A popular downtown Pittsfield bar has announced plans to reopen as a ramen restaurant and expand into the space next door.

According to iBerkshires.com, Thistle & Mirth co-owner Austin Oliver has plans to expand into the space adjacent to the bar's current upper West St. location, which was previously home to Berkshire Print Shop.

Part of the expansion will include converting the bar into a restaurant serving ramen, a popular Japanese noodle soup. Traditionally, the soup consists of Chinese wheat noodles served in a meat or fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings like sliced pork, nori, menma, egg, and scallions, although there are countless variations.

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Ramen has gained popularity across the U.S. over the past decade with specialty restaurants popping up everywhere in larger cities and slowly bleeding into more suburban and rural areas. With the growth of foodie culture and the exposure to a variety of international cuisines through digital channels, consumers are becoming accustomed to more culinary diversity.

Thistle & Mirth, which previously featured craft beer and certain craft spirits, has been closed since the statewide lockdown last March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bars that only serve alcohol without food are still not permitted to operate under Gov. Baker's phased reopening plan. Oliver said he and partner Joab Bowman had been floating around the idea of expanding previous to the pandemic.

The online periodical reports that current plans have Thistle & Mirth slated to reopen this spring and will serve food and drinks Tuesday through Saturday offering dine-in and take-out and lunch in the future.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced restaurants and bars across the world to pivot, sometimes every few weeks, in order to survive.


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