As of last week, Helen’s Place on Spring Street has closed its doors after seven years of business. “It’s just time to move on – nothing else,” said Helen Aitken, owner of the restaurant, in a Jan. 14 article in The North Adams Transcript.
Aitken posted a letter on the windows of her 60 Spring St. establishment. In the letter, she thanked customers for “making our time here fun, challenging and never dull” and offered well wishes for the future. According to Narae Park ’10, an intern at the Harrison Gallery on Spring Street, Aitken personally delivered announcements of her restaurant’s closure late in the week as well.
Before running the restaurant for seven years, largely by herself, Aitken had served as director of dining services at the College for 19 years. She called her turn in the restaurant business an “amazing” experience. “It has been a lot of fun – and challenging,” she told the Transcript. “We’ve had lots of students and lots of customers from outside Williamstown.”
The restaurant was known in particular for its sandwiches and wraps, as well as its range of more unusual prepared food offerings that ranged from smoked salmon and crabcakes to home-baked goods. “It’s really sad that Helen’s Place is closing,” Alexa Lutchen ’11 said. “The people were friendly, the food was great, and there is no other place like it in the area.”
Aitken said she would be leaving the facility mostly intact in case a restaurateur should express interest in opening another business in the near future. “This is a nice, warm and wonderful place to come,” she told the Transcript. “The students love it. Someone else could come in, and there is very little they would have to do.”
The restaurant’s departure comes on the heels of the recent opening of a new Subway franchise across the street, and further depletes Spring Street of occupied building spaces. In the past months, the clothing store Zanna’s, Royal Cleaners and McClelland’s Stationery and Office Products have all closed their doors. The renovated 61 Spring St. building that houses the newly opened outdoor clothing store, Nature’s Closet, contains further unused retail space.
Aitken was unavailable for comment.