Photo Gallery | New Italian restaurant 'Grazie' to open in North Adams
NORTH ADAMS — The owners of downtown North Adams' newest eatery, Grazie, know full well they're opening during the slow season.
"We've said all along that we'd open when we're ready, and we're ready," said chef and business partner Matthew Tatro.
That decision is already proving wise; since announcing its opening date of Feb. 12 reservations to the new Italian restaurant on Marshall Street are piling in, and the business was selling gift cards weeks before it even announced an official opening date.
North Adams native and owner David Moresi, who could hardly speak about the restaurant without touching his hand to his stomach, bought the entire Mulcare Block in 2014 and began extensive renovations later that year. The Mulcare Block now includes the Mohawk Tavern, Grazie and several residential apartments upstairs.
The restaurant is positioned neatly in the city's downtown, with Mass MoCA in sight and ample parking on Marshall Street and in the St. Anthony's lot. Despite its proximity to a museum that draws in more than 150,000 visitors annually, Tatro and Moresi stress that the restaurant will be accessible to local residents as well as tourists.
"The tourists are going to come by default, but this is really for the locals," Moresi said.
Tatro, also a North Adams native who returned to Western Massachusetts after working as a chef in the Boston Area, has crafted the restaurant's diverse menu and will run the kitchen.
He said the dining experience will the "epitome" of an Italian restaurant, with bread and bean dip served before every entree, every entree served with a salad — a meal filling enough that "you can't finish it all."
"We love bringing people together and nothing brings people together more than food," Tatro said.
The food will "speak for itself," Tatro said, but will remain at an accessible price point. Desserts, dressings, sauces, "everything is made from scratch." The restaurant will also feature a kids' menu and extensive gluten-free menu.
Though he met with several potential partners, Moresi said Tatro stuck out right away because he actually made eye contact when they shook hands. He had heard of Tatro, who had been the general manager at the Adams Ale House, prior to starting the restaurant on Marshall Street.
"This guy knows his stuff," Moresi said.
Old black-and-white photos line the walls of the restaurant's back lounge area, further emphasizing Grazie's emphasis on family. Mackenzie Tatro, Matthew's wife, will be Grazie's floor manager.
The restaurant's bar was crafted with an eye on making eating a meal there a comfortable experience. Like any Italian restaurant worth its weight in pasta, Grazie will feature an extensive wine list.
Grazie also offers a special pub menu to hungry patrons at the neighboring Mohawk Tavern.
Moresi said his investment in the Mulcare Block has been "significant."
"This place is really set up with permanence in mind," Moresi said.
In Italian, "Grazie" is a way of saying thanks.
"We're thanking the community in advance," Tatro said.
Grazie will open with hours every day but Tuesday from 4 p.m. until a to-be-determined closing time. Customers are asked to call ahead to reserve a table at 413-664-0044.