Matthew Tatro is now heading the kitchen at the Adams Ale House as they expand their menu.
ADAMS, Mass. — After opening the Adams Ale House in the former Saints Hall five months ago, the owners are now expanding the menu and have brought on a new chef.
The bar and restaurant is looking for chef Matthew Tatro to take the business to another level.
Owners Erik Pizani and Nathan Girard said they've had a good reception since they've opened but customers wanted more food options.
So they brought on Tatro, who boasts 15 years in the restaurant business, to expand the menu threefold to offer more entrees, seasonal items, comfort foods, desserts and specialties.
"Our ideal menu is to kind of pick different flavors from every cuisine," Tatro said during an interview this week. "My specialty is just pleasing customers. I have no ego as a chef. I will cook whatever they want. ... I've had numerous training in each area."
The North Adams native began his career in the restaurant business washing dishes and got his first cooking experience at The Mill on the Floss in New Ashford. He worked in various restaurants through college (earning his business degree) and worked as the head chef in two different gastro bistros in Newton.
While he doesn't boast any formal culinary school training, his career had led him to pick up tips on the job from some award-winning chefs.
"I have a passion for cooking. I thoroughly enjoy it," Tatro said. "I'm constantly reading cookbooks, reading other people's menus and trying to keep things fresh."
Tatro moved back to the county to be closer with family after the birth of his and his wife's second son. Girard was looking for a chef who could both help expand the menu but also one who could also manage the food costs and ordering — both of which Tatro has experience doing.
With Tatro, the Ale House is looking to have an even greater focus on local and fresh ingredients for such new items as the pork belly sliders, steak or shrimp dishes or macaroni and cheese.
"I pride myself on using as much local products as available," Tatro said. "It's very important for us to throw back and give business to the local community because that's where we're getting our business."
Tatro says he hopes to even create the sauces by scratch to give the food more of a "personality."
"We're steering away from the cookie-cutter pub fare," Tatro said. "We want to give it a handmade taste. It's more expensive but the quality is exponentially greater."
Tatro served up a taste test of chicken wings and pork belly sliders.
The goal of the new menu is to "hit every spectrum of the food world," Tatro said.
From the business aspect, Pizani and Girard said the expanded menu will help reach a larger demographic of customers while they seek to become a "destination."
The business opened with an emphasis on its beer menu and pub fare menu and are now hoping to attract even more customers.
"The demand is there for it," said Pizani. "We're realizing that what a lot of people want, we can make."
As the business finalizes the menu, which they expect to launch by the first of the year, the items aren't chosen randomly. The Ale House has been having specials to see what foods would be popular as well as talking to their patrons about their wants.
And even the new menu isn't the extent of what the Ale House is looking to offer for food options. The business has begun holding private parties and the chefs can make almost anything the party wants.
Pizani said shortly after they opened a friend wanted to hold a party with a prime rib option. The owners were unsure if the staff could do it but the party went off without a hitch. They've been looking to book parties ever since.
Meanwhile, the owners are still planning on renovating the back areas — formerly the bowling lanes — to host live music and other events. Eventually, they hope to renovate the second floor to host events such as weddings or other ceremonies but that is a few years down the road. Nonetheless, the company is on pace in the three- to five-year plan to rejuvenate the entire historic building into an attraction.
"We're doing well right now but we can always do better," Pizani said. "[The business] is pretty much how we anticipated."
Meanwhile on the business side of the restaurant, the owners are looking to launch new special nights, loyalty cards and eating contests.