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The Dreaded Pittsfield

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Okay, I know this subject has come up before (to no avail) but I MUST take my yearly trip to Pittsfield to visit my husband's family, and there are only so many Friendly-burgers I can take. Help me. Please. There has to be SOMETHING. I realize this will require some driving. But there can't really be NOTHING in town... or can there...?


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  1. I've called in my Berkshire dining experts for you on this one - my folks - who are are up there pretty much every weekend from April through September.

    My Mother's recommendation, Elizabeth's in Pittsfield - very good, pastas, pizzas and good salads. Low-key, no reservations. Though I haven't been there, she has and I trust her taste in restaurants.

    Church Street Cafe in Lenox, for simple American fare.

    And of course there's Bistro Zinc in Lenox, which I know has been brought up here often. I like their other restaurant, Pearl's, in Great Barrington, much better, but that's a little too far to drive.

    For breakfast, I posted about Carol's, in Lenox, below. One of my favorites.

    If you do go to Elizabeth's, please report back. I'll try to check it out 4th of July weekend.

    7 Replies
    1. re: shortstop

      Elizabeth's is quite good - particularly the salads. They don't do pizza any more. Talking with Tom, the owner, is half the fun.

      1. re: jimc
        Sandra Levine

        The polenta at Elizabeth's is a must -- the best I've ever had. I think about all year long. You can make a whole meal of sharing a salad for two and an order of polenta.

        1. re: Sandra Levine

          Thats intriguing, especially since as I recall polenta /mamiglia was a highlight of JimLeff's bizarre fave in that region, Dreamaway Lodge (is it still operating??.

          Polenta just isnt that common...
          I wonder if there is some kind of a link????

          1. re: jen kalb
            Ben Greenfield

            I'm in Williamstown and I don't mind driving all the way to pittsfield to get me some of that Kim's Dragon goodness.

            It is called a Vitenameese resturant, to me it seemed a little thaish also.

            Jacque Pepin loves their spring rolls and Arlo gutherie wrote a song about them.

            Basically you drive west on 295 out of pittsfield and eventually they will be on your left.

            It is very good.


      2. re: shortstop

        Carol's in Lenox is no more... it's Haven now.

        And while you won't get in to discussions about extraterrestrials or Bigfoot, the food at Haven is wonderful.

        1. re: timwhoeatsalot

          Clearly, you ate at Haven when there was an actual chef. We paid nearly $30 for rubbery pancakes and a greasy salmon omelet with equally oily potatoes; as if that weren't annoying enough, we had to serve our own drinks, etc. Carol, please come home!

      3. Alan Divack recommended the House of India last year - you might want to give it a try. See link below.

        Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        1. Thanks, guys. Elizabeth's was clearly the best alternative in town (didn't try Indian place due to being voted down). Nothing fancy, and not big-city finesse, but they didn't ruin any fresh ingredients (something New Englanders seem to do with pride) and the salads are downright wonderful.

          Bistro Zinc in Lenox is indeed very good and is clearly run by escapees from somewhere more... er... cosmopolitan.

          Thanks thanks thanks.

          3 Replies
          1. re: R.G. Diamond

            FYI...Zinc (what locals call it) was opened and continues to be operated by a Lenox local...don't be so closed minded.

            1. re: allisongallese

              Continues to be operated by a Lenox local but does not continue to be good, sadly.

            2. re: R.G. Diamond

              My, my aren't we a little snobbish. There are very good restaurants throughout New England run by locals who do not ruin the fresh ingredients.
              For what it's worth, what cosmopolitan area are you from, do tell?

            3. Next time you are in Pittsfield try the East Side Cafe for pizza in a dark neighborhood bar atmosphere, and La Fogatta for Columbian diner food, oh those tostones!!!

              4 Replies
              1. re: mr breadpuddin

                La Fogata on Tyler Street is an absolute gem - unassuming Colombian food served up by Miguel and his crew. Some other places worth exploring:

                - Elizabeths, of course
                - The Brazilian Bar - pretty good steamtable veggies, and excellent grilled meat
                - Sabor - Ecuadorian cuisine, with a very elegant touch
                - Brix, a terrific wine bar with excellent French/American cuisine.

