Pittsfield is our urban side. It is our dark side. It’s where we were and where we are going.
— Chef Brian Alberg of Eat on North
Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

In the picturesque Berkshires, Pittsfield has always been known as more blue collar than bucolic. It’s the urban center in this rural Western Massachusetts county and until the late 1980s, it was a hub for General Electric. At the height of production, during World War II, GE employed 14,000 people in a city of just about 50,000. But then GE packed up its bags and the lifeline and identity were taken away. Slowly this small town started experiencing big city problems with jobs dwindling and drug use growing. For years, downtown storefronts sat vacant.

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Pittsfield's Revitalization

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

But cities all over the country are experiencing second lives and Pittsfield is now in the game with new restaurants, coffee shops, wine bars, tapas bars, breweries, coffee roasters, and hotels opening up in the city center. One of the key players in turning around this area is the Main Street Hospitality Group, the owners of the iconic Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, as well as many other Berkshire properties. They've been brought in to manage the newly renovated, 45-room boutique Hotel on North. The owners spent $14 million redoing the 68,000 square foot, 19th century building.

Brian Alberg is the executive chef of the hotel's restaurant, Eat on North, and he's excited about the direction of this gritty city, "Pittsfield is a blue collar city that has very creative roots. It is a city that has a sense of community. It is very welcoming to guests. It has tons of potential because it has been desolate for so long that upward growth for the city is huge."

It’s the diversity that beverage director Dan Thomas enjoys about Pittsfield, "The booze culture is good here. People are excited about it and it is not just one genre. There are beer bars, cocktail bars, wine bars and everybody mixes it with different styles and philosophies. You can go to a dirty bar and get canned beer or you can go to an upscale place and drink Champagne."

While Pittsfield may not be the obvious choice if you’re looking for an escape from city life, it is located smack in the middle of everything. To the north are world-class museums like MASS MoCA, art galleries, and summer stock theater showcasing Broadway-bound shows. To the south is Tanglewood, which is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Shakespeare & Company theatre, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and the Norman Rockwell Museum. 


To help you find the best places for eating and drinking in Pittsfield, here is our 24-hour FED pro-recommended guide.


MORNING | Breakfast

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Dottie's Coffee Lounge

Dottie’s is a coffee ‘lounge’ offering breakfast and lunch using all organic produce in their food. It’s adored by locals.

"It's great and a go-to for coffee. It’s a local’s place and I love it."
FED Pro  >  Chef Brian Alberg (Eat on North)

444 North Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201
T: 413.443.1792 | dottiescoffeelounge.com


LUNCH | Colombian

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

La Fogata

Chef Miguel Gomez takes trips to New York City markets to buy Latin American ingredients so that he can provide a more authentic dining experience. He learned about meat in his family's butcher shop and worked as a meat cutter for Mazzeo’s meat shop at Guido’s for eight years before opening up La Fogata, based on home-cook recipes from his native Colombia.

"It’s Colombian food and chef Miguel is also a butcher, which is really cool. I get his meaty plate that comes with plantains and beans and rice. It is very typical Colombian style, you know that leaf of lettuce with a couple slices of slightly under-ripe tomato and a little drizzle of oil, but it’s not even olive oil, it’s just oil. It’s crisp and fresh."
FED Pro  >  Chef / Butcher Jeremy Stanton (The Meat Market & Fire Roasted Catering)

770 Tyler Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201
T: 413.443.6969


LUNCH | Old School

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Lantern Bar & Grill

"They started the same year as the Oscars. It's been here for over 85 years. It completely goes against me in one way, but it agrees in another. It's a $5 burger served in this historic room and they've been doing it as it’s been done for decades and there is something that feels really cool about that."
FED Pro  >  Chef Bjorn Somlo (Nudel)

"They have good flat top griddle burgers. And if you are going to drink beer, it is either out of a can or a Bud Light, because sometimes you don’t want to think too hard about what you are drinking."
FED Pro  > Sommelier Dan Thomas (Eat on North)

"It is just a divey little place that is like the old school bowling alley bars, where your cocktails are served in little jelly glasses. It’s cool. This is the place to go to get the best burger and a Miller High Life."
FED Pro  >  Chef Brian Alberg (Eat on North)

455 North Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201
T: 413.448.2717 | lanternbarandgrill.com


 
 

AFTERNOON | Food Shopping

Berkshire Organics

Just out of town in nearby Dalton, this market has different purveyors like a nose-to-tail butcher shop custom cutting pasture-raised animals from local farmers. They also have places selling cheeses, groceries, bakery goods and produce.

"They have different shops like Red Apple Butchers, which is an artisanal butcher shop run by guys who worked at The Meat Market. They have Naturally, run by the former chef of Reva, known for the best breakfast ever and Bake Me Pretty for baked goods. Also bottled and can beer. It's a one-stop shop and a great addition to this area."
FED Pro  >  Brewmaster Chris Post (Wandering Star Brewery)

813 Dalton Division Road, Dalton, MA 01226
T: 413.442.0888 | www.berkshireorganics.com


AFTERNOON | Beer Tasting

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Wandering Star Craft Brewery

On Saturday afternoons from 12 to 3pm, stop by this family-owned, 15-barrel production microbrewery for a tasting with Chris Post, who trained at Manhattan’s Chelsea Brewing Company. Their beer is sold all over the Berkshires and New York City. Get a growler to go and bring a taste of the Berkshires home with you.

