PITTSFIELD, Mass. — For a century, The Lantern Bar & Grill has been a stalwart landmark in the city's downtown.
Thousands of people have eaten in the restaurant at the corner of Linden and North and it had remained through generations of changes to the city's downtown. But, in 2017, Mark Papas decided it was time to close.
Last month, however, the neon sign lit back up and the smell of food cooking refilled the area. The Lantern was back. Bjorn Somlo used to eat there all of the time and he didn't want to see the landmark disappear so he took it over.
"We didn't want to see The Lantern close. We didn't want to see it go away. And we didn't want to see the sign being taken down," Somlo said.
Somlo is the owner of Nudel in Lenox. He said it wasn't really his plan to own multiple restaurants but he would joke with Papas from time to time about how if he was going to close, Somlo wanted a phone call.
In 2017, he got that call and talks began.
"If we didn't do it, it just would have been gone. It is a great piece of Pittsfield's history," Somlo said.
Mill Town Capital also got involved. The investment firm owns properties nearby and has been driving a lot of economic growth in the area. Tim Burke, a principal with Mill Town, thought bringing Somlo downtown would be a nice way to keep The Lantern alive.
"I always had a lot of respect for Bjorn's talent," Burke said, adding that he had urged Somlo to open something in Pittsfield multiple times in the past.
Burke wasn't just a fan of Somlo but also saw the building in a similar way. He, too, didn't want to see it close.
"It still has that old-school feel," Burke said. "It's always been a unique downtown legacy."
Mill Town Capital purchased the building, which also houses three other commercial tenants, as well as the tavern. The group later sold the tavern business to Somlo and a six-month renovation process began.
"It was basically the infrastructure, the things you don't see," Somlo said of the work.
The work included plumbing, electric, a new hood for the grill, and handicapped access compliance. Somlo said he tried to keep as much of what guests see the way it had been.
"Bjorn had a really strong vision for what he wanted," Burke said.
Raymond Stalker, who has been the chef at Nudel for five years, recrafted the menu. Somlo described the new menu as keeping the Americana feel of the original but with some updating.
"It's the food you know done really well," Somlo said.
The beer and wine menu was also expanded and the tavern opened in January.
The Lantern is open from 5 until 10 Monday through Saturday and closed on Sunday, but Somlo said if the demand is there, it could open for lunch as early as the spring. So far, Somlo said the response from the community has been "incredible."
"It's been incredible. There are so many people who stop in when they see the neon light on just to say thank you," he said.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to email@example.com.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
Pittsfield Housing Authority Welcomes New Executive Director
By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Pittsfield Housing Authority welcomed a familiar face as its new leader and bid farewell to a longtime board member.
Constance Scott was hired as the executive director last week after many years with the authority, including as assistant director.
The meeting also marked the resignation of Chairman Lucille Reilly, who has served with the housing authority's board for more than 50 years. Her colleagues on the board shared emotional goodbyes and thanked her for her years of dedication to the Pittsfield Housing Authority.
The board voted last week to issue a statement that essentially mirrored current policy that states maneuvers designed to reduce blood or airflow are not authorized or trained by the department.
click for more
School officials voted in August to eliminate the name, but the item was placed on the agenda again in September after a group of alumni and residents communicated that they were unclear that a vote would take place. They wanted a chance to speak to the matter.
click for more
McCandless said he took issue with some of the comments made and noted the administration made sure cafeteria employees were kept working through the outset of the pandemic and the summer.
click for more