                Glad to see that the original headline on this post - "the dreaded Pittsfield" - is now more than five years old. Cuisine in our fair city has gotten much, much better in the last couple of years.

                1. re: ethanz

                  This is a six year old thread!

                  1. re: RichK

                    hehehehehehe... shows you how much goes on in the Berkshires!

                2. re: mr breadpuddin

                  East Side pizza has to be one of the darkest places to eat in Pittsfield. I rate the pizza a c-.

                3. The beer is good at the Pittsfield Brew Works.Haven't had dinner there yet though.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: RIChowderhead

                    its a notch better than usual pub fare, but the beers make it a worthwhile stop. two really talented brewers there who used to work at victory in PA.

                  2. Pittsfield, like all things New England is full of charm. That charm may be harder to find, but it is there. As your post was in 2002 I'd like to see if there are a few other places I could recommend. Patrick's on North St is popular, as is On a Roll (lunch). There's the Highland as well, also in town. Samel's Deli has some great food and would recommend to-go and heading up to the lake for a picnic. Jimmy's is OK, as is Papa Joe's or the Pizza House. Angelina's is a must. There's a Tapas place called Mission next to the Dotty's coffee house. On the border of Lanesboro there's Reilly's for seafood and burgers. If you want upper class there's Spice or the Indian food place on North St. Brew Works is quiet and $4 pints of craft beer with OK food.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: nmalnati

                      I know this thread began in 2002 but I'm surprised none of the more recent posters mentioned Brix. I think it is excellent!

                    2. Wow incredibly snobbish! There are many reasons why so many people visit the berkshires from those cosmopolitan areas you mention...but now I am seeing why we dread their visit so much as shire natives! Pittsfield has many great restaurants to chose from. Jae's Spice is a favorite for sushi. Elizabeths is also great. The Olde Forge is a favorite but just over the line into Lanesboro. Mazzeo's and Kim's Dragon are also very good! Trattoria Rustica is awesome!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: lx1985

                        Am guessing you're not local. The Dragon has been closed for well over a year and despite signs to the contrary (since the summer), shows no sign of reopening. Mazzeo's is moving and not yet up and running.

                        1. re: mjoyous

                          Born & raised! And actually Kim's Dragon has been open off and on for several years. It is also open (under other names) in Great Barrington and Trucs in West Stockbridge. Mazzeos is in fact open at their original location and will be opening hopefully by the summer on route 7 as their main restaurant leaving the other for catering. Shiro is also a great place and recently opened on North St near the new theater.

                          1. re: lx1985

                            Sorry if I caused any concern regarding your birthplace. However, The Dragon used to close for the winters, which was the "off & on." It has now been closed for over a year, and despite a new sign put up during the summer, and an "Opening Soon" banner, has yet to re-open. The Eagle ran an article late summer saying that son #3 would be re-opening The Dragon, but something must have happened.
                            The GB restaurant you're referring to is 20 Railroad St, which was bought and run by the son (and wife) that had taken over The Dragon. They infused the old standard 20 Railroad St bar menu with some additions from The Dragon (like the shrimp and pork spring rolls) but it is NOT a Vietnamese or even fusion restaurant.
                            Truc's in West Stockbridge has been around for a very long time and to the best of my knowledge is run by an entirely different family.
                            My error on Mazzeo's, though I think the new location on the Pittsfield-Lenox Rd. should be open before summer.
                            And from one lunch, I have to agree on Shiro's new spot on North St. Had eaten at the GB Shiro a few times. Had a nice lunch at Shiro 2 weeks ago. Pleasant ambiance, great service. Had shrimp tempura (it was just too cold out for cold fish!); the shrimp were really fresh and perfectly cooked. Unfortunately the veggies were likely par-boiled too long and a bit overcooked. But I will go back.

                      2. How is Dakota ? It used to have a good rep several years ago have things changed ???

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: TonyO

                          The Dakota is a chain chop house. It never changes.

                            1. re: mjoyous

                              I agree the Dakota is pretty average and you can definitely find a better dinner/ steak around. It is good on occasion if you are extremely hungry and wanting a more chain like experience. Dinners come with a baked potato and pretty good salad bar. The bread is great though!