NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The owners of Berkshire Palate are taking over the shuttered restaurant in the Holiday Inn.
The Licensing Board on Tuesday approved the transfer of the liquor license from NAH Bar LLC to 413 Bistro LLC. The Richmond Grill in the hotel has been closed for at least a year.
Berkshire Palate opened on Main Street in Williamstown three years ago — a family affair involving Paul Brassard and his sons Zachary, Nolan and Aaron.
Paul Brassard told the board that the entire operation would be moving from Williamstown and a second location was being planned in Pittsfield.
"This is going be 413 Bistro, which is actually what the LLC has been all along," he said. "But we won't be in Williamstown any longer. ... . As soon as North Adams is open, like, pretty much the day we get the license, we'll probably be up and going within about 48 hours."
The restaurant will include service on the hotel's covered patio, an element that the Brassards found very attractive. Paul Brassard estimated the seating at about 40 and, in answer to the board's question about an outside bar, said it was possible and that a point of sale device was being ordered for outside so someone would always be there.
"Considering that people have really leaned on outdoor dining during this last year ... probably the single most important thing about that space is it's got that beautiful roofed exterior seating area," he said. "If we thought it made sense, businesswise it sort of meant less hustle and bustle and everything, we might do it but I don't know ... but I certainly wouldn't stay out there."
He explained that Berkshire Palate has only served beer and wine so a full liquor license would something new. But he assured the board that the staff would be keeping an eye on the patio and that alcohol would stored as it had been in the former grill.
"We're restaurant not a bar so we're not doing like any 1 a.m. thing or any of that crazy stuff," Brassard said "I would say probably the latest I could ever see us being open is to 11, but most of the time I don't think we'd even be there."
The board also asked about breakfast and weddings. Brassard said they had not worked in this type of relationship with a hotel before and he anticipated there would be some working things out. For the time being, the restaurant will focus on lunch and dinner but, after some discussion with the board, the hours were set as 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., with last call at 10:30, to provide the bistro some flexibility.
Aaron Brassard will be the manager of record in North Adams and Zachary Brassard in Pittsfield.
The board also approved a temporary license to Chama Mama for May 28-31, the Memorial Day weekend. The New York City restaurant is planning a largely outside seasonal restaurant at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art this summer that could bloom into a permanent partnership.
Tamara Chubinidze, a native of Tbilisi, Georgia, opened Chama Mama in New York City in 2019 and recently opened a second location in the city. She told the board that the plans with Mass MoCA was a "magical accident" after hosting a board meeting and developing personal relationship with them.
They love us as an operator and we love them as a whole, and I personally come up to North Adams at least once every two months because I absolutely love the region, the area," she said. "We've been entertaining the idea of having Chama Mama but we were not sure because of COVID because of everything that happened."
Chubinidze said the eatery has had success in New York City because people are ready for new cuisine. "We kind of cater to all kinds of customers, and then we tell a little bit of story about who we are because some people do not even know where country Georgia is and they still ask me, 'Oh Atlanta, and then I'm like come on, listen to my accent," she laughed.
Memorial Day weekend will be a chance to introduce the area to Georgian food, wine, habits and culture.
"Since Georgia has been a birthplace of wine, we wanted to have the wine option there to sell, to taste, to kind of make sure that customers will understand that it's not only food, it's the wine that we represent as a culture," she said. "This is just kind of a small test in a fun way for us to feel how customers will take us, how welcoming it will be and take the feedback and kind of customize the Chama Mama concept for North Adams."
The pop-up restaurant will be bringing trained staff from New York and also advertising for seasonal help.
Members Rosemari Dickinson and Peter Breen approved the four-day license with hours from noon to 8. Member Michael Obasohan abstained; he had voted to approve the restaurant as a member of the Mass MoCA Commission. Chubinidze was put on the board's agenda for June 8 for a hearing on a permanent license.
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