If you’d told us we could find a beautifully designed, effortlessly Euro-cool place here in the Berkshires that offers more than a dozen roasted-on-the-premises coffees, a variety of sandwiches and snacks made from primarily local ingredients, and a gallery space that hosts all sorts of special events, from art exhibits to tango lessons and documentary film screenings, we’d have politely wondered if this region’s multiple-personality weather warm-ups and cool-downs had jiggled something loose upstairs. Not because our corner of Massachusetts isn’t full of cultured, inventive cafes and art venues, but because, well, where could you possibly find all of those things in one place? The answer, as it turns out, is in the quiet little town of West Stockbridge at Six Depot.
Six Depot was founded by the husband-wife creative team of Lisa Landry, a former writer and marketing exec who lived in Italy for five years, where she worked as a journalist and developed a love of European café culture, and Flavio Lichtenthal, a native of Argentina who came by his passion for food and hospitality—and later coffee roasting —while working as a musician in New York City restaurants. They moved to the Berkshires with their two children 13 years ago, with the dream of opening their own coffee house.
When a gorgeous space opened up in the old train station in West Stockbridge, the timing seemed perfect. “We love that West Stockbridge isn’t as touristy or heavily populated as some of the other Berkshire towns. And we liked the idea of bringing something to the community,” Lisa says. “But we knew if we were going to be off the beaten path, we had to be more than just a café.”
Since opening their doors in 2013, Six Depot has become a destination, with regular customers driving in from an hour or more away to enjoy an art show, a literary reading, or a music performance—plus that incredible range of coffee. Lisa, the marketing, gallery, and design guru, and Flavio, the talented hands behind the coffee roasting and the menu, buy shade-grown, handpicked beans from Indonesia, Bali, Sumatra, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica, and India, from small farms and coops that use organic growing methods. (Read more about it on Lisa’s blog.) The high altitude and slower growing time mean there’s only one crop per year, but it also creates richer beans with more pronounced flavor differences—much like the terroir-based differences in wine grapes. All are roasted by Flavio, by hand and to specific intensities, in Six Depot’s vintage German-made Probat 12-kilo roaster.
While Six Depot sells a considerable amount of coffee wholesale to national stores, including the revered Dean & Deluca, in these parts, they’ve garnered lots of buzz for their café and special events. Come for a poetry reading, a sea-salt or beer tasting, or a coffee tasting, and you can also enjoy European-style bites like porchetta (a sandwich of slow-roasted pork with truffle oil), tortilla (a Spanish-style frittata with potatoes and onions), or chicken mechado (pulled chicken with a refreshing herbed yogurt salsa). If sweets are more your style, dive in with flaky, buttery pain e chocolat, bocaditos with fruit filling, Belgian waffles with Nutella and fresh berries, or house-made shrub soda crafted with a variety of flavored syrups. Six Depot isn’t about a constantly revolving door of exotic food combos, but when the food is this high-quality and well-made, you’ll want a repeat performance—preferably several times a week. You can also pick up an edited selection of coffee, tea, olive oil, flavor syrups, honey, and more in their “microshop.”
Now let’s talk design. Lisa had some very specific ideas in mind for evoking an Old World café ambience, and worked with interior designer Adam Medina to bring her vision to reality. The long, family-style tables—a nod to Flavio’s roots in Buenos Aires—encourage sharing and socializing. They also allow Six Depot to show off its custom reclaimed-wood tables, custom pendant lights, and milk-painted dining chairs (from another local treasure, the Brimfield Antique Show).
The plaster walls, minimalist shelving, cozy benches, and hand-lettered chalkboard menus also contribute to that vintage, kick-back-and-stay-a-while feel. (There’s even porch seating during the warmer months.) With such an easygoing dining space and the blank-canvas gallery, with wide windows that stretch almost all the way around the room, it’s no wonder Six Depot is fast becoming the go-to spot for everything from wedding-rehearsal dinners to community viewings of the World Cup and benefit screenings and performances for local companies like WAM Theatre and the Berkshire International Film Festival.
This summer, we’ll have one more reason to hang out at Six Depot: Lisa and Flavio are opening an ice cream bar and shake shack right next door, which will feature locally made treats—including SoCo Creamery’s single-origin coffee flavors made with Six Depot’s exclusive roasts. The perfect cup of coffee to start the day, a worldly comfort-food lunch, and now a cone or dish or handcrafted ice cream to top it all off? We’ll meet you on the porch.