Italian Restaurant Closed in North Adams
|The Red Sauce sign has been removed from 139 Ashland St. The Italian restaurant closed Sept. 1 after six years of operation. Left, Eddie Ciccherini after winning the annual Winterfest Chowder Cookoff in 2008.
The Italian restaurant had been operated by chef/owner Edward Ceccherini since 2006.
Scott Avery, whose family owns the building, said Friday morning that he was unsure of the exact reasons why the restaurant had closed but thought it may have been for personal reasons.
He said the Ceccherinis had been good clients and kept the restaurant in excellent condition.
A sign posted on the door by Avery stated the closing and noted "The Avery family would like to express best wishes to the Ceccherinis after operating a very well received, viable business for nearly 6 years at this location."
The Averys purchased the former Peno's bar in 2000 from Robert Pontier. Scott Avery, himself a restaurateur, remodeled the bar and opened Canteen. Desperados had a location there for several years (it has since reopened on Eagle Street) before Red Sauce opened in 2006.
The restaurant seats more than 100 and has a double kitchen. Avery said anyone interested in leasing the site for the "next talked about" restaurant or bar can contact him at 413-663-4374.
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Fiori Makes Bloody Good-Looking Marys
We ran across a YouTube channel created by Fiori Restaurant in Great Barrington that made us thirsty. These short videos are a great way to engage customers — it certainly got our attention.
Now maybe someone can tell us if that Bloody Mary tastes as good as it looks?
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High-End Italian Meets the Laid-Back Berkshires
Fiori more than fills the empty void at the end of Railroad Street.
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The haunting of Railroad Street has come to an end, hopefully. The dark shell of Pearl's, which has stood empty for nearly two years, is now bustling with a stylish crowd and an impressive menu of new Italian classics.
Enter Fiori, which opened recently at the "bottom" of Railroad Street. Of course, I wanted to go in on opening day and do my little write-up then, but reviewing a restaurant when its first opens is, I feel, in bad form. So, last week when a friend suggested that we meet at the bar for a drink, my curiosity got the better of me.
"Of course, sounds great," I said, thinking that I was being rather gallant by steeling myself against ordering any food, because then I'd absolutely have to write a review.
When I arrived there, I was relieved to discover that my usual attire of jeans and black T-shirt was actually fine. In fact, the place was crawling with jeans and T-shirt folks (one was even wearing a baggy sweat shirt) just looking to eat some good food. But, again, I was not there to eat, just to sip a cocktail and watch everyone's dishes go sailing by leaving the delicious fumes behind to torture me.
Needless to say, the torture didn't last long. I tried sipping my Old-Fashioned with indifference, until my friend piped up.
"You want to get some apps or something? I'm a little hungry."
And that was that. Before I knew it I was looking at a little bar menu (on very nice card stock, I might add) deciding on whether I wanted the cheese plate, the fries with garlic anchovy sauce or the duck liver pate over crispy bread. I finally settled on the pate and this curious little dish that sounded so intriguing I had to try it — anchovy-stuffed sage leaves fried with a panko breading. How could I not. My friend ordered the fries with the sauce and scallops from the dinner menu.
"I'm not trying to impress anyone tonight," she said.
We waited and chatted and enjoyed the general feeling of vibrancy around us. Once our pungent order came, it was all business. In fact, we didn't even try to carry on a conversation for the first 10 minutes. We just savored and sighed.
The pate, which is always an acquired taste, was the perfect mix of salt and the mild, irony tinge of all things liver-related. It was served on warm bread (spread for you) and that warmth seemed to allow the flavors of the pate to mix and soften. After taking a few bites of that farm-y deliciousness, it was time to move on to the anchovies. What struck me immediately was the breading. It was practically greaseless and when I bit into it, my mouth did not fill up with the oil that usually comes out of such a dish. In fact, the panko breading was just a formality compared to the explosion of sage on the palette. It seemed that the flavor would stop there, but the anchovy in the middle immediately dissolved the taste of the sage so that all that remained was a salty, herbal taste on the roof of the mouth.
"You've gotta try one of these," I said, pushing the basket of little fish to my friend. She dove in and had three while I took liberties with her saucy fries.
Don't be intimidated by Fiori's Manhattan, hipster-esque reputation (thanks to Pearl's). Although the high-end Italian cuisine gives pause, especially to local diners, it also encourages you to eat with your hands and savor every bite.
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Petrino's Open and Humming
We are served at Petrino's Cafe on Main Street in North Adams on Friday while Mark Petrino takes an order. Everybody wears a shirt with the cafe's basil leaf logo.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Petrino's Cafe has been operating for a week now and owner Mark Petrino says things have been going well.
We finally got a chance to try it today and really liked the new decor and interior setup. Mark made good on his promise to move the deli case so that it's immediately visible when you walk in the door. It's also easier to get to the counter because the tables have been rearranged in a much better pattern.
The Cup & Saucer was like walking into a classroom — all the tables lined up like a regiment, making things a little too cozy if you wanted a private conversation. If you were waiting for takeout, you were always standing next to someone's table.
The new layout gets you out of people's way while you're waiting; plus, you can see the (cold) sandwiches right in the deli case. The interior's a lot brighter and the couch in the front has been moved to the back. Tables have replaced it in the window, which makes a lot more sense from a business standpoint. Why would you want potential customers to see people lounging with coffee when the money's in the food?
The tables and chairs are nicer, too. No more old schoolroom furniture.
We talked to couple regulars of the old cafe who were trying the new cafe for the first time. Their impressions were very positive, although Joe Manning says ditch the big TVs. Not good for conversation, he says, plus it feels like you're staring at the diners below — or being stared at if it's your table that's below.
We tried the Cousin Mary, a chicken breast with spinach, provolone and avocado in a whole-wheat wrap with a hint of chipotle sauce. Pretty good but for healthy eating, we'd like something other than chips on the side.
The cafe's offering a variety of wraps and sandwiches with fresh meats and vegetarian choices, burgers, steaks and salads. Breakfast is served until 11 a.m. with burritos, omelets and specials. On our list to try is the banana-stuffed ciabatta French toast with a meat side.
We've also been told the hours may change from 6 to 2 to 7 to 3 because more people are coming in later than earlier. The Web site's up, too, and actually posts soup and salad specials for the day. Yay for keeping the page current.
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Petrino's Opens After Easter
The new Petrino's Cafe on Main Street in North Adams opens Monday, the day after Easter.
In an earlier posting, iBerkshires incorrectly special invitation-only event. We apologize for any confusion. (If we're invited to an open house, we assume everybody else is, too. It actually was a preview. oops.)
But the cafe will open to the general public two days later.
Anyone walking by Main Street can see the work that's been going on inside. The floors have been refinished, the kitchen expanded and reconfigured and a the deli case is right up front when you walk in. We can't wait to see the menu.
Petrino's is opening the space occupied by the Cup & Saucer for several years.
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