The two young Gateaux and I spent the long weekend with my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and their kids in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, where my parents have a house. It's a decent size group, even with Mr. Gateau stuck at the office all weekend, and now includes four people under the age of six. Fortunately, my parents recently happened upon Jack's restaurant, in the tiny old mill town of Housatonic, Mass., which has in the last number of years developed a small but sort of hip gallery and loft scene in the old factory buildings. Jack's is the kind of place that has old Life magazines in the waiting area and shelves crammed with old toys, lunch boxes, figurines, and so on, though neatly displayed and not dusty, as these things so often are. Very family friendly, with big tables and ample space. Young Master Gateau was quite taken with the electric railroad suspended from the ceiling, and was thrilled when we were being seated to go behind the bar and operate the train whistle.
I was more taken with the fact that the menu includes comfort food standards made with good local ingredients, like pot roast with garlic mashed potatoes, chicken pot pie, meatloaf, and the ultimate appetizer: pigs in blankets with two kinds of mustard. They offer several of these dishes served family style, and the dessert menu (if you have any room left at all) includes chocolate pudding and other homestyle treats. There is a whole list of $13 wines, and they make two kinds of sangria by the glass or carafe. I had the sparkling white wine version, and it was delicious and not too sweet.
I will note that the women's bathroom was decorated with old photos of babies and children, while the men got to have vintage pinups and movie stills of Elizabeth Taylor in a slip. Not fair.