By Tammy Daniels On: 04:00PM / Friday December 30, 2011
Fahri Karakaya is renovating and updating the former Petrino's on Main Street and plans to reopen it as The Local cafe this spring.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Fahri Karakaya was wandering the city's downtown looking for opportunity last September when he realized something was missing.
"There was no place to really sit down, have a coffee, relax," said the West Palm Beach, Fla., transplant on Friday. Plenty of restaurants, pizza places, but no casual coffeehouse on the main drag. That, he decided, was his opportunity.
He plans on opening a cafe, The Local, with coffees, espresso, sandwiches on fresh-baked breads, light breakfast, homemade soups and some hot offerings for dinner. Karakaya described his vision as similar to a Panera.
"When you come in for coffee, you're going to smell the bagels and the fresh-baked bread," he said.
Not surprisingly, Karakaya turned to the empty Boston Store location on the corner of Holden and Main streets, a prime spot that's hosted coffeehouses and a sandwich shop over the past dozen years or so. The last in there was Petrino's, which closed in March after owner Mark Petrino took a job offer in Colorado.
That's left a hole on Main Street that Karakaya is hoping to fill.
"This is my commitment to do something nice, good service, simple, fresh food," said Karakaya, who's confidant — but still a little anxious — over this new venture.
He's got 25 years in food service, but that's managing in high-end resorts and five-star restaurants, most recently at the Breakers in Palm Beach. "There aren't many of those around here," he laughed.
Karakaya and his family moved to Williamstown earlier this year after his wife, Melahat Karakaya, took the position as innkeeper at the Porches after falling in love with the area, especially Williamstown Elementary School for their 5-year-old daughter Ece Lina.
Now he's planning to take his experience in five-star food and exemplary service and simplify it for more casual — but high quality — family friendly offerings. A comfortable cafe where people can meet and relax.
The former Petrino's will be renovated and updated with a mix of booths, couches and high tables along with the popular counter seating in the storefront window. Wi-fi will be available. The stage area in the back will be turned into a kids' zone.
"If your kids are happy, you are happy," explained Karakaya, who's considering hosting children's parties and other family gatherings. "I want to do something unique."
He said building owner Scarafoni Associates has been very helpful with his plans.
New equipment will be installed and the counters and display cases will allow customers to see and select their fare. Offerings will include coffees (light, dark, roasted, decaf and seasonal flavors), espresso, fresh fruit smoothies, salads, panini and deli sandwiches, bagels, danish, and four soups daily.
The cafe will be open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Karakaya hopes to open in March.
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I hope this new shop does well. People really need to come out and support local businesses. Even if its once a week or occasionally, drop a few bucks in mainstreet, it would be appreciated by these owners. Good luck!
i hope this gentleman and his family have a sucessful business in north adams..i wonder though how long will he be able to pay the absurd rent from scarafoni ...ask the last 3 tennants what their downfall was on this perfect location....RENT..
This is great. Hated to see the corner spot not filled up. I hope this gentleman and his family find success in NA. Congratulations! We also as a community do need to have open arms to new business and really get out of the house and spend a little to keep them around. Happy New Year!
Congrats and good luck to "The Local". One bit of advise. Don't waste money on advertisement. The locals already know you're here. Embrace the community by sponsoring youth athletics, school events, local charities etc.
Welcome to North Adams!!
Editor: They are local. They live in Williamstown. Let's not make them wait three generations, lol. I Agree (36) - I Disagree (19)
Good luck. With two other coffee shops within one block and McDonalds giving free coffee and Wi;fi you will need luck.
Perhaps you could be on to somethig . With all the new police and firemen you may make a real go of it after all.
This thread is a perfect summation of why North Adams will remain in the doldrums for many years to come:
Lack of Disposable Income? Check.
Demand for Freebies? Check.
Bad business advice? Check.
Discouragement of any effort? Check.
Divisive comments before the place even opens? Check?
And for the most part, these weren't even the insanely rude comments of the usual characters.
Welcome to North Adams where we'll greet you with a hug, and while our arms are behind your back, we'll flip you off and pick your pocket.
Editor: That would be Espanas Tapas Restaurant. Haven't gotten over there yet. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
With all the new cops and firefighters ??? Last I read they hired one of each. You make it sound they hired a platoon. Both depts employees are down by approx 50%. Yes pop. is down but crime and fire related calls are way up.
