Escape the City: Bell & Anchor, A Little Bit of Brooklyn in the Berkshires

VideoBy Liza de Guia on Jun 27, 2013
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“I just want to eat well and keep it unpretentious.” 

Meet Mark Firth, the owner and chief farmhand of the Bell & Anchor, a farm to table restaurant located up in Great Barrington, MA. I came to the Berkshires looking to get away from the city – to get out into nature and get a little closer to my food source. Mark, a long time Brooklyn resident, had the same idea a few years back. Except, once he discovered the Berkshires, he knew he’d found his home.

I met Mark at a James Beard House Cure-All dinner in NYC last winter, and was impressed with a lot of the food being showcased by chefs in his area.  The dinner pretty much inspired my week-long road trip. I wanted to see for myself what restaurants were up to upstate, to see the caliber of food coming out of small towns known for the farm-to-table movement; towns that also supply NYC and Boston with a lot of farmed meat and produce. To say the least, I was impressed. The creativity, the inspiration, the passion were all there; added to that, a sense of camaraderie between all the farms and restaurants – a real sense of community around food.  I filmed at a couple of restaurants that you’ll get to know over these next few weeks – some thick with history, some riding on new ideas. I hope it inspires you to escape the city. There’s a level of excitement building amongst all the chefs I met, you could sense it, you could see that summer was everyone’s favorite food season.

So, enjoy this little piece on the Bell & Anchor. Mark co-founded two of my favorite restaurants in my Brooklyn ‘hood: Diner and Marlow & Sons. He has a knack for creating very special spaces. And the food by Chef Stephen Browning is as comforting as food can get. I think the shot of the burger in the video, visually, says it all.

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy Eating!


  1. Tim Newman says:

    Hey Liza,

    Wonderful film on Mark, the B&A and the Berkshires. It really captures the vibe.You did us proud.

    All the best,

  2. You got the person, place and thing perfectly captured. Chief storyteller indeed. Thank you for making the essence of the Berkshires translate to video. Happy to call this place my home!

  3. Gail says:

    Mark’s got a great story, Liza! And, of course, you coaxed the best out of him. I loved seeing the transition from the quiet of the day in the restaurant, to the warmly lit, ‘showtime’ of the evening.

    • Liza de Guia says:

      Thanks Toots!!!!!! I too love the opening moment, when he really takes you into why he had to leave the city. I think it’s something a lot of people can identify with. You know????

  4. Seth says:

    Yet another home run Liza! The proof of the pudding (or the pig, as it were) is that after seeing yet another one of your marvelous videos I am immediately compelled to get in my car and go to wherever the subject is. Bread, cookies, ice cream…and recently my favorite theme- the farm-to-table restaurant. All these guys would have to do to achieve perfection is to have an antique store up front! Seeing this dream lived out by such caring and talented people is also really a wonderful thing. Thanks.

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