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New Cafe to Open in North Adams
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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