Former Reva Cafe owner to open catering business at Berkshire Organics in Dalton
DALTON -- The owner of the former Cafe Reva, a popular eatery on Tyler Street, is re-entering the food service business, but with a different twist.
Aura Whitman, of Cheshire, is planning to open a catering/prepared foods business called "Naturally Catering and Takeout" in the building occupied by Berkshire Organics on Dalton Division Road.
The new business is expected to open by April, said Berkshire Organics' co-owner Aleisha Gibbons. It is one of three small food-related businesses that Berkshire Organics is planning to open in the space formerly occupied by Burgner's Market, which closed in April 2013. The two others businesses will feature a baker, and possibly a butcher.
The entire building, which was sold in December, will be known as Berkshire Organics Market when the project is completed because all of the firms will be part of Berkshire Organics, Gibbons said.
Berkshire Organics occupies more than half of that building's space, and Gibbons said she is planning to take down the wall between her store and the former Burgner's Market. Plans call for a fourth new business to open inside of Berkshire Organics' current space.
Naturally Catering and Takeout will be located in an area of the former market that contains a kitchen, Gibbons said. Whitman said she will be offering breakfast, lunch and dinner items prepared for takeout only. Due to permitting issues, tables and chairs will not be provided, at least initially, Gibbons said.
Whitman said the menu will contain some items that were available at Cafe Reva, and others that were not.
"The menu is going to vary," she said. "We'll be doing some new stuff. It will be kind of fun to get to see what kinds of produce I can utilize."
She said her food will come from the same products that Berkshire Organics already sells.
"It will be farm fresh stuff that people can take home with them," Whitman said.
Cafe Reva, a compact breakfast and lunch spot that sold gourmet-caliber foods in a diner-style atmosphere, closed in September after the restaurant's kitchen range hood system and fire suppression system were found to be out of compliance by the Pittsfield Fire Department. Cafe Reva was open for 11 years.
Whitman leased the space formerly occupied by Cafe Reva on Tyler Street, but told The Eagle in September that her landlord declined to help her invest in bringing the equipment up to code, which forced her to close the restaurant. The Tyler Street building is owned by The Heights Real Estate Co. of New York City.
"I enjoyed my time at Cafe Reva thoroughly but this is just something different," she said. "You're still in the same stadium, but just changing your seats a little bit.
"After the restaurant closed it took about two weeks of getting used to it," Whitman said. "But I realized that after working like this for almost 11 years it's OK to slow down a little bit.
"I don't have the grind of the restaurant," she added, "and it fits better into my schedule."
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