A guide to the classic and quintessential spots in the Berkshires.
A guide to the classic and quintessential spots in the Berkshires.
The Berkshires are made up of a chain of towns along the western border of Massachusetts. In the 19th century, it was the summer getaway for polite society with most of their mansions surrounding the Lenox area. Many of the mansions are gone, either burnt to the ground or have become hotels, but the genteel feeling of the area remains and it’s still a cultural center for music, dance and theater.
It’s also turning into a culinary destination. The distance from the farm to the table is short. Here it’s not a trend, it’s just the way they cook. This guide will help you find the more classic and quintessential places in the Berkshires for eating, drinking and food shopping. Check out our other FED | Guide for the newer spots.
To get the full Berkshires guide to local restaurants, bars and shops, download the free Find. Eat. Drink. iPhone guide with recommendations from local chefs and bartenders.
Breakfast in the mornings and lunch after 11:30am. From eggs to sandwiches to salads and burgers to freshly-baked sweets.
“Chef Shelly Williams always has delicious omelets and eggs sardo (eggs Benny on artichoke halves with spinach).” - Chef Daire Rooney of Allium Restaurant + Bar
“I love it for brunch. They offer great Benedicts and baked goods and you can get a Bloody Mary with your breakfast.” - Chef Brian Alberg of The Red Lion Inn
8 Franklin Street, Lenox, MA 01240 | T: 413.637.8948
325 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, MA 01230 | T: 413.528.5433
A small coffee house and gallery with photos taken by owner and photographer John Stanmeyer, who traveled the world as a photojournalist documenting war-torn areas for National Geographic. Located in a 1800s Shaker-style house in West Stockbridge, he’s more likely to chat with you about coffee brewing methods than f-stops. Get an iced coffee made with the in-house Japanese Oji water dripper that takes 8 hours to brew a cup.
2 Main Street, West Stockbrige, MA 01266 | T: 413.232.7707 | www.shakerdamcoffeehouse.com
Get your caffeine fix at this cafe owned by Berkshires native Gregg Charbonneau, who is the founder of Barrington Coffee Roasting Company in Lee.
“They source smaller farms and get different kinds of beans and they don’t over-roast.” - Chef Stephen Browning of Prairie Whale
52 Main Street, Lenox, MA 01240 | T: 413.637.1606
The Baldwins have been making small batch vanilla extract for over a century. Made in their basement of a former carriage shop, they use imported Bourbon Vanilla Beans from Madagascar and 100-year-old barrels for aging. They sell their extract, as well as ice cream toppings, sugar blends and their signature Worcestershire sauce all made using their vanilla.
1 Center Street, West Stockbridge, MA 01266
T: 413.232.7785 | www.baldwinextracts.com
Jean-Francois Bizalion brings Marseilles to Great Barrington with his European cafe, bakery and specialty foods store. He imports micro-estate olive oils, European cheeses and charcuterie. They serve croissants, pain au chocolate, tartines, baguette sandwiches, coffee and wine.
“This shop is owned by a couple, one is French and the other is Irish. They make French-style sandwiches and import some crazy olive oils from France.” - Chef Stephen Browning of Prairie Whale
684 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230
T: 413.644.9988 | www.bizalions.com
Located on the grounds of Shakespeare & Company, they sell local produce, poultry, cheeses, eggs, pies, cakes, hard ciders, sandwiches, pizzas and flowers.
“This market is on Fridays, which is good when you’re planning for a weekend. There are a lot of people from the northern part of Columbia County and farmers from the Pittsfield area.” - Chef Scott Cole of Monterey General Store
70 Kemble Street, Lenox, MA 01240
T: 413.528.8950 | www.lenoxfarmersmarket.com
This is a small grass-based dairy on the slopes of the Taconic Hills with their own honor-system farm store. You can buy locally-made artisan foods. Just leave your money in the lockbox.
“The Tobasi cheese here is delicious.” - Restaurateur Nancy Thomas of Mezze Bistro + Bar, Allium Restaurant + Bar
1255 Oblong Road, Williamstown, MA 01267
T: 413.458.5888 | www.cricketcreekfarm.com
The first guests came by stage coach when the restaurant opened in 1773. Long on history, this grand New England inn still honors its tradition.
