NORTH ADAMS — A new pop-up restaurant at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art is bringing sandwiches, soups and salads every Thursday to Courtyard A.
And pickles, too. "There will always be pickles," said Jenny Klowden, one half of the team behind the Door Prize.
Klowden and Bryan “Swifty” Josephs opened Door Prize on Feb. 10 and will continue to "pop-up" every Thursday, 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., through March 31 in the restaurant kitchen in space formerly leased by Gramercy Bistro and last used by Chama Mama.
Food can be ordered online at doorprizenama.com or in person at Bright Ideas Brewing and can be picked up at the brewery.
The married couple, who moved to North Adams from California during the pandemic, aims to "take California sensibility and apply it to everything the Berkshires has to offer,” Klowden said. "We're excited to finally get cooking.”
The fare is “kind of a celebration of Americana," Josephs said. A rotating menu will celebrate a different city or region of the country each week.
An Indiana Jones movie, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," was showing at Bright Ideas Brewery on Door Prize's opening night, so “we thought we’d start with Indiana,” Josephs said. They had, among other options, Indiana pork tenderloin sandwiches and a beer dip made with Bright Ideas Brewing beer.
They plan to always have vegan and gluten-free options, and they are working with some local farms. Farm-to-table food can be upscale, Josephs said, but they want to make it accessible.
“It can be a big messy sandwich,” he said.
At Door Prize, Josephs is the chef and Klowden is the general manager and pastry chef. Klowden grew up baking in her parents' Greek restaurant in California.
"I've been in the restaurant business since I was 9,” she said.
From working at a deli to washing dishes on the night shift, Josephs has done “every kitchen job you could imagine."
The name Door Prize is inspired by a John Prine song, "In Spite of Ourselves," which the couple danced to at their wedding in 2018. "It’s a song about love and being happy no matter what because, 'honey, we’re the big door prize,'" they explain on Door Prize's website.
A friend who lives in Adams and originally introduced the couple, had been sending them listings for houses in North Adams while they lived in Oakland, Calif., they said. After the pandemic struck and they were both laid off, they decided to take a cross country trip and camp in national parks. They remember stopping in North Adams and eating barbecue and drinking beer in the Mass MoCA courtyard and they felt drawn to the area.
The couple wants to open a restaurant, and in North Adams, that goal feels like it's in reach, they said.
“We are looking to eventually open a brick-and-mortar restaurant," Josephs said. They hope to later open Door Prize in a permanent location in downtown North Adams.
There is some risk to opening downtown, Josephs said, but “it seems like an exciting time in downtown North Adams."
Klowden sees their future brick-and-mortar restaurant as “a tap room with really excellent food," she said.
“We envision the restaurant as being a gathering place of sorts," Josephs said.