Photo Gallery: Olde Forge Restaurant


LANESBOROUGH -- Drive by the Olde Forge Restaurant on Route 7 at any time after noon, on any given day, and the odds are the parking lots will be crammed with cars.

"What we call a slow day is 300 people," owner Kirk Grippo said. "We're literally doing a few hundred people a day during our off-time of year; when we hit the bigger times of the year, some weekend days can average in the 450 range, with people there all day, and probably hit 850 people on a peak day -- like St. Patrick's Day or Columbus Day weekend."

The Olde Forge, Grippo said, changes its taps regularly. Only a couple of beers stay on regularly and has beers from all over the world. Only a couple stay on tap constantly. Now, it has Spaten, Guinness, Old-Speckled Hen, Belgium Lambic Framboise, Innis and Gunn, and Ommegang.

"We'll be bringing in every single Irish beer there is" for St. Patrick's Day, he promised.

Grippo, who bought the restaurant in 1998, attributes its popularity and longevity to it historical significance. "Everybody likes it. It's been here a long time," he said.

Originally, it was Alberts Farm.

Sierra Holland pours two pints of Guinness at the Olde Forge Restaurant in Lanesborough.
Sierra Holland pours two pints of Guinness at the Olde Forge Restaurant in Lanesborough. (Stephanie Zollshan / Berkshire Eagle Staff)
The Alberts family owned the property and also ran it as multiple businesses over the years. Grippo said the building was once an old forge, with the forge in the downstairs area and the upstairs used as a delivery point.

Grippo is the third owner of the Olde Forge, which Gary Alberts opened about 35 years ago. Before becoming a restaurant, it was a package store, a dance club and going back farther, another restaurant.

"Guys that are in their late 90s talked to me about how they would go to bowling banquets here," Grippo said. "One guy brought in a cocktail fork. He said, ‘I need to talk to you -- I need to return this to you. It's a cocktail fork; I took it out of here one time.' He handed me this little red cocktail fork, the old-fashioned kind that was like a stir stick. It was red and looked like something that came from a lobster place."

Grippo credits his staff for the restaurant's success, saying they work hard.

"We try to make it so that we do have good food, we have good service, we take care of our customers and we try to keep prices that people can afford," he said.

And of course, on St. Patrick's Day, corned beef and cabbage and lamb stew will be on the menu.

The Dublin Porter Band will perform downstairs on Saturday, March 15, starting at 7 p.m. Guinness will host an engrave-your-own pint event from 5 to 7 that night. Also on Saturday, there will be beer specials. Bill Morrison, an Irish singer, will perform in the restaurant on Sunday.

"St. Patrick's Day, we'll do the whole fun bling, give away prizes and we have the Housatonic Philharmonic playing, which has been our St. Patrick's Day band since I started. They do Irish music the way it's supposed to be, more traditional than original. We just make it a fun day."

If you go ...

What: Olde Forge Restaurant

Where: 125 North St., Route 7, Lanesborough

When: Open at noon every day. Monday-Wednesday, dinner til 10 p.m., last call 11 p.m.; Thursday, dinner til 10 p.m., last call midnight; Friday and Saturday til 11 p.m., last call midnight; Sunday, dinner til 9 p.m., last call 11 p.m.

The Dublin Porter Band will perform downstairs on Saturday, March 15, starting at 7 p.m. Guinness will host an engrave-your-own pint event from 5 to 7 that night. Also on Saturday, there will be beer specials. Bill Morrison, an Irish singer, will perform in the restaurant on Sunday.

Information: (413) 442-6797.