DALTON — If the new executive chef of Shire Breu-Hous at the Stationery Factory looks familiar, it's because Matt Mottor has a long culinary history in the Berkshires. 

Mottor, founder of the Berkshire Culinary Group, previously served as the executive chef at Jiminy Peak for 12 years before starting his catering business, which took over the restaurant portion of Shire Breu-Hous in December 2020.

“The menu is beer-centric” Mottor said. “I feel the people have never heard of us because we’re in the basement of the Stationery Factory.”

He added the restaurant had not been well-known for its food and service prior to the pandemic. Its owners closed the restaurant at the start of the pandemic and focused on beer production. Then, last December, the culinary group opened its main kitchen at Shire Breu-Hous and reopened the restaurant under Mottor's guidance, initially doing takeout only. In June, the restaurant reopened for dine-in service as well.

“The brewers have tweaked the brewery’s recipes and are doing a lot of New England IPAs, which are fruitier than others,” Mottor said. “They also have unique sour beers — raspberry, cranberry, guava, passionfruit.”

The brewpub features a dozen draft beers on tap, the majority being New England IPAs. The other offering vary by season, with offerings that include sour beers, pilsners, lagers, porters, stouts, farmhouse ales, kolsch and a variety of ales. The popular Townie Lager, a version of domestic light beer, is a draft menu regular.

“A lot of the beers go into the food and dishes at the restaurant,” Mottor said. “They have leftover beer and it’s recycled into the food, not dumped down the drain.”

The menu, he said, offers chicken wings that are brined in beer and garlic for three days, then smoked over pecan wood.

“We make our own smoked blue cheese dressing [for the wings], a maple bourbon sauce, Stationery buffalo sauce and a Hell-Fire Shire sauce made with Fireman’s Red Ale and brown sugar.”

The restaurant is also offering four different "Beer Macs," all made with a house-made beer-infused cheese sauce. The variations include a Buffalo Mac, Conquistador with chorizo and shrimp; Rangoon, a deconstructed crab Rangoon with seasoned crab meat and crispy won-ton shreds and a Taco Mac. The menu also features four different types of tacos including a Breuben taco, made with a corned beef braised in hops and mustard seed.

“The corned beef is cooked in hops with a pickled cabbage, that is made here, and a Thousand Island dressing made with a reduced IPA, which ties in with the hoppiness of the beef,” Mottor said.

Other tacos include the Pork and Guac taco, featuring pork smoked at the brewpub and sautéed with Mooie Milk Stout, topped with a remoulade slaw, guacamole and a beer cheese. Burgers also are on the menu, including a candy bacon burger. There also are as are family-style meals available: a Swedish meatloaf, seafood paella and chicken Parmesan. 

“The family dinners were popular as take-out dishes, so we kept them on the menu,” Mottor said.

And for that finishing touch to dinner, the restaurant offers desserts made on site by Lynn Ansetett of Monarch Bakery — peach cobbler with concord grapes, chocolate stout cake, apple crisp, lemon zest-infused cake and a flourless chocolate cake — which are available on a rotating basis.

There also are vegetarian/vegan and gluten-free meal options, although there are currently no vegan desserts offered.

“We’re focused on what an individual is looking for,” Mottor said. “ I’m happy to go out and talk to our customers and create a special dish for them.”

Mottor, who grew up in Hinsdale, began his career in the culinary field at 13, at Camp Ramaca, where he shifted from maintenance work into the kitchen.

“I thought it was kind of fun,” he said. “I did it until I was 18 and went to college.”

During and after college, he worked at Kneebones, a former restaurant in the Allendale Shopping Center in Pittsfield. “I started in the dish pit and worked my way up to cooking on the line.”

He went to Southern New Hampshire University, first earning an associate’s degree in culinary arts, then a bachelor of arts in applied science for hospitality administration.

While in college, the chef instructors urged him to compete in culinary competitions across the region, "from Boston to Maine,” in which he competed with the school team or individually, receiving awards from the American Culinary Federation. At a SkillsUSA competition, which Mottor said involves everything from “cosmetology to culinary high school and college students,” he won first place in the New Hampshire state championships and took third place in the national competition.

After earning his degree from Southern New Hampshire, Mottor spent some time working in New Hampshire and eventually returned to Kneebones in 2008, where he worked until he joined Jiminy Peak as its executive chef and food and beverage director. 

After leaving Jiminy Peak, Mottor launched the Berkshire Culinary Group, which offers restaurant consulting services, concessions, catering, banquets, pig roasts, seafood boils/bakes, personal chefs, private house parties, beer and wine dinners, game dinners and deer processing. The group also caters at the Dalton American Legion Post 155 and can host parties at both locations.