Cap'N Mac's: Nudel's summer pop-up offers 'playful, creative' American take-out

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LENOX — Nudel in Lenox is turning over a new leaf this summer — turning into a pop-up, take-out restaurant, named Cap 'N Mac's.

"The long and short of it is — with the town of Lenox and the COVID-19 restrictions — there was no COVID-friendly option to reopening Nudel," Bjorn Somlo, the owner of the restaurant for 11 years, said in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon.

Somlo temporarily turned the reins over Thursday to Cap'N Mac's chef Ryan "Mac" McIntyre and line cook Chris Boudrow, both of whom worked as part of Nudel's kitchen team prior to the COVID-19 shutdown. The pair have taken over the restaurant and its menu for the summer, while he works on other projects.

"The summer pop-up is going to be colorful, easy, playful and fun," Somlo said, adding that customers shouldn't expect to see him at the restaurant. "It's going to take advantage of in-town parks in response to the many summer cancellations, and to make sure tourists know there is more to Lenox than just Tanglewood and other summer events. Lenox, without Tanglewood, is still a blast."

The town has added pavilions around the downtown, he said, including one in the parking lot next door to Cap'N Mac's. That's in addition to filling the town's parks with picnic tables and providing grassy knolls with additional seating. A recent change to the town's open container law, allowing consumption on town property, not only helped expand outdoor dining options but is allowing the restaurant to sell alcohol as well.

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Cap 'N Mac's will offer "playful, creative American food, made more fast-food friendly," he said. "The idea behind Cap 'N Mac's is to be healthy, safe. It's all take-away, that way there can be social distancing."

Customers can come in the front door or call ahead to place their orders for pick up. With no onsite seating, patrons are welcome to bring their orders home or to enjoy it at one of the many new outdoor spaces.

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Menu offerings range in price from $9 to $20, with sides priced at $5 each. Featured menu items include Big Shrimps Gumbo with andouille sausage and jasmine rice; The Maitake Roll with shredded lettuce and a malt aioli sauce; curried cauliflower with spiced yogurt, jasmine rice and naan; Fried Skate "Banh Mi" with lemon grass aioli and pickles, a charred broccoli and cabbage salad, grilled bratwurst, and chili-rubbed brisket tacos. The menu can be found at nudelrestaurant.com.

"It's fun and it's going to taste awesome," Somlo said.

Those who frequent Nudel will notice a major makeover has taken place not only in the kitchen, but in the restaurant as well.

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In preparing for the restaurant's transformation, Somlo enlisted the help of Good Bites & Glass Pints from Lee — bloggers Ally Voner, a food photographer and marketing specialist, and Chris Boudrow, an editor and designer. They also will have a role in the operation of the pop-up restaurant.

The transition to the pop-up involved removing all the tables and chairs in the restaurant, painting the interior and adding lots of signage.

"They changed the color and texture of the restaurant, " Somlo said. "They're a really talented duo and did an awesome job."

Cap'N Mac's is open noon to 8 p.m., Thursday through Saturday.

"We're running the schedule with the staff's safety in mind as well," Somlo said. "We're looking to embrace summer and find smiles wherever we can. We hope everyone is being kind to one another."


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