New Restaurant

Post. Eatery & Bar in Lee serves delicious, nutritious comfort foods

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LEE — The food has to be unprocessed and organic. Period.

It has to be made-from-scratch delicious. Period.

And it has to invoke memories of your mama's cooking. Period.

At least, that's how it has to be at "Post. Eatery & Bar," a new eatery and bar in Lee off Main, at 5 Railroad St. Chef/owner Danielle Dragonetti is a woman who likes to put a fine point on things.

Visiting the cafe on a recent weekday afternoon, Dragonetti, 33, spoke passionately about her interest in food sourcing and preparation, her disdain for foods so over-processed they lack nutritional value and why she was so excited to open the perfect-sized restaurant. With about 10 tables and a small bar, Dragonetti can be chef/owner and manager. She has six employees: waiters and bartenders.

"Small equals integrity. Period," Dragonetti said. "I am everything here — soup to nuts, it's all me."

And why Lee?

"It's my favorite town in the Berkshires," she said. "Its community is present year-round."

Like the struggling musician or tortured geniuses, the perfectionist chef has become a trope, but Dragonetti and her food break that mold while retaining the high standards customers crave in their meals. Part of her culinary mission is to show people how great it tastes and how good it feels to eat fresh. But before you get the wrong idea, Post is not a health food restaurant — it's a "real" food restaurant.

"Bleached flour, refined sugar — it's food that's devoid of nutrients," she said. The food is "rendered until your body doesn't know what to do with it. Between the stabilizers, sugar and preservatives it's not real food anymore."

Post features a variety of comfort foods made from fresh, local ingredients: sandwiches, salads, pizza, pasta and brunch on Sundays. One of Dragonetti's favorite items is the Crimini Sandwich made with sauteed mushrooms, artichoke, caramelized onions, Fontina cheese and basil aioli. A customer favorite is the "Tachos" — nachos with potato tots instead of corn chips. Served in black and white checkered paper, crispy spuds are smothered in grilled onions, jalapenos, cheddar, black beans and sour cream.

"Real food doesn't have to be bland — it's not a crudite platter," she said. "People associate eating healthy with bland, but it doesn't have to be that way."

Post was designed and decorated by Dragonetti and reflects her interests. The previous business in the space was Pho Saigon. Dragonetti warmed up the pale walls with brown wood and mismatched door handles are used for coat and purse hooks. One wall gleams with white subway tile behind a formal painting of puppies.

The chairs match the wooden tables, which each hold glasses, black cloth napkins for two, a small flower in a vase and a pink-salt salt and pepper grinder.

This is the Berkshire native's third local business. She ran a whole foods market and Spoon in Lenox. Post, Dragonetti said, refers to the next chapter as in, post-war or post-modernism. It's a nice coincidence that the restaurant is next to the town's Post Office.

"It's been well-received," Dragonetti said of Post. "I am extremely flattered."

Kristin Palpini can be reached at kpalpini@berkshireagle.com, @kristinpalpini, 413-629-4621.




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