"I really like Chris Post's beers at Wandering Star. Chris is great guy and a great brewer. He is an Englishman and there is a definite English style to his beers that shows through. The product he puts out on a regular basis is consistent and very drinkable, in a drink a second or third beer type of drinkable."
FED Pro  >  Sommelier Dan Thomas (Eat on North)

11 Gifford Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201
T: 413.717.7041 | www.wanderingstarbrewing.com


EVENING | Drink Beer

Photograph courtesy of Thistle & Mirth

Photograph courtesy of Thistle & Mirth

Thistle & Mirth

"A beer bar with a great draft beer selection with a lot of local brews. They also offer beers that you don’t see too often and rotate their selection quite frequently."
FED Pro  >  Sommelier Dan Thomas (Eat on North)

"This place is low key and great for having an interesting conversation with whomever is in here. I wouldn’t call it picturesque though. It’s run by a guy who had quite a nice wine bar, but then discovered he liked beer better. He opened the beer bar next door and the wine bar went to rack and ruin. They have a really nice, well chosen selection of beer and it’s $5 a pint."
FED Pro  >  Brewmaster Chris Post (Wandering Star Brewery)

44 West Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201
T: 413.344.4335


EVENING | Drink Wine, Cocktails, Beer

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Eat on North

Beverage director Dan Thomas says, "I don't want to be classified as one thing. It’s not a beer bar, not a wine bar, not a cocktail bar." He focuses on local producers in the cocktail and beer lists, with brewers like Big Elm and Wandering Star and distillers like Berkshire Mountain Distillers. Don't ignore his wine program though, "I am a wine guy by heart and by passion and I want to have a fun, approachable wine program that isn't priced through the roof."

297 North Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201
T: 413.358.4741 | hotelonnorth.com/eat-drink/drink

Methuselah Bar & Lounge

"They have a great cocktail program and beer selection, and their wines by the glass selection is interesting and fun. A lot of times you are trying something new here, which is good, since a lot of wine by the glass programs can be a little stagnant and have the same types of wines."
FED Pro  >  Sommelier Dan Thomas (Eat on North)

"Methuseilah is like a trip to a New York City posh cocktail bar without leaving the Shire."
FED Pro  >  Chef Brian Alberg (Eat on North)

391 North Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201
T: 413.344.4991 | www.methuselahbarandlounge.com

Mission Bar & Tapas

"For great tapas and Spanish wines. There is a shortage of places that focus on Spanish wine and there is a lot of great value in Spain. This place fits the bill."
FED Pro  >  Sommelier Dan Thomas (Eat on North)

"This is such a great place to go for live music, tapas and downing a Porron with friends."
FED Pro  >  Chef Brian Alberg (Eat on North)

438 North St, Pittsfield, MA 01201
www.missionbarandtapas.com


DINNER

Chef Brian Alberg | Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Chef Brian Alberg | Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Eat on North

Chef Brian Alberg, the executive chef of the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, has developed the menu here based on his food he loves to eat when he travels to various cities. His goal is bringing all those different dishes under one roof. He describes it as, "a chefs' restaurant that is globally inspired serving locally sourced food." From the eclectic menu he recommends ordering the octopus, oysters, chicken and waffles, duck and lettuce wraps, and bone marrow. Sommelier Dan Thomas suggests ordering a Muscadet for the oysters and a Lambrusco for the chicken and waffles.

297 North Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201
T: 413.358.4741 | hotelonnorth.com/eat-drink/eat

Trattoria Rustica

"It’s a stone room lit by candle light. Order the veal chop seared and finished in the brick oven."
FED Pro  >  Chef Brian Alberg (Eat on North)

27 Mc Kay Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201
T: 413.499.1192 | trattoria-rustica.com


LATE NIGHT(ISH) or HUNGOVER LUNCH

Hot Dog Ranch

"You can get mini hot dogs, tater tots, and a cold beer. It is dark and I don’t think there are any windows in it, so you can go at any time of the day and feel secluded. If you are hungover, it is a good place to go for cheesy tots. Food that is not too healthy, but tastes very good."
FED Pro  >  Sommelier Dan Thomas (Eat on North)

Open 10am - 1am, Cash Only
20 Linden Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201
T: 413.499.0055


SOUVENIR IDEAS

Assembly Coffee Roasters

A micro coffee roaster in Pittsfield launched by Julia and Thomas Doyle. Thomas previously worked at Blue Bottle Coffee. Their roastery is open to visitors on Wednesdays, but you can pick up their coffee around the county.

Visit | Buy

Wandering Star Beer

"Stop in and see Chris for a growler fill. He is always entertaining and tells a good story."
FED Pro  >  Sommelier Dan Thomas (Eat on North)

Visit | Buy


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