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suggestions for fun, off-the-beaten-path Berkshires dinner?

After a week of enjoying fine dining around the Berkshires (Nudel, Mezze, Bistro Zinc), we're looking for something a little more casual and fun (but still delicious!). Any suggestions for a hidden gem in the area that will be a little more relaxed (and more off the beaten path)? All cuisines are fair game. We're in west stockbridge, but willing to travel. Thanks!

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  1. Your post makes me nostalgic for Helsinki, which used to be in Great Barrington. Good Scandinavian-influenced cuisine in a funky but cosy setting. Tea was one of their specilaties. They also had live music, and their calendar of musicians was often more interesting than ones in Boston. They moved to Hudson, NY to become Helsinki Hudson. Have not been to the new location. The menu looks like it has moved away from Scandinavia, and the space looks much bigger and more polished.

    Lots of good food in Great Barrington. Babalouie's is good for pizza. The Mexican place on the way to Stockbridge would be fun. I've had some decent meals and good beer at Barrington Brewery, and I've heard good things about Brick House Pub in Housatonic.

    Barrington Brewery and Restaurant
    420 Stockbridge Rd, Great Barrington, MA 01230

    Brick House Pub
    425 Park St N, Great Barrington, MA 01230

    1 Reply
    1. re: czarp

      Sorry, but I'd definitely skip Baba Louies (not what it used to be) and Barrington Brewery. Neither is anything exceptional (if even any good) nor out of the ordinary.
      Rouge is excellent and a bit more casual. You might try the Rt. 7 Grill in Great Barrington; decent food, attractive but very relaxed atmosphere.

    2. We like La fogata in Pittsfield, Columbian food, more urban than Berkshire.

      1 Reply
      1. re: magiesmom

        I second La Fogata...excellent food and beers from all over South America.

      2. I think you would enjoy the Dreamaway Lodge up in Becket. Years ago, it was a family owned(Mama Fresca) inn and restaurant. Dylan, Baez, (Rolling Thunder Review) and other such musicians would stay there in the 70s. About 7-8 years ago, Danny Osman bought and renovated it. Amy, the chef is really, really good...she is a Berkshire native and at one time had a bakery in Lenox and then did a good deal of free lance cheffing. And there is generally live music on the weekends. In its day, back in the day, as it were, it was legend...

        6 Replies
        1. re: AikiLou

          I am amazed you say the chef is wonderful, It is certainly off the beaten path, but the food is IMO mediocre at best and the music too loud and bad.

          1. re: magiesmom

            I DO disagree...Amy Lovelace has gotten many accolades over the years. As for the music, nobody is obligated to stay for that. And, it is a fun place.

            1. re: AikiLou

              Aikilou, I totally agree w/ you. We've always had a good meal and the atmosphere is extremely relaxing. Check the Dreamaway Lodge's website for more information.

              1. re: AikiLou

                except if you are still eating because the service is so slow...

              2. re: magiesmom

                Have to agree with Magiesmom on both La Fogata and Dreamaway. The latter is great for a mellow vibe but the food I've had there was quite forgettable.

              3. re: AikiLou

                I love the Dreamway Lodge! The food is okay...not by any means awful but the atmosphere MORE than makes up for it! Make a night of it! Fire outside....fairy lights, eclectic
                furnishings and a great staff.

              4. Hah! Just came up with something (I KNEW there was something --)
                We went for the first time recently to Mission Bar and Tapas on North Street in Pittsfield. Informal, yes. Casual, yes. Delicious, YES.
                At night there's music, but mjoyous says it doesn't begin until 7 pm, and in any event, maybe you'd like to come for the music.
                Tapas, small plates, interesting food, fun place! We liked it a lot, and we're fussy when it comes to delights of the table.

                1. We always go to Truc Orient, aVietnamese restaurant in West Stockbridge. Nicest people in the world, very low key and a fun atmosphere. Very reasonable prices as well. They have all kinds of asian gift items for sale as well.

                  3 Replies
                    1. re: magiesmom

                      Amy Loveless used to prepare the delicious food at the lunch cafe of The Mount. You should call to see if that's still the situation. I believe, however, that you have to buy an admission ticket which is not unworthwhile if you have never been. For local color at breakfast, Jill's in Lee (in a mall at the bottom of the main drag ( the end closer to the Mass Pike.) It's better than Joe's, but not as fastidious as Martin's.

                      1. re: magiesmom

                        Had the chance to go back this week. Do try the eggplant appetizer, and leave room for the absolutely wonderful lemon mousse - best we've ever had. We also appreciate the great value on the house wines, which are quite good and run about $10 for a half a carafe, perfect for 2 who are driving home.

                        Truc Orient Express Harris
                        PO Box 321, West Stockbridge, MA 01266

                    2. There is a tendency on these boards to declare food either wonderful or awful. Sounds like Dream Away would be the way to go. Is the food innovative and spectacular? No. Is it decent and tasty? Yes. And it's definitely fun, off the beaten path, and unique to the Berkshires.