“The menu features local foods. Chef Brian Alberg raises his own pigs and features local everything, including house-made corn dogs. I love them.” - Restaurateur Nancy Thomas of Mezze Bistro + Bar, Allium Restaurant + Bar
“Chef Brian Alberg does in-house butchery and they have the best meat program.” - Chef Jeremy Stanton of The Meat Market
30 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA 10262 | T: 413.298.5545 | www.redlioninn.com
Vintage neon sign, TVs playing in the background and waitresses that call you “Hon.”
“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.” - Chef Bjorn Somlo of Nudel
455 North Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201 | T: 413.448.2717 | lanternbarandgrill.com
Baker Richard Bourdon uses traditional European techniques to make his breads. He also carries spelt and wheat pizza crusts, five varieties of frozen pizza and a line of cookies.
“I love their sourdough chocolate bread made with Callebaut chocolate. It’s incredible.” - Chef Dan Smith of John Andrews
“They are about as local as it gets and they make a really great ciabatta.” - Chef Scott Cole of Monterey General Store
“They make a mean ciabatta and their chocolate sourdough bread (which has been the talk of the media nationwide) is perfect toasted with some butter. The are making by far the best bread in the area.” - Chef Brian Alberg of The Red Lion Inn
367 Park Street, Housatonic, MA 01236
T: 413.274.3412 | www.berkshiremountainbakery.com
Chef Nicholas Moulton creates a menu focusing on the Berkshires region and nose-to-tale philosophy. Owner and beverage director Nancy Thomas has co-authored a few cocktail books, so make sure to check out the bar list.
“It’s a great place for a really nice meal. They deliver a solid product and they do a great job with everything.” - Chef Bjorn Somolo of Nudel
Chef Dan Smith has won the respect of local chefs for his seasonal, fine dining restaurant in an old farm house.
“It's always been obvious to chef Dan Smith to take advantage of the local sustainable agriculture. It didn’t seem that obvious to everybody 20 years ago, but it did to him. He makes amazing dishes, like lamb from Lila Berle’s farm and seared duck breast. His fried oysters are extraordinarily delicious which, not local but amazing.” - Chef Scott Cole of Monterey General Store
“Dan makes lambcetta with Lila Berle's lamb and it’s really terrific.” - Chef Brian Alberg of The Red Lion Inn
“For chef Dan Smith's sweetbreads and farm-to-table loveliness. He’s got outdoor dining and a fireplace, so in any season it’s an even more special treat to dine here. And Eric knows his cocktails, too.” - Chef Daire Rooney of Allium Restaurant + Bar
Wine by the glass, beer on tap, small plate tapas-style, pizzas, cheeses and charcuterie. You’ll see chefs and summer stock performers coming in for late night bites.
“They serve a whole range of wines and I can get food until midnight.” - Chef Brian Alberg of The Red Lion
“This is cool tapas bar. I like to come in for the Gambas Al Ajillo (shrimp with garlic).” - Chef Franck Tessier of Chez Nous
Open until 1am
27 Housatonic Street, Lenox, MA 01240 | T: 413.637.9171
The Baldwins have been making small batch vanilla extract for over a century in West Stockbrige. They use imported Bourbon Vanilla Bean from Madagascar and 100-year-old barrels for aging. Stop into their former carriage house to pick up a bottle to bring home.
One of the oldest, grass-based dairy farms in the region. Canyon Ranch chef Scott Uehlein is a fan. "Cricket Creek Farms embodies all that we love: cows are treated humanely (they are grass fed, roam on pastures, are not treated with hormones or antibiotics) and the cheese is made in an Old World style, which produces a far superior flavor and texture."
Executive chef at The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, MA.
Chef / owner at John Andrews in South Egremont, MA.
Chef at Allium Restaurant + Bar in Great Barrington, MA.
Chef at Prairie Whale in Great Barrington, MA.
Chef / co-owner of Chez Nous Bistro in Lee, MA.
Chef / owner of the Monterey General Store in Monterey, MA.
Chef / owner of Nudel in Lenox, MA.
Chef / butcher / owner at The Meat Market in Great Barrington, MA.