NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Mark Petrino is calling it quits and heading West.
"I'm ready for something new," said a cheerful Petrino on Tuesday, who opened his namesake cafe on the Main Street corner barely a year ago. What's new is an offer he couldn't refuse from Colorado State, which will put him back into college food service.
It was Williams College that brought him to the Berkshires, then long miles traveling to colleges around the area for for AVI Foodsystems put him back into restaurant mode. Now he's ready for academia again.
Petrino's is the third eatery to try the corner of Holden and Main, following in the footsteps of the Cup & Saucer and Applachian Bean. It offered up fresh and local fare for breakfast and lunch, with various wraps along with some really great burgers, coffees and specialties. All the sandwiches were named after "relatives" to give it a homey touch. Our favorite is the Cousin Mary (chicken, chipotle sauce and Provolone) with an occasional Counsin Paulie (turkey, spring greens and feta on a panini roll).
It's no secret that the restaurant biz is the hardest, and this season has been brutal — too much snow and cold was keeping people inside. The restaurant has been closed on Mondays since February and rumors of its closure were going around weeks ago. Asked last week on the eatery's status, Petrino said he hadn't made a decision yet.
But Petrino says the new owner (he didn't want to say who yet) is in negotiations with building owner David Carver and is expected to take ownership as soon as next week. The new proprietor is considering getting an alcohol license and change to later hours, he said.
The cafe could close for a couple weeks to give the new owner a chance to do some renovations and "put his stamp on it," said Petrino, but it will be open in time for the avalanche that is the Solid Sound Festival in June.
"He knows Wilco is a cash cow," said Petrino, "he'll be open."
On a related note, we received some concern over the status of Desperados on Eagle Street on Monday after a large blue tarp was seen covering the entrance. No vandalism, broken glass or anything drastic — the restaurant was putting down new floor tile and had covered the entranceway to create a workspace.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — It's been five years but local favorite Desperados is back. The Mexican restaurant will reopen downtown on Monday.
After purchasing the 23 Eagle St. location in September, owner David Atwell only has to wait for a few more permits and a little fine tuning before opening to the public.
"Monday we did a meet and greet with some of my vendors, some people from town, City Hall and friends and family to show them what we did to the place," Atwell said on Wednesday. "We'll have a soft opening to the public on Monday, Tuesday at the latest."
Confident the final licenses will be approved in the next couple of days, Atwell expects to fire up the kitchen this weekend. The North Adams location will feature the same menu as the one in the Colonial Shopping Center in Williamstown. It will be open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. and 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It will be closed on Sundays.
Atwell previously said that his first North Adams attempt, on Ashland Street, failed partly because of rental costs. This time, he owns it. Atwell closed with Legacy Bank to purchase the 4,200-square-foot property and its contents for $156,000 in September.
Despite taking over a location that has hosted a string of failed businesses, most recently The Alley which shut down abruptly in January, Atwell expects to stay for a long time.
"We've got 19 years of history in Williamstown so we finally got it right," Atwell said. "It's a small place, easy to manage and we've got a good following in North Adams. We expect to be in this location for a long time."
Atwell also said being one of the few Mexican dining places in the county will help him succeed where others have not.