                      Otherwise would consider Rouge (W. Stockbridge), Rt. 7 grill (G. Barrington), Stagecoach Tavern (Sheffield), Old Forge (Lanesboro).

                      1. Thanks everyone for all of these great suggestions! We ended up going to Gypsy Joynt in Great Barrington, but I was really pulling for La Fogata. Will have to try it next time I'm in town.

                        Gypsy Joynt review: Totally fine super casual meal. Too many menu items--made it hard to decide. Food was fine, but there was a great magician walking around doing shows at every table--the highlight of the evening!

                        10 Replies
                          1. re: bokomaru

                            Okay, I find myself here and there saying things that I swore back in '68 I would never say...I tried, with a friend, Gypsy Joynt a couple months ago...and I found the service followed the same pattern as it does in many south country restaurants as in the server saying to the customer something like: "Oh wow, like you ordered that like second glass of wine like 20 minutes ago; if I like remember, I'll like bring it when I like come to the table again. My other issue is scruff...why dress in clean, neat, well fitting clothes to wait on people when you can walk around in dirty torn jeans and a ratty tee shirt.

                            1. re: AikiLou

                              Usually I would agree with you, but can you seriously expect something different from a place called "Gypsy Joynt" ?

                              1. re: AikiLou

                                We used to frequent a similar place in Nyack, NY when we lived there. I love your description of the servers. We're former English professors turned writers/independent scholars; poor speech feels like nails on a blackboard, aside from the fact it's rude to keep the customers waiting. I think we'll give Gypsy Joynt a miss.

                                1. re: terrierboy

                                  I taught high school English 14 years; I began in 66, and, by 1970, there were expressions such as "I'm innnnnnn-to" and "REALLY!!!," but NOTHING as annoying as the verbal tick: "like." That said...my (one) meal at Gypsy Joynt was not that memorable. DreamAway Lodge IS different. The owner, Danny Osman, is extremely articulate; IF Amy Lovelace is still chef, you WILL get a good meal. She has been in the business well over thirty years. Also, there is the nostalgia factor...back in (I think it was '74) the day, as it were, the members of The Rolling Thunder Revue stayed there. Also, on an other accasion, Dylan and Baez stayed there. Another place is Elizabeth's Restaurant in Pittsfield. It is in an old house...not fine dining...HOWever, the food is fresh and terrific....Mediterranean style menu. Also, the wine list is priced to match the prices of the menu items. AND, NObody makes a salad like Tom, Elizabeth's husband...it is served family style as part of the meal. And, on what other restaurant menu would you see an appetizer described as: "Bagna Cauda...sweet enough to make a republican smile."

                                  1. re: AikiLou

                                    I have always liked the food at Dreamaway, but really go for the fun atmosphere. The music is hit or miss, but that's really not the point. It is a unique experience. And Elizabeth's is lovely. Food is good, salad is wonderful, and it is well worth a visit, but not in the summer when it's impossible to get in. And getting someone to answer the phone to make a reservation can be a challenge!

                                    1. re: AikiLou

                                      We completely agree about "like," second only to "you know," especially when used in tandem. My partner also spent several decades teaching high school English. Years ago, while taking a break from our doctoral studies, we rode the bus into NYC to spend the day at the Met. On the way back, we discussed a classmate, who infuriated us because she was sleeping with my advisor, as well as her Freshman Comp students, then bragging about her exploits. We were cursing a blue streak, though in our best library voices, until a man behind us tapped us on the shoulders. We cringed, expecting him to object to our colorful language. He clearly mistook us for the undergraduates who attended our university, as he congratulated us for our "polished speech." When we asked him what he meant, he replied, "Yours was the only conversation I've heard between young people that did not include a single 'like' or 'you know.'" We had to bite our hands to keep from laughing. That was back in the mid-80s; unfortunately, "like" and "you know" remain irritating ticks across several generations.

                                      Thanks for the marvelous suggestions. We'll have to try DreamAway Lodge and Elizabeth's. This is just the time of year when one craves a great salad. That last line from the menu at Elizabeth's already won me over. The Lodge's menu intrigues me, as well.

                                      1. re: terrierboy

                                        we like Elizabeth's a lot; the food is always tasty, the salads inventive and enormous, the wine list reasonable. In summer we go early.
                                        I know many like Dreamaway, and I do enjoy the funky atmosphere, but find the food mediocre at best, unpalatable at worst. ANd the music blares so speaking becomes impossible.

                                        1. re: terrierboy

                                          If you're going to Elizabeth's, book your reservations approximately 3-4 weeks ahead. They pack the restaurant pretty quickly.

                                          1. re: Dana1949

                                            maybe on the weekend. not during the week. We routinely call on the same day for weekdays.