New Eatery Opens on Eagle Street

By Lyndsay DeBordSpecial to iBerkshires
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Alley owner Keith Nogueira
NORTH ADAMS — The owners of the newest eatery to open in the city are hoping its contemporary atmosphere, entertainment and well-stocked bar will appeal to the area's young professionals.

The Alley, located at 23 Eagle St., quietly opened for business on Tuesday.

For several months, signs in the papered-over front windows of the building have announced "Coming Soon," and residents have been wondering when the business would open its doors.

Owner Keith Nogueira, who bought the building in November, didn't close on the property until May when he was finally able to start work on the inside of the building. (The first permits for the restaurant were approved by the city in April.)

"It's a common misconception" that it's taken a long time, said Nogueira, who pointed out that he has been working on renovations for only three months.

The owner called Tuesday a "soft opening" and said he wants to have a grand opening some time in October.

"It's all in the making," added his father and co-owner Jack Nogueira.

Both the exterior and interior of the Alley have been refurbished.
Nogueira said the menu — which they want to make unique and desirable — will be added next Monday and "will slowly keep growing." A selection of sandwiches, paninis and appetizers is now available — as are vegetarian options, such as veggie burgers and salads. Among snacks offered are pesto tenders, topped with pesto and cheese and served with honey mustard sauce.

The proprietors said the newly copper-topped bar is 98 percent complete. Stocked with an assortment of liquors, the Alley's bar also offers patrons Portuguese and Spanish wines, with Rockbrook as the house wine, and Sagras, Portugal's No. 1 selling beer. The owners also say they want to expand offerings by listening to what customers want to drink.

Since the location previously housed Gideon's Nightery (briefly rebranded as EGL Cafe) and before that Joga Cafe, the new owners have made a few changes. Booths that used to take up much of the interior have been removed and replaced with tables and chairs.

More seating looks out onto Eagle Street from the front windows and Nogueira wants to eventually replace this furniture and provide a nighttime lounge atmosphere.

Keith Nogeuira, who has previously worked for Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, has a clear idea of what he wants for The Alley.

"My goal is to make it feel like it's always been here," he said.

He said there are other venues for sports and college bars in the city. Instead, he wants to offer "a fun, relaxed atmosphere" and envisions the eatery as a place for young professionals to come after work. He added, "Everyone is welcome."

The Alley also aims to be an entertainment venue with live music. Plans to renovate the upstairs for the space are set for mid- to late October. Nogueira said he would like to have all types of music — a deejay, live band and solo guitar, among others.
  The wood booths that lined interior have been removed, exposing the brickwork.
"You name it, I want to have it," said Nogueira who also wants to have comedy every first Thursday of the month.

Despite the previous the cafes' unsuccessful runs, the new owners have a plan on how to do well at the location. First, they have worked on keeping a low budget for improvements and have prepared for the inevitable slow days.

Keith and Jack Nogueira also stressed that The Alley will be a hands-on, family-run business and said one of the two would always be present.

"This is my full-time job," said Keith.

Downtown North Adams has seen its share of businesses closing over the past few years. Recently, Molly's Bakery, open since 1937, closed its doors on Eagle Street as did the short-lived A&E Decor shop down the street.

But while some businesses have left empty spaces, new shops and restaurants have sprung up. Christo's Famous Pizza has moved into the previous home of North Adams Pizza and Hickory Bill's on Holden Street. On Main Street, Cup & Saucer took over a few years ago where the Appalachian Bean had operated. Also, a new coffee shop is set to open in late September on Ashland Street in the building that was once the Brick Oven.

Nogueira said he believes that North Adams is starting to grow as a community.

"The desire is there for a place like ours. I believe we will do well," he said.

The Alley is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
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North Adams Council Puts Brakes on Sale of Sullivan School

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Councilor Rebbecca Cohen takes the gavel when both the president and vice president had to recuse themselves from the Sullivan sale discussion. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council hit the brakes on the sale of Sullivan School on Tuesday night, saying the proposal to transform the vacant elementary school into an advanced manufacturing training center needed further discussion. Two other bids were accepted with little debate.
 
 
A locally organized group of businesses and entrepreneurs operating as Berkshire Advanced Manufacturing Training and Education Center, or BAMTEC, bid $1 for the 50-year-old building but their proposal says they will be investing $11 million into the building and another $3 million in equipment. The Kemp Avenue property is assessed at $2.1 million.
 
"There's an expression of raising a lot of money but I don't see anyone writing a lot of checks," said Councilor Wayne Wilkinson, recommending the proposal go to committee for review, adding, "there's a lot more information needs to be known before we move forward with this."
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