the re-opening could be delayed, but Smith said that the latest the restaurant would re-open is April 12. Re-opening plans are to open at 5 p.m. for dinner, Smith said.
Diners are certain to notice the improvements.
A Place To Sit and Sip
"I wanted to improve the space," said Smith. "We were pretty small, about 36 seats, and we had no space for people to wait if the tables were filled. And the restaurant front door opened directly into the dining room, which meant that when the door was opened, there was a blast of cold air [during the winter months]."
A lack of waiting space created some congestion at the door and also prompted some restaurant patrons to leave rather than wait, standing, for a table, Smith said.
Smith is utilizing a space adjacent to the 24 Marshall St. restaurant for the renovations, which will boost seating to 65 and offer a private dining space with a 40-person seating capacity.
The renovation is creating a bar area that will welcome guests for cocktails. The bar will provide a friendly atmosphere for those waiting for a dining table, Smith said. Draft beer made by the South Deerfield-based Berkshire Brewing Company will be among the brews offered "on tap" at the bar as will a selection of "wines by the glass" and signature drinks made with a variety of liquors.
Enhancing the dining environment is important, said Smith, who noted that he's been working on the project for about two months.
Smith is planning to add items to the restaurant menu but has not decided exactly what the additions will be. Gramercy Bistro offers a dinner menu, a Sunday brunch menu, and an extensive wine list.
"I'm still mulling that over," he said.
Stars and Diamonds
Gramercy Bistro opened in 2001 and has earned numerous positive reviews from food critics - "highly recommended for anyone who takes food seriously" and a four-star rating has appeared on a New York Times nytimes.com web site - and in 2005, the AAA awarded the restaurant a three-diamond rating. The award meant an AAA TourBook on-line listing during last year and inclusion in the 2006 hard copy AAA TourBook.
A 2006 "People's Choice" Pick
Smith and Gramercy Bistro staff are frequent participants at community events and festivals. The restaurant has participated at the summertime Northern Berkshire Food Festival and a chef-made bistro chowder was named a People's Choice "best chowder" during a February city-based Winterfest "Chowder Cook-Off".
Smith has a history of supporting local farms and agriculture through participation in a "Berkshire Grown" food program. Smith is a member of the Berkshire Grown Network and a focus on locally grown farm products has been incorporated at previous restaurant ventures, including the former Wild Amber Grill.
Gramercy Bistro serving hours begin at 5 p.m. six evenings a week, and Sunday brunch is offered 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. The restaurant is closed on Tuesday. Additional information about the restaurant, including its menus and wine list, are available at a www.gramercybistro.com web site or by calling 413-663-5300.
Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or at 802-823-9367.