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Pedrin's Sports New Look to Serve Old Favorites

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Photos by Tammy Daniels 
Peggy Oleskiewicz and Gordon Deeb  modernized the dairy bar their parents ran but left the beloved menu nearly untouched. Pedrin's opens for the season on Saturday.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Pedrin's Dairy Bar has undergone a dramatic refurbishment but only the surface has changed say owners and siblings Peggy Oleskiewicz and Gordon Deeb.

"It's what it always has been," said Deeb, whose parents Gordon and Amy Deeb purchased the business from the original Pedrins in 1962. "We want people to know that Pedrin's hasn't changed — it's the same owners, the same menu, it's still the same."

The landmark dairy bar on Curran Highway opens for the summer season at 11 a.m. on Saturday, a few days later than usual, after doubling its space and adding on a wider portico and a covered pavilion.

The cramped 50-year-old, 800-square-foot building was partially demolished last November; another 1,000 square feet was added on over a full basement, and all new equipment was installed. The spacious interior means more storage and cooking area and the employees won't be elbowing each other out of way.

"We can have more staff working, instead of five girls there can be eight in here at once," said Deeb. "They won't be bumping into each other; this will make for a more efficient operation."

It will also allow more customers to be served faster, he said, especially important with a Lowe's Home Improvement Center expected to be built just down the road.

The extra space will let Pedrin's become "a full-service dairy bar," said Oleskiewicz, with the addition of windows on the south side of the building to sell soft-serve ice cream. Deeb said they expect to begin selling ice cream around Memorial Day.

Brian Langer slices a multitude of onions.
The front of the building doesn't look much different; there's a line of windows and new long countertop. The covered walkway around the building is wider and made of concrete, and leads around the corner to the covered pavilion in the back. There is no inside seating.

Even if it rains, said Jeffrey Brassard, the dairy bar's longtime manager, customers will be able to get their meal, walk to their tables and eat outside without getting wet.

The ground, however, is still mucky, so it may be a bit longer before the picnic tables and pavilion can be utilized. That likely won't stop the hordes waiting for the dairy bar to open.

Oleskiewicz said she's constantly asked about the opening date. "I went up to the hospital, everybody up there is asking 'when are you going to open?' ... I bowl and everyone at the bowling alley is asking me," she said. "I imagine we'll be quite busy."

On Friday, workers were busy prepping for the "hundreds" Oleskiwiecz was expecting for opening day. Brian Langer was slicing up 150 pounds of onions, likely to make their way into the dairy bar's popular homemade onion rings.

There's plenty of room now for Darlene Whitman and Oleskiewicz to prep grinder rolls.
"This is so awesome, it's so much better, there's way more space," said Langer, a 10-year employee, recalling how the staff "had to turn sideways to get by each other ... It's a huge improvement."

Oleskiewicz, slicing grinder rolls with Darlene Whitman, said she couldn't wait for the opening.

"It's a reality," she said. "For six months we've been in anticipation and now it's an actual reality."

Deeb stressed that the new Pedrin's is still the old Pedrin's.

"We want to keep up with the times," he said. "This is a new modern building that will here at least another 30 or 40 years."
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North Adams FY22 School Budget Draft Leans on Federal Funding

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — School officials are proposing a level-service budget for fiscal 2022 of $18,380,596.
The draft plan presented to the School Committee on Tuesday is also level-funded and includes no cutbacks. The appropriation would be the same as this year: $17,769,074.
"While there are many things that are becoming more and more clear with regards to the FY 2022 budget, there are still some unknowns," Superintendent Barbara Malkas said. "This is a draft budget, we do not expect that the School Committee will be able to take any action on it tonight. We will need to schedule a public hearing for later in this current fiscal year, when we get to that point where we are, in fact, knowing what our true revenues and our true costs will be for FY22."
Those unknowns include finalizing contracts with professional staff and several nonprofessional bargaining units and final numbers from federal stimulus funds.
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