NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A familiar name in the local restaurant industry is looking to tap into the growing potential along the so-called Route 2 "Cultural Corridor."
The Taylors — siblings Sean, Colleen and Phillip — are opening the Trail House Kitchen & Bar on State Road this spring.
Sean and Colleen Taylor have run Freight Yard Pub in Western Gateway Heritage State Park for 25 years. They hope to transfer that success to the Trail House by offering familiar, American food but with enough of a difference for the Trail House to stand alone.
"We're definitely going to serve a burger, we're going to have wings, but what we don't have on this menu over here ... a salmon, we'll do a little bit more seafood," Colleen Tayler said on Monday. "Other things we'll being doing is a little bit more vegetarian and more for food sensitivity ... we'll be more friendly toward those."
It's not the first time the family business has branched out: for several years, they operated Taylor's on Holden Street that is now Public Eat and Drink. Colleen Taylor had also at one point been involved in Water Street Grill in Williamstown.
With their brother Phillip moving back to the area, they decided it was time to consider taking on another establishment and had looked at possibilities including the Eagles Hall on Curran Highway and the vacant Sleepy's space in the L-shaped mall on Main Street. But the already established restaurant space on State Road made the most sense.
It's a part of the city that's seeing a lot of mixed development, Taylor said, pointing to the redevelopment of the Norad Mill by David Moresi, the Greylock Works project and Tourists hotel project just across the street.
"When the opporutinity came up and we were talking with Mr. [owner Gil] Rubinstein, we worked through some of the things that made us not want to do it and we decided that it really was in our best interest," she said. "It's not as big as Freight Yard so it doesn't seem as daunting."
The former single-family home at 896 State Road was transformed into restaurant more than three decades ago. It was the location for the popular La Veranda and later Isabella's Italian restaurants for many years and later a short-lived Spanish eatery and then NoCo Pasteria. NoCo opened in early 2015 and closed last year.
Taylor said they do not expect to invest too much into the building, which they are planning to purchase. The biggest changes will be to open a wall into the kitchen, lighten up the decor and figure out treatments for the many windows. "NoCo put a lot of money into the building," she said.
The space itself will help differentiate it from Freight Yard — for instance, the bar area is separated from the dining area rather than being central to the room as it is in the pub. What will be somewhat similar is the outside eating area with the cherry trees, similar to the pub's patio.
Trail House is also smaller, with seating for about 80 total, and on a single floor. The upstairs was redone as an apartment some years ago.
It will be open for lunch and dinner, with brunch on Sundays. While it will have an all-alcoholic license (approved by the License Commission on Tuesday), the Taylors have only asked for hours to midnight and no entertainment license. She told the commission that the Freight Yard rarely stays open to its allowed 2 a.m. hours. Should the restaurant host a party or event, it would be up to the hosts to apply for a one-day entertainment license.
"We have closer neighbors here than at Freight Yard," she explained.
The alcohol license, with Colleen Taylor listed as manager for both restaurants, was readily approved Tuesday with the commissioners noting that the Taylors had never been called before them for infractions or complaints. The plans still have to go before the Planning Board next month but Taylor said she's been working with City Hall to ensure they've covered everything.
And with all three Taylors having a background in hospitality, they each can play off each other's strengths to support the two establishments.
"We're bringing over a couple of key players who've been with us for 20 years or more," Colleen Taylor said, including one of the pub's two chefs. "I know what I'm getting into. ... We are very familiar with the area and we have become part of it. Twenty-six years ago, we weren't local and now we are."
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