When John McNinch sold the Olde Heritage Tavern to Lenox, he had a new idea for his next business: to do it with his son Tucker.
And from that concept was born the 101 Restaurant & Bar, which operates out of the Holiday Inn at 1 West St. in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
“Tucker and I decided to start a business together after the sale of the Legacy,” wrote John McNinch in an email. “We knew it would be in the hospitality industry, but we weren’t sure about the exact business.
“After missing a few different items we decided to form a Restaurant Group and operate and review many restaurants in Berkshire County. This opportunity presented itself and we thought it would be a great starting point for our business.
“101 Restaurant & Bar is the first restaurant of what we hope will be many under the McNinch Restaurant Group.”
Said Tucker McNinch: “101 is a restaurant owned by a father / son named after a Dalmatian sweetheart. [the McNinches have one named Taje]. “
John McNinch, who grew up at the Eastover resort (in the Lenox area), said “the hospitality industry is in my blood.” He moved to the Boston area and worked there in restaurants, before ending up working for the famous Legal Seafoods.
He said he was drawn to this area “for a girl, married her and then returned to Lenox to start a family.”
He also bought in 2000 what he described as a “run down dive bar” and “created a restaurant that locals and tourists alike could enjoy.”
He said he had built The Olde Heritage Tavern “in a great location, and our staff (who are like our family) are still there. What we were known for at The Heritage was our people. This is what we bring to 101 Restaurant & Bar, a staff who work to make everyone’s experience a pleasure.
Restaurant 101 is open daily, serves all three meals on a varied schedule, and has a full bar.
John McNinch said 101’s menu is unique to the area. He called it “southern inspiration” and said there was something for everyone.
“A lot of people expected a menu similar to our previous menu,” he said. “There are some overlapping elements, but the new elements are all amazing: shrimp and oatmeal, chicken and meatballs and so much more. “
And there’s that extra ingredient the McNinches hope to inspire customers even if it’s not on the menu.
“Our employee-centric approach also sets us apart,” said John McNinch. “We are trying to create careers for our employees.”
The two McNinches touted their training partnerships with Taconic High School and Berkshire Community College, where they inspire students to take an interest in the culinary arts and develop them for a career. The McNinches also say they have one of the few restaurants that offer health insurance benefits and 401k correspondence to employees.
“We are also focusing our program on helping our staff to improve their skills so that they can progress in the industry towards better paying jobs: dishwashers in training to become cooks, cooks for chefs, and so on. Said Tucker McNinch. “We want to help our people build careers in the industry instead of just having jobs in the industry.
“We work to cultivate an environment where we can have great, long-term staff who are the best in the business. On top of that, mine and my father’s hands-on approach to running a business gives our restaurants a very personal touch.