These seven negative characteristics stem from parents to children, and the present generation of parents received the seeds of these seven and grew them over time. The Pittsfield GE closed and about 5,000 northern Berkshire jobs dissolved. Then Sprague Electric moved to Lexington, and another 3,000 good jobs dissolved. Hunter Machine failed when the textile business moved abroad, and another 500 jobs dissolved. The bottom feel out of the community, it was governed for 25 years by men and women who had these seven characteristics well honed. So now the communities struggle.We must break this depressing cycle if we are to grow once again.
Editor: I just deleted a bunch of negative comments. If you wish to trash Scarafoni - go someplace else. If you wish to trash new business owners - go someplace else. Comments on how and if a business can thrive here are fine, attacks on people because they don't conform to your notion of "local" are not. I Agree (18) - I Disagree (22)
f.w.goudy You could say the same of Pittsfield but thay seem to be doing well. I guess they have no Seeds.
that wouldnt be because your biased at all. Considering this guy hasnt even been to the plkanning board and you did a story but Tapas you cant find the time for. No wonder no one trusts the media now that you are sensoring peoples opinions that dont coinside with yours.
Editor: Stop being silly.
In response to your latest post I deleted, I'm not "sensoring" anyone. We do stories as they arrive - if someone from the tapas restaurant calls and says, 'hey, I'm open,' well, I bet we'll do a story. I Agree (11) - I Disagree (21)
This may not be posted, but I believe there is a certain right as an American in our 1st Amendment about freedom of speech. If you are going to allow people to post comments, everyone should be allowed to post & then leave it to the readers to decide what is 'negative'.
People in this country have such a funny notion of what their right to free speech really means. It means you have the right to say what you want (as long as you accept the consequences). It doesn't mean iBerkshires, or the Transcript, or anyone else has to provide you with the platform to say it. Go stand on a street corner and pass out leaflets. Run an ad. Post on Facebook (as long as you don't violate THEIR rules - see, everyone has some).
I love how some people think the Constitution has somewhere buried in the First Amendment "the right to have every one of your comments posted on iBerkshires without any counter-comment or right to refusal." As for those who think this business will fail, you are the same people who criticize the Mayor for failing to get businesses to go into the downtown, and yet when one does, you bash it. Here's a novel idea, spend some of your money with a local establishment instead of running to Walmart every time you need something. And if you don't, then stop complaining about people who support local businesses.
Editor: You've hit on it. If you want local business, you have to support. Spending a few more dollars is a sign of commitment. I Agree (13) - I Disagree (20)
Nope Here's a novel idea . How about the local establishmentments make things affordable like Walmart?? Until they do stop complaining about people that do not support local businesses. By the way the last time I looked at a map Walmart is part of the local business.
Editor: Was waiting for that one. Of course, local establishments can't match the prices because they can't buy that much volume. Got nothing against Walmart but describing them as a local business is pushing it. I Agree (6) - I Disagree (22)
Fahri Karakaya has a great business background, is obviously aware of our local needs,and should be thanked for reviving the key corner of Main Street for those of us who need a spot to nosh and talk with colleagues.
I bet he has thick skin and nerves of steel too, which are needed when opening a locally owned and run business these days. The plans sound very promising. There are enough positive people in NA to make it succeed as well.
Well, if this town wanted more LOCAL business, then they might want to allow the REAL locals to open a business and not just down right steal ideas from a business plan that was created, all to turn around and call it their own. It's no longer a matter of free speech, so much as it is that there are true facts NOT being posted in regards to the location & the business opportunities that were presented LONG before this so called 'local' showed any interest about starting a business. There are nothing but phony people with very large egos on a power trip in this town. God forbid the little man has a shot in this world any more. So sad.
Editor: Really, he needed to "steal" the idea of a Paneralike sandwich shop from a local? Sounds like sour grapes to me. And if the "local" had a plan, why isn't he moving forward on it? PS: The owners of a building can choose which tenant they think will be most successful. I Agree (9) - I Disagree (19)
I love these posts about the Constitution, but yet the article is about a person from FL (That's Florida state for those who need clarification) opening a restaurant called "The Local". Isn't that an oxymoron? LOL I'm all for supporting a local business, but it kind of would be nice if the owners of the establishment were born and bred from this town and of the younger generation. That's what this town really lacks...FRESH IDEAS!
