Japan has landed on North St.

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PITTSFIELD -- A new restaurant has become the latest contributor to the North Street renaissance.

Shiro Lounge, offering sushi and Japanese cuisine, opened Dec. 23 directly across the street from the new Beacon Cinema.

Owner Harry Yu opened the Shiro Sushi and Hibachi in Great Barrington about 10 years ago and has earned a solid reputation and a widespread network of loyal customers. At the time, he said Tuesday night in his new eatery, North Street in Pittsfield was on the decline, with little foot traffic and many vacant storefronts.

But in the last few years, he said, he has seen promising developments rippling through the town.

"For the past few years it seems like good things have been happening," Yu said. "First there was the opening of the restored Colonial, then the Barrington Stage Company moved in. Then we heard a movie theater was opening. Now, every time you drive down North Street, something is happening."

He credits Third Thursdays for bringing in a lot of people, and said that when he was exploring the idea, the promise of the Beacon Cinema soon to open across the street from his proposed new location cinched the deal for him.

"I would say the movie theater is a big draw," Yu said. "It's like I'm back in the city again."

The small restaurant can seat 50 diners, and employs eight.

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It is open for both lunch and dinner, and has been getting great reactions from downtown office workers happy to have a new choice nearby, Yu noted.

The full dinner menu for Japanese cuisine entrees range from $13.95 to $25.95. The sushi menu ranges from $4.50 to $27.95, with sushi and sashimi boats available for two, three or four people. The boat for four costs $106.95.

"I brought my good reputation in South County to North County so people know they're going to get good, quality food," Yu said. "I am very confident."

In less than a week since opening, Shiro has already served about 500 dinners, "and that's without advertising," he noted.

Yu acknowledged that Jae's Spice offers a sushi menu just down the street, but maintained that the two are not in direct competition because Jae's is more of an "Asian fusion" menu, while Shiro is more strictly Japanese cuisine.

Matt Scarafoni brought his wife and son to Shiro for dinner Tuesday night.

"We're just perfectly thrilled that this place is open now," Scarafoni said. "We try to eat out on North Street once a week, and this place has got everything you could want."

And with two nice North Street restaurants that feature sushi, he added, "look out Lenox, Pittsfield is here."

To reach Scott Stafford: sstafford@berkshireeagle.com or (413) 496-6241.


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