Adams' Firehouse Cafe Closes, But Owner Hopes Spirit Lives On

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The Firehouse Cafe on Park Street has closed but owner William Kolis hopes it can still play a part in community gatherings and possibly be resurrected in the future

ADAMS, Mass. – Barely nine months after it opened, the Firehouse Cafe has closed its doors but will continue to live on in "spirit"

Owner William Kolis said although the cafe will no longer operate as a restaurant, he would still like it to be used by the town.

"Essentially what I am doing is putting it into a coma right now, and I am taking it down with the thought of using it for other purposes in the interim, but eventually reopening it sometime in the future," Kolis said. "It's still there in spirit if people want to use the facility, it's available."

The eatery announced on its closing on Sept. 22 on its now-deleted Facebook page.

Kolis said the restaurant was not financially sustainable. He said many things such as the Park Street construction, the closing of North Adams Regional Hospital, and the absence of the anticipated scenic railway affected the closing of the cafe.

"There is probably 10 different factors that kind of broke us, but it just became clear that we didn't have the right number of people coming in," he said. "Those who came in enjoyed it.

"It was great food, but it was just the number of people that we could get into the facility didn't match the cost of the restaurant's operation."

Kolis said he originally anticipated turning the building into a restaurant much later in its operation, but sped the process up because he felt there was opportunity.

The building was originally a fire station, was later used by the ambulance service and was renovated and operated as a restaurant twice before. Kolis, a Cleveland attorney and native of Adams, purchased the building in 2011.

Kolis said the cafe has acted as a "venue for discussion" and he hopes it can once again do that.

"It was a venue for discussion and change and that is the role I see it having as we go forward," he said. "Over the last couple of years, we have developed a group of people from the arts, development, and from general interest in seeing Adams make a comeback."

Kolis said conversations that started at the Firehouse Café led to things such as the 5 Hoosac St. Gallery and the efforts to revive the Topia Arts Center on Park Street.

He said even though the restaurant failed, it achieved everything he wanted it to. Residents need to support local restaurants and businesses, he said, if they want them to survive. The Facebook post announcing the closure, describes Adams as "a beautiful hidden gem in which we should all take pride. Responsibility for its future lies in all of our hands." It goes on to list other local restaurants to patronize.

Kolis said Park Street is "very fragile" and he urged residents to continue to support businesses so Adams can continue to develop and become a destination.

"We went into the battle, and we can't call it a victory, but we are walking out with our heads high," he said. "If we can be proactive, gather the forces together, and use creative thinking we will make it ... you will never hear me not talk about the possible things that lie in the future for Adams."

Tags: closure,   Park Street,   restaurants,   

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