Editor: Sometimes you need so-called "outsiders" to bring the fresh ideas. I might also note that the last two coffeeshop operators in that location weren't "local." I Agree (7) - I Disagree (19)
here is a comment to the editor...i agree that the residents of north adams need to support local businesses if they are to suceed, but the local options have to put out a good product at a reasonable price...i for one will not support local business if the product is sub par and if the prices are unreasonable
Editor: Nor should you. My point is that most businesses simply can't compete with big-box retailers when it comes to prices. I Agree (7) - I Disagree (18)
No, not sour grapes, just poor ethics on the building owner. There was an IDENTICAL plan done up by a local entrepreneur as I stated before. If only people knew HALF of the true story. So much for a decent news provider these days...
Editor: Our focus isn't on the decisions of private ventures unless they affect the public. So no, this really isn't in our purview. However, if you would like to investigate ... I Agree (3) - I Disagree (16)
Editor It is a fact of life , if a business can not compete they go out of business. Why is that so hard for liberals to understand ??
To you can,
It sure would be nice if the younger generation started businesses. Too bad they leave and don't come back. If the only person willing to step up is an "outsider," why not support his business and wish him well? Would NA rather leave the space vacant for years until someone born here decides to step up? They only way the Berkshires is going to survive is if new people, new businesses and new ideas are drawn to the region. Who cares where someone was born if they are willing to contribute to the community they now call home.
Editor: Totally agree. Some in this city are far too parochial for my taste. I Agree (8) - I Disagree (21)
To the Editor
I would like to start by saying that I am a Local, Downtown Business Owner who often reads the Transcript and IBerkshires.com as well as Rents from Scarfoni. I was shocked to read this article and I have followed it and the post�s, since it was published. I have debated over posting anything for fear of reprisal, while hoping that the truth would come out I can safely say that I am appalled at this so called media outlet�s article(fluff piece) and the fact it seems they care more about putting out a story than the actual truth. I have intimate knowledge of the tactics that Scarfoni Associates employs, when it comes to his property. The reality is he will rent to who ever puts the most money into his buildings. That is not a necessarily a bad thing as all business are out to make a profit. My problem comes when you say you are doing things for the better of the community, when in reality the only thing you are helping is yourself. The facts need to come out, I was Present when a Young, Local, Entrepreneur met someone from Scafoni, in what was then the Mayors Campaign Headquarters about opening a Family Oriented, Restaurant with unique features designed to give back to the community. He was Passionate, well-spoken and driven, as he described everything to everyone in the Headquarters. From his Free, Weekly, Family Movie Night, shown on a 100� Screen, to his Free Cookie Decorating Classes for the children of North Adams to enjoy, before every holiday. His exact words to everyone was he wanted a Restaurant where everyone could feel comfortable. It didn�t matter if you wanted to just have a cup of coffee and do a cross word puzzle for a couple of hours or work on a term paper while enjoying a Gourmet Hot Beverage or a Family of 4 going out to dinner, the goal is to make sure that everyone is comfortable. The Rep from Scarfoni said he has met with several people over the summer who inquired about the location but none were a good fit. He continued to tell the young man that �He Loved all of the Ideas and wanted to move forward. Needless to say I was shocked to learn they gave it to someone else with a shockingly similar model. I can safely say that I am appalled at this so called media outlet�s article(fluff piece) and the fact it seems they care more about putting out a story than the actual truth. Since it seems that they are �Filtering� the posts, I doubt they will post this so I will also be sending this into the, Letters to the editor section of the Transcript. It seems to me that you as a News Agency, have the responsibility to report the Truth, but either your fear, or loyalty to Scarfoni Associates has clouded your Judgment. I implore you to show not only myself but every other loyal reader that you are a True News Outlet and allow this to post.
Editor: I have no loyalty nor fear of Scarafoni. If the gentleman in question decides to sue, we'll write a story. If he put down money but didn't get it back, we'll write a story. But to expect us to investigate a dispute between private concerns otherwise, no. I Agree (10) - I Disagree (23)
I hope there is an investigation into this but I feel that the Boston Globe or Perhaps a T.V. station a neutral. My faith in the local media is non exsistant after watching how they sensored, and attacked it's customers.