The return of Blue Rock Restaurant in Shelburne Falls

Recorder Staff
Last modified: 2/4/2016 5:22:29 PM
SHELBURNE FALLS — The Blue Rock is back, and local customers love the new location on the first floor of the Salmon Falls Marketplace building at 1 Ashfield St.

The restaurant has parking, handicapped access, a big porch and a sense of spaciousness. It also gives diners sweeping views of the village. The interior seats 49. But during warm weather, the porch will seat at least 20 diners for a riverside outdoor setting.

The Blue Rock Restaurant and Bar closed its 10 Bridge St. restaurant after Columbus Day and reopened in mid-January after renovating the Salmon Falls location. They built a new kitchen, which has a cut-out window from which guests can see chef and owner Chris Ramirez at work.

“We built a new bar,” restaurant manager Holly Sonntag said. “It’s beautiful and it’s comfortable. We turned it into a ‘dining bar,’ — the top is wider, so you can fit dinner plates on it and have more room to hang out.”

The ash-and-cherry bar top was made by Buckland carpenter Justin Kasunick, with lumber from trees in his yard. He also built the bar shelves and sliding ladder.

“Chris (Ramirez) basically designed the bar that he always wanted — a tall bar with all the bottles proudly displayed,” Sonntag said. “It has a library ladder, so if someone orders a top-shelf whiskey or scotch, the bartender goes up the ladder. It’s quite a show.”

The bar has a “Steampunk” aspect to it, with a heavy rebar serving as a footrest at the bar. Metal artist John Sendelbach of Shelburne Falls created an industrial-style chandelier of coppery gears, and the metal siding along the bar. The siding is etched and is meant to get more beautiful over time, from scuff marks, as people sit at the bar.

The Blue Rock has 10 beers on tap, including a nitro line for brews such as BBC’s Nitro Stout.

Sonntag says nitro beers are “creamier and have a cascading effect that is similar to a Guinness Stout.”

The restaurant also has “flights of beer” — a tray of four five-ounce glasses of beer (5 ounces each) and a little glass, so the customer can sample four different glasses of beer at once to find that perfect glass of beer, Sonntag explained. “Also, we’re still serving our house-made infusions and the classic cocktails that everyone loves.”

Some of the drinks are served in glasses made by local glass artists, including Josh Simpson, who owns the building.

Favorite dishes from the former Blue Rock are offered, along with new fare. Old standbys include: steamed PEI (Prince Edward Island) mussels, java rubbed baby back ribs, and chili and lime-dusted sea scallops. New dishes include Vermont raised tri-tip steak, Grandma Jo’s enchiladas, Massaman vegetable & peanut curry, and a vegetarian marinated grilled cauliflower steak. There are also new salads, such as the chopped Brussels sprout salad with smoked bacon. Light bar dishes include spicy pickled farm eggs and homemade sea-salted pretzels with ale mustard.

Parking for the restaurant is on the upper level, near the Shelburne Trolley Museum tracks, with a stairway entrance leading down into the restaurant. Accessible parking is available near the restaurant entrance.

The restaurant will be adding lunch hours, Sonntag said.

During winter, the Blue Rock is open Thursday through Monday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m, closing later on Friday and Saturday night. Reservations for tables are strongly recommended. The bar does not require reservations and can seat up to 12 people.

To make reservations, call 413-625-8133, or email:

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at: or 413-772-0261, ext. 277


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