New Owner, New Name for Cup & Saucer

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Mark Petrino of Williamstown has plans for the Cup & Saucer spot on Main Street.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Cup & Saucer will open under new management and a new name this spring.

Mark Petrino of Williamstown has been busy cleaning up and revamping the former Boston Store space on the corner of Main and Holden streets this week to create Petrino's Cafe.

On Wednesday, he was moving furniture around in preparation of having the original wood flooring sanded and stained and planning to grab some paint to cover over the coffeehouses bright pink and green bathrooms.

"I see an enormous amount of potential here," said Petrino, surveying the cleared floor in the 3,100-square-foot space.

The opening can't come too soon for some, as several people tried to enter the coffee shop despite the lack of chairs and tables. Petrino said he's had to keep the doors locked because people are coming in.

The key word for the new cafe will be "fresh," he said, as in no processed cold cuts but plenty of "homecooked" sliced meats and fresh baked breads and muffins. Plus, "there'll be no deep-fry but there will be char-grilled."

The small kitchen area will be expanded to make room for convection ovens and the char grill, and opened up into the long narrow room to break it up. Petrino's planning on placing the deli-style, glass-fronted cooler facing the entrance.

"I want people to come in and see all the things we're serving," he said. He's negotiating to purchase all the equipment and furniture in place.

The popular Cup & Saucer closed abruptly just after Christmas and owner Daniel Lester went off the grid, as it were.

The closure happened at the right time for Petrino, who'd spent the last couple months searching for a restaurant opportunity in the area. He decided to chat with David Carver of Scarafoni Associates about possibilities in North Adams — the same day the Cup closed.

"David called me a week later and said the guy's done, are you interested?" said Petrino. He wasn't the only one looking to fill the empty Cup; the owner of Dottie's Coffee Lounge in Pittsfield, Jessica Rufo, told The Berkshire Eagle in January that she'd submitted a proposal. Several others had also reportedly expressed interest.

Petrino thinks he was given the go-ahead because he had the experience and the capital to make it happen.

He's been in the food service business for years, including establishing his own restaurant in his native Philadelphia then as associate director of dining services at Williams College. He's spent the last few years mostly on the road as an accounts executive for AVI Foodsystems in Albany, N.Y.

But after putting more than 130,000 miles on his car traveling to colleges like Sarah Lawrence as Midwest-based AVI has moved into the region, he's ready to go back to his restaurant roots. Especially if keeps him in the Berkshires, his and his wife Jacqueline's adopted home of six years.

"I love it so much here ... that I had a good offer to move back to Philly, I turned it down to stay here in the Berkshires," he said.

The new Petrino's Cafe will open for breakfast and lunch around April 1, offering sandwiches, homemade soups and other items. "Moving forward, we're thinking to open for dinner and try for a beer and wine license," said Petrino

The menu will be lighter, less complicated and displayed on a new digital wall menu. The focus won't be as much on coffee, but it will be organic and Fair Trade. He'll be testing samples from a few coffee sellers this week.

The Cup's closure was the third loss to Main Street this past year after Moulton's General Store moved to Adams and Hudson's Antiques closed in favor of a new store in Williamstown and current location in Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

"I couldn't be more pleased," said Mayor Richard Alcombright, who'd spoken both with Petrino and Carver recently. "That's an integral part of the corner of this downtown. I think it's wonderful David was able to fill it that quickly."

Petrino's not worried about the closures, nor is he concerned about the competition just around the corner.

"The place I had on Center Street in Philadelphia was a side street that was all restaurants," he said. "If you serve quality food at a fast pace with exceptional service — there's always room for another restaurant."
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By Michael S. GoldbergeriBerkshires Film Critic
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