PITTSFIELD -- Armed with a new menu and a different format, the owners of Patrick's Pub have opened their new restaurant venture, J. Allen's Clubhouse Grille, on North Street.
While J. Allen's launched a soft opening a week ago, co-owner David Powell said the grand opening is today. J. Allen's, located at 41 North St. on the site of the former Brulee's Restaurant close to the Beacon Cinema, has a game room and Powell said all of those activities will be operational for today's opening.
Powell, his brother, Micah, and his father, Bruce, have been part of Patrick's operating team since 1985.
David and his wife, Shauna, will manage J. Allen's, which is named for his late grandfather, Jack Allen Powell. Bruce, Micah and his wife, Shana, will continue to manage Patrick's.
David Powell said that J. Allen's will offer "light fare" featuring sandwiches, burgers, and personal pizzas which differentiates it from Patrick's. The only common item are the hot wings.
Unlike Patrick's, J. Allen's only has seven or eight entrees, many of them former dinner specials that sold well on Park Row.
"You can get your food and get it fairly quickly," Powell said. "We're banking on people coming here if they want to catch a movie."
Libations include 20 draft lines, 12 of them offering beer from microbreweries. Although the two restaurants are located within close proximity of each other, Powell said he doesn't believe they will be competing.
"That's why we went with two completely different menus," he said. "At Patrick's, it's the dinner setting. Here, you have a pool table and game room in the back, a juke box and trivia on TV. It's meant to be more casual and a little bit different. We aimed to have two entirely different restaurants close to each other because it's downtown Pittsfield and there's lots of stuff to do.
"We believe that it's a lot safer than having something like Patrick's move in here," Powell continued. "We figure we're trying to protect Patrick's in that regard. Hopefully, the people who come to Patrick's will go there, and another night of the week go here."
There will be interaction between the restaurants.
"If we have a wait here, we can call directly to the manager over there and reserve a table for those people by putting them on the list," Powell said. "People know that if they can't get into Patrick's, they can call over to J.Allen's and they'll set us up."
The owners have hired some 25 new employees to staff Allen's. A bartender, a dining room manager, and a few members of the kitchen staff are the only employees who have come over from Patrick's.
"Eventually, we will be training our own kitchen staff here," he said.
Powell said the owners spent around $30,000 renovating the building, which included removing the L-shaped portion of the bar, and moving an inside wall back to free up more space for tables. J.Allen's also has 18 television sets.. Six of the TVs will be used for patrons to play an in-house trivia game.
When the Licensing Board approved the transfer of Brulee's liquor license to J. Allen's in August, Powell said the owners expected to open sometime last fall. But back taxes owed on the license by the previous owners had to be resolved, according to Powell, delaying the process.
"There was several months of working that out," Powell said. "Less than a week before Christmas, the liquor license transfer went through [with the state] and that's when we resumed renovations."