WAM Theatre: How did you come to open No. Six Depot?
Lisa Landry: My husband, Flavio Lichtenthal, was working as the head of food service at Gould Farm when he started getting interested in coffee and bought an old roaster. He started roasting his own and apprenticing with other roasters to learn the trade. From that time forward we saved our pennies and kept our eyes open for the perfect spot to start our own roastery and café. When the old West Stockbridge train station came on the market we pounced, and No. Six Depot Roastery and Café opened in July of 2013.
WAM: Why did you choose West Stockbridge?
Lisa: We loved that it is a small town with lots of family-run businesses and we really felt we could make a difference there. The saying is that nobody goes to West Stockbridge but everybody goes through it. We wanted to give them a reason to stop. The town is right on the state line and about a third of our clientele come from New York State. The location works well for us.
WAM: You have a successful wholesale business, selling coffees, teas, and salt, why did you want to expand and open both a café and a gallery space?
Lisa: Flavio comes from Argentina and I had lived for a time in Italy, both of which have strong café cultures, so coffee and community are very intertwined in our minds. Here in the USA we can fit all our entertainment into our big houses and yards, but in other countries living quarters are small and the coffee houses serve as a town’s cultural center where you can enjoy great art and conversation for the price of a cup of coffee. It felt intrinsic to our culture of coffee to create a space to display art and host performances.
And that’s how WAM’s Fresh Takes Play Reading Series found a home at No. Six Depot?
Yes, WAM actually approached us and asked if we’d consider hosting the series. We had acquired the gallery space and opened it in October of 2013, and we started hosting music, art exhibits, tastings, and classes, but theatre wasn’t something we could just whip up on our own. So when presented with an opportunity to partner with such a great theatre company, led by such a dynamic woman, we were just thrilled to add Fresh Takes to our roster of events.
We love the WAM audience! In the beginning, when we had no advertising budget, we pondered how people would find us. There is the nostalgia angle for people who remember train travel, but we wanted to offer lots of interesting things for people to do here and really serve the community. When people come for a WAM Fresh Takes Reading they come back to eat or shop or attend another event which we’ve promoted in our newsletter. You’ve helped put us on the map, and we get to offer our patrons thought-provoking plays through WAM’s good efforts.
WAM: Our first Fresh Takes season started in the spring of 2014…
Lisa: And so we began hosting WAM in the very first year of our gallery space being open. Everyone on the WAM Team is so organized and enthusiastic – a joy to work with. It is hard to believe this is the fourth season already! We are excited to welcome you back to the gallery on March 12.
WAM: Our audiences love to buy food and drink from the Café to enjoy during the Fresh Takes Readings. Tell us about your menu.
Lisa: We work to keep our menu very simple. We do things we think are really delicious and we do them well. Our bacon and eggs are the best, people travel a long way to enjoy them. And we have a new North African egg dish, Eggs Marrakesh, baked with tomato, cumin, and peppers. We do a panini with slow roast pork that we call a porcetta that is tender and flavorful. Last year a foreign travel correspondent from The Guardian chose our Chicken Machado the Best Travel Find of 2016!
WAM: What does the future hold for No. Six Depot?
Lisa: When we first bought the train station we rented out lots of spaces in the building, but we’ve needed to take them back little by little as our businesses grew and now we occupy the whole bottom floor. We just bought a second roaster with greater capacity, and we have a new space for packaging and wholesale. We have wholesale clients in New York City and Boston who are really busy during the Berkshires’ slow month, so we can employ our core staff year round, which feels really good. Then in the summer things really ramp up for us and we hire students for extra help. We do the food and bar for Jacob’s Pillow, the Great Barrington Farmers’ Market, and have cart on the lawn at Tanglewood. And we have outdoor dining here at the Café.
This coming May there is a new sculpture park opening in West Stockbridge that is within easy walking distance of downtown, so we expect to see an increase in business from that.More info about Fresh Takes