A Sports Bar, The Press Box, Takes Over Burger’s Old Space
Perhaps it’s a sign of our downwardly mobile times. Perhaps it’s just Pittsfield shaking off a designer polo that never really fit. In any event, the shrewd professionals behind Jae’s Spice recently bought Burger from the same folks who sold them Spice a year ago, and the new owners have knocked it down a peg or two. No more upmarket-family-restaurant pretensions, no more $14.99 wagyu beef burgers, no more milkshake-like cocktails. In their stead, $2 beers in a can (blasts from the past like Schlitz and Pabst Blue Ribbon), a more-than-decent-if-un-exotic-burger, a pool table, a 24-stool bar, and seven televisions on which to catch any game cable t.v. coughs up. No dessert. No wine by the bottle. No frills. A throwback? Maybe. The place even takes its name, The Press Box, from an old neighborhood restaurant, now long-gone but once a Pittsfield institution. Are the new owners sending a signal to “real” Pittsfieldians that its finally safe to come in? Whether that was their intention or not, last weekend’s crowds suggest that the message got through.
Baseball cards as coasters and a staff wearing referees’ stripes reinforce the sports-bar theme, as does the wings-and-burgers menu—plus salads that even Sasha and Malia might not mind. My Chopped Salad with Chicken, $7.95, was so pale, the First Daughters could never accuse it of being the dreaded “green.” But only a fool such as I would order a salad in a joint like this. The Press Box Burger ($7.95) is more to the point and more than respectable—no gray whatsoever, just a dark, crispy grilled exterior with uniformly pink meat throughout. Best of all, key to any successful burger, a bun with sufficient character to hold up to the last bite. Like all optional additions, the grilled onions are an extra 99 cents—maybe just a penny shy of what anyplace else would charge, but a nice touch, nonetheless.
The Press Box
297 North Street; 413.997.4646
Monday - Saturday 11:30 a.m.- 11 p.m.
Closed Sundays until Sunday sports season kicks back in