The eatery was closed for more than 18 months and, at one point, was put up for sale.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — After nearly a year and a half, a popular Williamstown eatery plans to reopen its doors to the public this week.
David Rock, the owner of the Chef's Hat on Simonds Road (Route 7) in the northern part of town, said Monday that, pending a routine inspection from town officials, he hopes to be serving breakfast on Thursday at 8 a.m.
The restaurant, like much of the world for Bay Staters, shut down on March 13, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike many eateries, Chef's Hat was not able to develop an outdoor dining option last summer because of its unpaved parking lot, Rock said.
He was, however, able to keep all of his employees on the payroll through the shutdown, and it has been all hands on deck for about six weeks to get ready for Thursday's reopening.
"We've made so many changes, it's basically like starting over," Rock said. "We've put in all new stuff — new tables, new chairs, new rug, new floor tiles, new refrigerators, new equipment.
"This building is pretty old to begin with. To be unattended, to have nobody in here all this time, it needed some work."
And he is thankful for the hard work of his employees, who he says are more like a family, for helping to make all those changes a reality.
It has been a particularly difficult time to make renovations or even supply a restaurant as the local economy fights to get back on its feet after the body blow it was dealt in the spring of 2020.
"It's hard to get contractors right now," Rock said. "It's hard to get equipment when you order it. It's hard to get food.
"I had eight or nine leaks in the water lines. The water was shut off going into the building, so there wasn't any water damage. But we'd have a plumber show up, fix one leak, and say, 'I'll be back next week.' Then they'd come and fix another leak and say, 'I'll be back next week.' They're all busy. They're just trying to keep everybody happy."
Rock said he did not think he would be reopening the restaurant he purchased in 2006, and at one point during the height of the pandemic, he put the property on the market. But as the reopening approaches he has decided to stick it out for a couple more years.
That will be good news to the restaurant's many fans.
"Over the last couple of weeks, the front door has been unlocked because I've had people in and out doing work," Rock said. "Every now and then a customer would walk in and ask if we're open yet. And phone calls have been coming in all day long. People are excited.
"We're excited, too."
The Chef's Hat at 905 Simonds Road, Williamstown, plans to open Thursday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. starting Aug. 8.
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Williamstown Community Chest Accepting Applications
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Williamstown Community Chest is accepting applications for its 2021 Mary and Henry Flynt Grants.
The application deadline is Oct. 1, 2021.
The bequest that established the grant program specifies that grants will be made annually, based on a competitive process to "…persons or entities (including the Town of Williamstown) that provide services to the town or its residents (although not necessarily exclusively)."
The criteria for reviewing applications will "…relate to the maintenance or improvement of the quality of life of the residents of Williamstown, defined broadly."
The regional school committee last Thursday heard preliminary enrollment data for its three schools. Although the official date to report a head count to the state comes on Oct. 1, the early numbers show significant increases at Lanesborough Elementary and Williamstown Elementary.
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The board met with a single-item agenda to consider its course in light of last week's directive issued by the Lee-Lenox-Stockbridge Tri-Town Health Department, which instituted a mask mandate for all indoor spaces and "crowded outdoor public events."
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