For Immediate Release
Great Barrington, MA 01230
“The Cosmic Dancer, declares Nietzsche, does not rest heavily in a single spot, but gaily, lightly, turns and leaps from one position to another. It is possible to speak from only one point at a time, but that does not invalidate the insights of the rest.” — Joseph Campbell
PRANA BAR Global Street Food Restaurant & Bar Opens in Great Barrington!
(Great Barrington, MA) – One of the Berkshire’s favorite restaurateurs, Shelly Williams, kicked-off the opening of her newest venture, Prana Bar, last Thursday to the delight of dozens of foodies. The highly anticipated hip new eatery serves an eclectic menu of what William’s describes as ‘global street food’, which draws inspiration from Asian, Spanish, Indian and several other European cultures.
Prana Bar marks Shelly William’s third culinary endeavor – she made a name for herself nearly a decade ago with her successful and bustling Haven Bakery and Café, in Lenox MA, and most recently Haven at The Pillow – a massive gastronomical hit amongst the Pillow’s diverse clientele.
Prana is the Hindu word for breath, or life-giving energy and force. “Everyone has a story of eating great food somewhere in the world,” says Williams, “a vacation to the Costa del Sol or an escape to some Mexican island and the memories we hold of those exquisite moments is what I want to create with Prana Bar. I wanted a place of comfort, of warmth and beauty – a place for us to re-experience those memories of discovering delicious and nourishing food. When my bartender Charlie Robinson suggested the name Prana – it just all came together.
Prana not only resonated with Williams, but with Heather Rose, and Kevin Sprague – the principals of Studio Two – an award-winning design and branding firm (studiotwo.com). The three worked closely together on the overall development of thePrana Bar brand and design concept building on their experience of working with Haven Café since 2011, and many other regional restaurants. Heather and Kevin’s goal was to create an exciting new dining experience that matched William’s vision for an international street-food venue.
The restaurant décor was inspired by the vibrant art-driven lifestyle development of the Wynwood District in Miami, FL (http://www.thewynwoodwalls.com/) and the graphic artwork of Shepard Fairey. Studio Two developed new artwork forPrana Bar, color palettes and graphic elements to express the brand. Prominently visible to customers visiting the restaurant is a massive graphic mural spanning over 473 square feet of the interior walls. The mural is designed to bring vivid color, a graphic urban experience, and the sense of a pan-Asian street market to the space. The mural was printed and installed by GVH Studio of Bennington, VT. (http://gvhstudio.com/).
A self-taught cook from Southern California, who trained by researching cookbooks, and lots of practice at various restaurants across the country, Shelly Williams professional culinary career began when she catered a dinner for 50 people in 2003, and 14 years later Haven Café & Bakery in Lenox, which opened in 2008, is thriving. From breakfast, lunch and dinner items to delicious life enhancing meals to take home, or catering services for 10 to 600, Shelly is a leader in the local restaurant community supporting organic farmers, environmentally conscious and epicurean distributors, all of whom supply her restaurants.
Williams has enlisted a crack team of highly skilled professionals who will staff Prana Bar, including well respected local chef Matt Schweizer who said, “when Shelly and I first started talking about what is now Prana Bar, I thought of a quote by Joseph Campbell – it’s about the strength of different points of view to inform without taking away from your individual path. I’ve used it as a sort of culinary road map for Prana Bar by not relying too heavily on any one particular style of food, but to blend many influences, which is what we’ve created here for Prana’s own unique cultural cuisine.”
Bartender/social facilitator Charlie Robinson is inspired to make Prana Bar feel like a quick vacation to a warm locale, serving up Classic Cocktails with a slight tweak, to a full-on embrace of Tiki Bar culture. Williams adds, “in food service since the Last Supper, Charlie will also handle front-of-the-house duties, bringing warmth, wit and hospitality to the experience.”
One of the most successful ‘locally grown’ stories in the Berkshires, William’s Prana Bar forms a powerful and eclectic triumvirate with Haven Bakery & Café, and Haven at The Pillow. A tireless community leader supporting local events in Lenox with the Chamber of Commerce to donating food and services to organizations such as the Berkshire Humane Society, CATA, and VIM, to name a few, Shelly’s inquisitive and creative nature, along with a sense of fun is evident in the menus and atmosphere at all three restaurants. A hands-on restaurateur, who happens to have an insatiable desire to discover, learn and grow, Williams adds, “I don’t always follow the rules – sometimes you just need to shake things up, cease the moment and don’t look back.” Lucky us!