NORTH ADAMS — A new pop-up restaurant at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art brings sandwiches, soups and salads every Thursday to Courtyard A.
And pickles too. “There will always be pickles,” said Jenny Klowden, one half of the team behind the Door Prize.
Klowden and Bryan “Swifty” Josephs opened Door Prize on February 10 and will continue to “pop-up” every Thursday, 3-7:30 p.m., through March 31 in the restaurant’s kitchen in the formerly rented space by Gramercy Bistro and the last used by Chama Mama.
Food can be ordered online at doorpricenama.com or in person at Bright Ideas Brewing and can be picked up at the brewery.
The married couple, who moved to North Adams from California during the pandemic, aim to “take the California sensibility and apply it to everything the Berkshires have to offer,” Klowden said. “We are thrilled to finally be able to cook.”
The fare is “kind of a celebration of Americana,” Josephs said. rotating menu will celebrate a different city or region of the country each week.
An Indiana Jones film, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” was showing at the Bright Ideas Brewery on opening night of the Door Prize, so “we thought we’d start with Indiana,” Josephs said. They had, among other options, Indiana pork tenderloin sandwiches and a beer dip made with Bright Ideas Brewing beer.
They plan to always have vegan and gluten-free options, and they work with some local farms. Farm-to-table food may be high-end, Josephs said, but they want to make it accessible.
“It can be a big, messy sandwich,” he said.
At Door Prize, Josephs is the chef and Klowden is the general manager and pastry chef. Klowden grew up cooking in her parents’ Greek restaurant in California.
“I’ve been in the restaurant business since I was 9 years old,” she said.
From working at a deli to washing dishes on the night shift, Josephs did “all the kitchen work you can imagine.”
The name Door Prize is inspired by a John Prine song, “In Spite of Ourselves,” which the couple danced to at their 2018 wedding. “It’s a song about love and happiness no matter what. it happens because, ‘honey, we’re the big door prize,’ they explain on Door prize website.
A friend who lives in Adams and who originally introduced the couple had sent them listings of homes in North Adams while they lived in Oakland, Calif., they said. After the pandemic hit and they were both laid off, they decided to take a trip across the country and camp in national parks. They remember stopping in North Adams and having a barbecue and drinking beer in the courtyard of the Mass MoCA and they felt drawn to the area.
The couple want to open a restaurant, and in North Adams, that goal appears to be within reach, they said.
“We’re looking to eventually open a brick-and-mortar restaurant,” Josephs said. They hope to later open Door Prize in a permanent location in downtown North Adams.
There is some risk in opening downtown, Josephs said, but “it seems like an exciting time in downtown North Adams.”
Klowden sees her future brick-and-mortar restaurant as “a tap room with really great food,” she said.
“We envision the restaurant as a sort of gathering place,” Josephs said.