The Waxwing takes flight: Owners of former Chez Albert in Amherst open new restaurant in Hatfield

  • Amy Goclowski and Paul Hathaway are the owners of Waxwing Cafe in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Paul Hathaway and Amy Goclowski are the owners of Waxwing Cafe in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Crudite is served upon ordering at Waxwing Cafe in Hatfield. This one includes green beans, radishes, broccolini, carrots and microgreens with beet goddess dressing and roasted tomato oil. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Waxwing Cafe in Hatfield opened at the end of January. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Beef short ribs with mashed potatoes at Waxwing Cafe in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Amy Goclowski, co-owner of Waxwing Cafe in Hatfield, writes wine specials on a chalkboard, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Moroccan chicken meatball with tzatziki. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Arugula salad with roots, chevre and champagne vinaigrette at Waxwing Cafe in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Sheila Sweeney makes a pair of alcohol-free cocktails, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020 at Waxwing Cafe in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Waxwing Cafe in Hatfield, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Sheila Sweeney makes a pair of alcohol-free cocktails at Waxwing Cafe in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 2/23/2020 11:09:00 PM

Former owners of Chez Albert in Amherst have made a return to the Pioneer Valley restaurant scene with the opening of their new restaurant, The Waxwing Cafe in Hatfield.

The restaurant, located at 34 West St., is co-owned by Hatfield couple Paul Hathaway, the restaurant’s head chef, and general manager Amy Goclowski. Before opening The Waxwing on Jan. 29, they ran Chez Albert bistro in downtown Amherst for 14 years before it closed in 2018 after a dip in customers. Despite the drop in business, Chez Albert had a busy sendoff, and Hathaway continued to make guest chef appearances at restaurants such as The Gypsy Apple in Shelburne Falls and Homestead Restaurant in Northampton.

Even with such indicators of support for their work, Hathaway and Goclowski at first thought that maybe their time running restaurants had come to a close, they said. But before long, they realized they still had more to offer the Pioneer Valley food scene.

“We just missed it,” Goclowski said. “We missed the whole concept of feeding people and taking care of people, welcoming people into our space.”

In its first few weeks in business, The Waxwing has seen some familiar faces from Chez Albert, Goclowski and Hathaway said, while also garnering an early group of new repeat customers.

Friends from local businesses also helped to launch the new restaurant, they said. Tattoo artist Tim Brewer of Hadley’s Blueprint Gallery designed the restaurant’s logo, while Ruby Rufo of One Way Screen Printing in Hadley created the T-shirts worn by staff.

Unlike Chez Albert, which focused on French cuisine, The Waxwing offers an eclectic selection drawing from Hathaway’s 30-plus years of experience working in restaurants, with dishes ranging from escargot, rabbit chow fun, clam risotto and duck frites to crispy squid and chicken schnitzel.

“I’ve done French and Italian, I did an all-natural Asian restaurant, I’ve worked in a Moroccan restaurant,” Hathaway said. “So I basically pulled from all my old influences, all my old favorites, and I’m just trying to guide those together into what is my own cuisine.”

The restaurant also features a selection of over 30 wines, several beers and ciders, and artisan cocktails by mixologist Sheila Sweeney.

The restaurant’s name refers to a native species of bird that Goclowski once noticed outside her window in Hatfield. After showing the bird to Hathaway, he remarked that “Waxwing” would be a good name for a restaurant. Upon further research, Goclowski found another reason to adopt the bird as the restaurant’s namesake.

“It turns out that what waxwings do is they feed each other,” Goclowski said. “One will go get the berry and bring it up to the branch, and then they pass it down to each other. I thought, well, that kind of is a cool name for a restaurant. Plus, I just really think they’re a cool-looking bird.”

The restaurant is open Wednesday through Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m., though Hathaway and Goclowski said they intend to open for lunch within the next month while keeping to a four-day schedule.

The restaurant seats about 40 people and employs nine, Hathway said, and the owners also hope to open an outdoor patio for warmer weather. The location formerly housed Double D’s Diner.

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.


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