The couple says a trip to the United Kingdom inspired some of their new menu options.
ADAMS, Mass. — Pine Brook Pub has been rebranded as Pine Brook Pub: Boards, Bites, & Brews and reopened with a new focus on board games.
"From the time we bought it I said I want to own a place that any family would feel comfortable coming into any time of day," said co-owner Tammie Shafer. "We wanted a family atmosphere."
Shafer and her husband, Trent, purchased the former Chick's Bar & Grill on Columbia Street in 2019. They stayed open through the pandemic but due to other circumstances in 2022, they ended up closing their doors.
Although they thought about selling the completely renovated restaurant, they decided to give it another go. But they wanted to do things differently.
"We were going to sell the building, but we just decided we really didn't want to because we really love it," Shafer said. "We did a lot of work here. We heard a lot of people saying there was nothing to do here for families. We travel a lot and have encountered game board cafes before so we started to think about it."
With this new direction, they started accumulating games of all kinds. To date, they have invested more than $6,000 in over 250 different games.
"We have games organized by age and level," Shafer said. "We have your basic games and then we have some high-end games for high-end gamers."
For $5 anyone can come in and play whatever game they want all day. If they order food, this fee drops down to $3. Kids 6 and under can play for free as long as they are accompanied by an adult.
Tammie said this money is reinvested into the game collection.
With the new focus on gaming, the menu also had to be retooled as chicken wings and board games are never a good mix.
"We really had to look at our menu because we can't serve certain things now for that exact reason," she said. "So now we have crispy duck wings."
Shafer said the rebranding also offered a chance to simplify the menu.
"We were getting into bigger dinners, bigger meals, fancy dishes and we just couldn't do it," she said. "We both work during the day, and there just wasn't time for that kind of prep work."
Now they are sticking with pub food — burgers, fish, and chips, pulled pork, a Greek platter, chicken and waffles, and flatbreads among other things.
Many of the dishes have names inspired by the town of Adams and Berkshire County.
All of it is fresh and ethically sourced.
"So all the food that we get I try to make sure it's fresh, chemical free. Like our hot dogs are nitrate and chemical free, and we didn't serve hot dogs until I could get the right ones," Shafer said. "We really research our food. If I don't want to eat it I am not going to serve it. Period."
She said they try to buy from small family businesses noting their coffee comes from a women-run company in Florence and their gelato is supplied by a small Italian family company.
Trent Shafer said they are also inspired by their many travels and Tammie added that they are always looking for new dishes.
"A lot of care goes into the food, and we're world travelers," she said. "We really try to find things from different parts of the world."
Trent said a recent trip to the United Kingdom inspired a shepherd's pie and their own spin on bangers and mash.
Tammie said the reopening was quiet but regulars are starting to come back. She said the Pine Brook Pub also draws a good crowds from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Williams College. She said although college kids seem to be familiar with the gaming cafe concept, she realizes it is new to Adams.
"The word has been getting out there which is really great. We've had people coming down playing games," she said. "We weren't sure because this whole idea is very new to Berkshire County…but people are getting the hang of it."
Shafer was happy to say the restaurant does provide a unique experience that seems to engage families in a different way.
"We had one family in here from North Boston, and the husband and the wife were able to sit and eat because their kids were busy playing games. They said it was the best because they didn't have to entertain them the entire time," she said. "Another family said their kids were off their phones for the first time in a while."
They also adjusted their hours to fit better within their schedules Both still work full-time jobs: Tammie is a teacher and Trent works at General Dynamics. For now, they are only open Friday 5 to 11 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 11 p.m.
Tammie said one day when they retire, they hope to make the Pine Brook Pub their main job.
Trent said they continue to improve the space. He said the bathrooms have been totally renovated and was happy to say the industrial steel door has been switched to a more welcoming glass door.
"We are slowly adding more like we had to replace that solid steel door," Trent said. "People were almost afraid to come in. We want people to be able to see what is in here."
He added that he is excited for the summer, and they plan to expand outdoor seating with a few outdoor games.
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One Injured in Adams House Fire
By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com
ADAMS, Mass. -- One person was injured in a house fire on East Jordan Street near the intersection with Hayer Street on Wednesday morning.
Adams Fire Chief John Pansecchi said the owner of the residence was taken to Berkshire Medical Center by Northern Berkshire EMS with burns from the blaze, which was reported at about 11:15 on Wednesday morning.
"He was able to get the dog and three kids out of the house," John Pansecchi said. "We were able to confirm everyone was out of the house."
The cause of the fire was still under investigation. Pansecchi said he believed it originated with either a wood stove or pellet stove at the residence.
Firefighters from Adams, North Adams, Cheshire and Savoy responded to the scene. Several other departments were ready to respond but were canceled because they were not needed, Pansecchi said.
By about 12:30 on Wednesday afternoon, the fire was mostly under control. Adams Fire Department was repositioning its ladder truck to avoid power lines near the home and extinguish the remaining hot spots.
"There was so much fire when we got here, it was more of an attack from the outside," Pansecchi said. "We couldn't go in. There was too much fire inside. It wasn't safe."
Adams Fire Chief John Pansecchi said the owner of the residence was taken to Berkshire Medical Center by Northern Berkshire EMS with burns from the blaze, which was reported at about 11:15 on Wednesday morning. click for more