By George Harvey
The Peoples Pint is a restaurant and brew-pub on Federal Street, in Greenfield, Massachusetts. It is definitely a different sort of place to eat. It gives the feeling of being an upscale brew-pub that takes humorous pride in being subtly funky, but there is more to it than that. Discerning customers quickly find differences from other establishments, but it is hard to imagine anyone finding them all.
Of course, the restaurant’s name gives away a tradition of brewing beer. It is produced in their own brewery, and is a matter of much pride. The brewery is not on the restaurant premises, and has been at another location in Greenfield for ten years. Usually, there are a dozen or so types available bottled and two on draft from low-pressure hand-operated taps. Beer, however, is just the start of a lovely story.
Alden Booth, who runs the People’s Pint with his wife, Lissa Greenough, says the restaurant’s approach to food sets it apart from others in several ways. He says, “Our whole philosophy is to build the meal around the veggies.” Considering this, it may be unsurprisingly that some customers habitually think of it as a vegetarian restaurant. But for those of us who really do like meat, it means a different eating experience in which the meat does not dominate the meal. Instead, it is one item among many, all of which are planned for a combination of culinary pleasure and nutrition.
Menu items that are worth mention include great salads, burritos, spicy peanut noodles, green Thai curry with chicken or tofu, “mac & cheese,” and local, grass-fed beef. I can tell you I have had burgers made with beef, turkey, and salmon, and they are all hard to beat. Veggie burgers are also available, and I really should try one.
The food has to be local and fresh, if at all possible. Some foods people like are not available when the only way to get them is to bring them in from afar. For example tomatoes are only served when they are locally available and fresh, a very few months each year. Those people who really yearn for a tomato from the Yucatan, picked green for long-distance shipping, to be served hard and flavorless, are usually delightfully surprised to discover that a great salad can be made without them.
Alden and Lissa have a farm with two greenhouses, where much of the food is grown, some of it comes from gardens of employees. Alden says, “The squash you are eating at dinner may have been picked that same morning. You can’t get food much fresher than that.”
The People’s Pint has followed an aggressive policies for many years on dealing with waste. All of the food scraps are composted. All of the paper, glass, metal, and plastic (of which there is very little) is recycled. Alden says that in the time the restaurant has run, there has never been more than one trash can of waste generated on even the busiest of days. For a restaurant, with a lot of people going through, that says a lot.
The restaurant is socially engaged. Since 2003, they have been very active in promoting bicycling, donating 25% of the profits from their Training Wheels IPA to MassBike, and giving gift certificates to people who bike instead of driving cars. They offer gift certificates to those who switch from disposable diapers to use a linen and diaper service. They accept R Credits, a local currency.
The People’s Pint is on Federal Street in Greenfield. The phone number is (413)773-0333, and the web site is www.thepeoplespint.com.