A Welcome Tweak: No. Six Depot Roastery and Café
By Elizabeth Goldfarb Richardson
Living in this region is a joy a minute (OK a joy an hour), but I, or more often husband Edgar, sometimes tire of all the driving. The need for as many delectable coffee destinations as possible is something we both can appreciate while schlepping to one fab event or friend after another. The town of Hudson, for instance, offers a café a block to help you with the steep climb up its main thoroughfare, Warren Street. (Going down it is easy, with gravity propelling you forward towards the river, sort of like the Guggenheim Museum.) But quite frankly both of us need stimulants just to get there. Also we know many people in southern Berkshire County, and being from the north, it feels like a Homeric journey just to meet up. (What can I say, we’re no spring chickens.)
To the rescue is No. Six Depot Roastery and Café, strategically located in the old train station of West Stockbridge. No. Six, it turns out, is just what Dr. Feelgood ordered: a serious coffee and noshing joint, with a vintage German-built, old-school Probat hand-roasting machine, lovingly restored, and a Victoria Arduino espresso machine — the classic that graces the best coffee bars in Europe. As all of the machinery suggests, the coffee here is truly delectable: I didn’t even need to reach into my pocketbook for my stash of Splenda, and didn’t request cream, wanting to experience the rich coffee flavors as au natural as possible.
Owners and entrepreneurs Lisa Landry and Flavio Lichtenthal (who hails from Argentina) love to vacation Al Exigente style, traveling to farms all over the world to find the highest quality coffee beans. If you are interested, the owners and employees will knowledgeably explain the farming techniques, roasting processes, and blend differences, generously offering tastes to anyone who asks. There are 12 blends of coffee with at least six ready-to-pour carafes featuring decaf, light, medium, and strong blends, plus espresso. If you want to try a coffee on the shelf it can be ordered as well, which they will promptly ground and drip (wash) for you.
In addition to the coffees, there are a variety of whole-leaf teas to choose from: 18 blends (including herbs, green, black, oolong, pu-erh, and pou-chong), carefully selected by Lisa for optimum flavor and potency and served iced or hot. The retail part of the café sells their coffee and teas for home brewing, as well as 10 kinds of international artisanal salts that are naturally pure, hand made, and come in many colors and flavors.
There’s breakfast and lunch as well, all created by Chef Flavio, who has decades of experience at places like Carmine’s on NYC’s Upper West Side and Park Slope’s Venetian-style Al di Là. Until recently, Flavio was the main chef and teacher at Gould Farm in Monterey (from which he has brought many of the gracious servers and barristas). Breakfasts offer a delicious array of croissants, pain en chocolat, and other home baked goods as well as waffles, eggs and grilled bread, and their own granola. For lunch his paninis are grilled to perfection and include choices such as Civito, an Argentine-style seared skirt steak with chimicurri; Porchetta, a slow-roasted pig with truffle aioli, hazelnut gremolata, and lemon-caper aioli; Arbelito, a seasonal vegetarian panini; or a 14-month aged Prosciutto di Parma and local mozzarella and/or tomato. (All are $9 each). The salads are freshly picked at local farms. I had one with a delicious vinaigrette dressing, a fried egg, and one of their special salts sprinkled on top, making it a very flavorful dish. Other interesting salad combinations are avocado, grapefruit, red onion, mint; fennel, orange, and olives; farro, hazelnut, goat cheese, and tomato; and kale, parmiggiano, lemon, garlic, and crushed red pepper ($7 each).
Right now the café, roaster, and kitchen are contained in the old restaurant part of the train station. With room to grow throughout the rest of the building, however, Lisa and Flavio have many ideas for expansion, including an art gallery, a beer and wine license, and even a monthly dinner club. A lot to look forward to and so (relatively) close to home!
No. 6 Depot Roastery and Cafe
6 Depot Street
West Stockbridge, MA
Open every day (except Tuesday) 8 a.m.—4 p.m.