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Thistle & Mirth Owners Opening Burger Joint in Downtown Pittsfield
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
02:19AM / Tuesday, June 01, 2021
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Flat Burger Society will open in the former Flavors that closed in December.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — "Flat burgers" are coming to downtown Pittsfield.

Co-owners of Thistle and Mirth Joad Bowman and Austin Oliver are embarking on a new endeavor in the former Flavors of Malaysia at 75 North St.

Flat Burger Society, a burger joint and future performance venue, will focus on flat, stackable burgers made from beef that is processed in-house.

It will also serve hand-cut fries, milkshakes, a small selection of salads and soups, and have a full bar.  

"Between Joad and I, we have 30 years of experience in this business," Oliver said. "And our primary goal is, we don't take ourselves too seriously, and we are here to make sure everyone has a good time.  All the bits and pieces, we're gonna make as good as possible, and at the end of the day we want people to just be having a good time."

Oliver's inspiration for the flat patty model came from his own distaste for large, thick, burgers. His will be cooked to uniform temperatures and can be stackable with as many additional burgers and toppings as desired.

"The cows come from a local farm, we butcher the cow ourselves," Oliver explained, "The entire cow goes to make the burger. Each week or so, when we're butchering we'll take a cut of it, and do a steak for that night."

Customers will have the option of getting fries cooked in cow's tallow or a vegetarian option.  

"Boozy milkshakes will be a huge component as well," he added.

Bowman and Oliver acquired the space that previously housed Flavors of Malaysia at the end of March when Thistle and Mirth reopened as a bar and ramen restaurant. Flavors closed in late 2020, citing financial issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The duo plans to open Flat Burger Society in July. They will serve lunch and dinner immediately and once they settle in, restaurant operations will focus heavily on live entertainment on the in-house stage that space boasts.

They plan on having the restaurant/venue close around 11 p.m., before Thistle and Mirth, which is a popular late-night spot in non-COVID times.

Oliver said various kinds of entertainment will be welcomed to the stage.

"I'm open for anything cool," he said. "And also other shows as well, it doesn't need to be music-specific, it can be comedy, burlesque, it can be all over the place, but just a venue in Pittsfield."

He and Bowman have a desire to look at what Pittsfield needs and deliver something unique rather than replicate what is already successful in the area.

"We've been just finding things that Pittsfield is missing, instead of just replicating what already works here, that puts us up for plenty of risk and failure, but it feels better to try to succeed doing something want to do."

Oliver said Thistle and Mirth has found success in its ramen venture and they look forward to being able to function more like the original Thistle — but still with some pandemic precautions — as comfort levels increase.

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