The Barn Kitchen & Bar: Williams Inn opens new restaurant with new look, menu
WILLIAMSTOWN — Local farms inspired the architecture of the newly opened Williams Inn, and now, they are inspiring and shaping the menu of The Barn, its full-service restaurant.
"Farm-to-table. Locally inspired. Approachable," is how General Manager Kevin Hurley, when asked, describes The Barn's menus. After all, he points out, the menus are filled with familiar New England classics prepared with as many locally-sourced products as possible.
"It's a farm-to-table menu, full of fresh ingredients that are cooked properly and simply," Executive Chef Kevin DeMarco said during a recent interview at the 64-room hotel on the corner of Spring and Latham streets. "I want the ingredients to speak for themselves."
Open to the public, The Barn seats 62 and offers a main dining area with a lounge and bar area. Patio seating and two private dining areas are also available. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and is developing a brunch menu.
One goal, Hurley said, is to make local residents feel at home when they visit the restaurant.
"The food is sophisticated and well-prepared, but comforting and recognizable at the same time," he said. "We want people to feel comfortable here, whether they are grabbing a drink and a small bite in the bar and lounge, enjoying a night out or celebrating a birthday or anniversary with us."
The Barn, named to reflect the structure that houses it, shares the 58,000-square-foot hotel's design concept — a contemporary New England farmhouse-inspired decor that blends seamlessly with modern technology and conveniences.
To keep the menu's offerings full of locally sourced ingredients, the hotel works in close collaboration with Marty's Local (a food distributor partnered with 70 farms in the Berkshires, Pioneer Valley, Hudson Valley of New York and Vermont) to source its food products, as well as with Red Shirt Farm in Lanesborough, Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown, Kitchen Garden Farm in Sunderland, R&G Cheese Makers in Troy, N.Y.; Maplebrook Farm, Mighty Food Farm and Misty Knoll Farms in Vermont.
Working with local farms and distributors allows the menu to reflect the season and seasonal produce offerings.
"The way we've built the menu, there are certain ingredients that change out daily. What the farms bring to us is what shows up on the plate," DeMarco said.
This, he said, will allow diners who frequent the restaurant on a regular basis to continually experience dishes in a new way.
"We want to give people a reason to keep coming back to the same spot," Hurley said, adding that although the menu will rotate items out on a seasonal basis, there will be core menu items, such as burgers and steaks, that are always available. The menu also includes several vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free choices.
Currently, the menus, DeMarco said, are filled with lighter sandwiches and salads — lobster roll, smoked salmon, pressed wild mushroom or barbecue turkey sandwiches — that will change out as the cooler temperatures arrive.
"We'll add in more braised items, fresh pastas and ravioli," he said. "Our clam chowder, which is currently a Rhode Island-style [clear broth] clam chowder, will become a New England clam chowder with the cream base."
Being able to work with local farmers and producers, as well as shape a seasonal menu, are a few of the things that drew the executive chef to join the hotel's leadership team.
"It's a great opportunity to be somewhere other than Rhode Island-market, where there's a lot of focus on seafood," DeMarco said. "It's also an opportunity to work at a brand new, beautiful property."
DeMarco joined the Williams Inn team from the Newport Restaurant Group in Newport, R.I., where he was chef de tournant at Castle Hill Inn.
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