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Judie’s in Amherst to add room for ‘paint-and-sip’ events

AMHERST — A downtown restaurant best known for its popovers will soon be adding a room where customers can drink a glass of wine while painting their own masterpieces.

Judie’s Restaurant at 51 North Pleasant St. is taking over the 650-square-foot space in the attached Boltwood Place building most recently occupied by Scandihoovians, a jewelry and clothing store, which closed at the end of July.

David Williams, a partner in the restaurant and Archipelago Investments, which constructed the mixed-use Boltwood Place, told the Select Board Monday that Judie’s will use the former retail shop as a function room. The idea, Williams said, is to have a place within the restaurant that can act as an art center and meet the growing popularity of “paint-and-sip” events.

Williams said there will be evenings when an artist will be on hand to lead several people in creating art . They will leave the restaurant with a completed painting.

Both Art Alive on South Pleasant Street and Amherst Brewing Co. on University Drive have held similar events.

The Select Board voted unanimously to amend the liquor license so that the Boltwood Place space can be used by Judie’s.

Kristi Bodin, an attorney with Seewald, Jankowski & Spencer, said the vote was required by the state’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission. The food and drink served in the function room will be brought from the main restaurant, and waitstaff there will be trained in serving alcohol, Bodin said.

Select Board Chairman Aaron Hayden said he appreciates that an Amherst business is catering to a clientele older than most college students.

“It’s good there’s going to be grown-up entertainment in town,” Hayden said.

Williams said the function room will begin holding events in late September.

Judie’s, which opened in 1977, last expanded in 2007, when it took over space formerly used by Barselotti’s, a longtime bar. That increased the restaurant’s capacity from 93 to 160 customers.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.

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