Shaking up the art of enjoyment
North Adams, Massachusetts, is home to a renaissance of creativity with an amazing landscape of art and design.
A former industrial center and mill town tucked away in the northern Berkshires, North Adams is now home to painters, photographers and performance artists. It is considered one of the most affordable small cities to live for young artists.
Spearheading this creative growth is one of the largest contemporary art museums in America boasting 600,000 square feet of potential space. Mass MOCA has over 300,000 square feet, currently occupied by exhibition space, galleries, art fabrication facilities, performing arts theaters, a natural amphitheater, two performance courtyards, an outdoor concert space and production support space.
As artists descend on a community, eventually so does gentrification. One restaurant that’s carving its own niche in this blossoming cultural mecca is Public Eat + Drink in downtown North Adams.
Public, which opened in 2011, is the brainchild of owner Jared Decoteau, a native of North Adams, who saw an opportunity to bridge the gap between high-end tablecloth restaurants and casual pubs. His goal was to present creatively plated food at a reasonable price, while offering the casual atmosphere mirroring the culture of North Adams. So when Taylor’s Fine Dining closed its doors, Jared jumped at the opportunity to make that dream a reality.
The result is Public Eat + Drink, a casually, cool restaurant with an industrial-charming atmosphere. Under the direction of Executive Chef David Slick, Public offers a selection of portion sizes referred to as smalls, mids and bigs, thus allowing patrons the flexibility to try a variety of food.
Local sourcing is called out in the menu descriptions with Peace Valley Farm, Maplebrook Farm, Vermont’s Family Farm and Equinox Farm as regular suppliers. The eclectic list of cocktails highlights refreshing drinks with creative flavor combinations such as the Firecracker, a drink that combines Berkshire Mountain Distillers Ragged Mountain Rum, elderflower liqueur, fresh lemon juice, club soda and a hit of jalapeño syrup for that extra kick! An extensive, and continually changing, list of draft beers and wines completes the dining experience.
Can’t get to North Adams right now, but Pittsfield is doable? This past September Jared opened District Kitchen & Bar on West Street, in the former Brix restaurant space, bringing the Public concept to South County. 40 West St., Pittsfield, MA; 413-442-0303; District.kitchen
Public Eat + Drink; 34 Holden St., adjacent to Route 2; 413-664-4444; PublicEatAndDrink.com
Matthew LaBombard, is a publicist at Storey Publishing in North Adams. A native of Berkshire County, he currently lives in Williamstown. An avid cook, Matt spends his free time entertaining and cooking for friends and family.