Brooklyn's Best brings a taste of Italy to downtown Pittsfield
PITTSFIELD — There have been a lot of comparisons drawn lately between the city of Pittsfield and New York's City's eclectic borough of Brooklyn.
Due to downtown Pittsfield's cultural resurgence, the city has been compared definitively to the borough by the Financial Times ("The Brooklyn of the Berkshires"), and not so definitively ("The Brooklyn of the Berkshires?") by Scribbyworld, a local blog.
Diners also can't resist comparing the two.
"Are we in Brooklyn? City panache and killer food," was the title of a review that someone posted on TripAdvisor in June following a meal at Eat on North on North Street.
Well, those comparisons are sure to keep coming. Another little piece of Brooklyn has recently arrived in the Berkshires. Frank Savino, an entrepreneur with Brooklyn roots known professionally as Frank Maurice, recently opened Brooklyn's Best, an Italian delicatessen at 48A North St.
Due to the size of his space, which Maurice describes as "real intimate," Brooklyn's Best is providing small quality runs of "really nice authentic foods" that use locally sourced ingredients and come with a "little bit of New York swagger," he said.
Who provides the swagger?
"Me," said Maurice, who is originally from the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, and speaks with an inflection that would be familiar to people who are from there.
"I say that because I'm a little more outgoing with food," he said. "I like it big. I like it loud. You combine all the good ingredients that are up here (in the Berkshires) with some of the things through my travels and my experience," he said.
Maurice has been a full-time resident of the Berkshires for 10 years, and a part-timer for 25. Before opening Brooklyn's Best, Maurice said he worked as a chef and caterer in the Berkshires.
He has worked extensively in food related businesses and nightclubs in both the New York City metropolitan area and in Washington D.C. All of those experiences, both locally and out of the area, are reflected in Brooklyn's Best food.
"Here's a perfect example, our peppers and onions," Maurice said. "They're local. They're like candy. And we use that, and we infuse that with our homemade sausage, which isn't local. It's a recipe that's been going on for most of a good century.
"We combine a lot of authenticity and family types of things," he added. He sees himself as "someone who is just a vessel that is carrying that on."
Besides authentic, Maurice's food is colorful, too. He calls one sandwich, "the mile-high pastrami" due to its girth.
Then there's "The Big Carmine," a roasted loin of pork that Savino butterflies then rolls with Italian cold cuts.
"That's awesome," Maurice said.
Maurice, who has one employee besides himself, said he changes the menu every day. One daily menu included specials such as hot or sweet Italian sausage marinara over pasta for $14, and local organic musk melon and prosciutto for $5.
Brooklyn's Best doesn't have all of the items that a typical Italian deli might carry.
"I would characterize myself more as an Italian eatery," Maurice said — but it also offers desserts like cannoli, Italian cookies, sfogliatelle and Genovese.
"Our philosophy has been very well received," he said, "and the support has been overwhelming."
Contact Tony Dobrowolski at 413 496-6224.
If you go ...
What: Brooklyn's Best Italian delicatessen
Where: 48A North St., Pittsfield
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; weekends by appointment
On the web: www.facebook.com/brklynsbest
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