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Sandra Lopez Nieves and Joseph Bevilacqua of Vermont, with chef Chris Bonnivier of Adams, are taking over Desperados on Eagle Street and plan to reopen on Thursday.

New Team Taking Over Desperados in North Adams

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Desperados Mexican Restaurant is set to reopen on Thursday under new management. 
A sign announcing the reopening went up on the door of the Eagle Street restaurant on Tuesday, more than two weeks after the business temporarily suspended operations. 
The announcement was made by the new team of chef Chris Bonnivier of Adams and his partners Sandra Lopez Nieves and Joseph Bevilacqua.
"Our vision is to continue the current menu, but make a few improvements that best showcase both Sandra and Joseph's talents," said Bonnivier in a press release. "I am very excited to take on another project close to home and am eager to again keep the 20-plus year tradition of Desperadoes that David Atwell created for a family fun atmosphere with great quality of food and beverages. My partners Sandra and Joseph will draw much inspiration from their Puerto Rican heritage and deliver a consistent quality product that Desperados has been known for many years."
Bonnivier's appeared on the Food Network and worked in a number of high-end hotels including the The Adelphi House in Saratoga, N.Y., and the former Gala in the Orchards.
His role in this project will be investor and consultant. Bevilacqua will be the chef and Lopez Nieves will be managing the front of house operations.
Bonnivier is purchasing the business from Pete Oleskewicz, who's owned the eatery for about five years. Oleskewicz has been facing a number of health challenges and felt it best to move on from the restaurant.
"I truly love this restaurant. The staff and community have been tremendously amazing. It was a really tough decision to make, but I feel it was best for everyone. I am thrilled to have such an amazing group of people take Desperados to the next level," said Oleskewicz.
The restaurant's been on Eagle Street for about a dozen years and was first opened by David Atwell. Oleskewicz, vice president of the City Council, said he will be focusing his time and energy on Miss Adams Diner, which he opened earlier this year. 
On Sept. 4, Oleskewicz posted on Facebook that Desperados would temporarily suspend operations and try to restructure. "There are many reasons and layers that led to this decision. It is not what I wanted to do but it is best for business and my personal health," he wrote.
The restaurant has faced a number of challenges since the beginning of the pandemic, with the primary one being staffing. Bonnivier says he is very confident that they can address these challenges with chef Joseph and Sandra at the helm they will take head on and deliver quality service and a menu that is enjoyed by all.
Berkshires born, Bonnivier has more than 40 years of experience in two- and three-Michelin starred restaurants. His expertise ranges from fine dining to food trucks.
He is well known for his features on Food Network's "Beat Bobby Flay" and "Chopped." He has been involved with culinary ventures across the country while working for a few top-level celebrity chefs like David Burke and two-star Michelin chef Terrance Brennan, as well as the David Burke group NYC, Cranwell Resort Spa & Golf Club in Lenox, L' Hostellerie Bressane in Hillsdale, N.Y., The Hermitage Resort & Club  in Wilmington, Vt., and the former Orchards.
Bonnivier is often traveling from Basin Harbor,Vt., to the Berkshires to New York City and many other places in between with his C&L hospitality consultants but also in his Full Belly Food Truck.
Nieves and Bevilacqua are originally from Isabella, Puerto Rico, and were formerly involved with La Casita in Wilmington and The Hermitage, where Bevilacqua worked with Bonnivier. Nieves also managed the front of house at La Casita where they featured authentic Mexican cuisine and a wide range of Mexican beer and liquors. They are very well known in Southern Vermont for their high quality standards for food and beverages in a comfortable atmosphere.
The have three daughters, Tatianna, Alejandra and Alanna, and live in Southern Vermont. 

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MountainOne Marks 175 Years Since Founding

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Board Chairman Daniel Bosley calls the meeting to order.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — MountainOne ended a successful 175th anniversary year approaching $1 billion in assets and a future that looks to be "busy."
"So with all this you might say we're busy, except for MountainOne, we're not allowed to say we're busy. You've got to work, you're supposed to be busy, right?" said President and CEO Robet Fraser after ticking off a list of positives. "So we're not busy. We're fulfilled, and this year is going to be incredibly fulfilling."
The banking institution held its demisemiseptcentennial, or maybe it was a septaquintaquinquecentennial, business meeting on Wednesday night. Whatever the preferred Latin is for 175 years, MountainOne was marking a significant milestone with more than 120 guests and bank members at Norad Mill and another grouping at the Weathervane Golf Course in Weymouth. 
Fraser, speaking via livestream from the South Shore, joked that "we have this unique business model where we give you the money — but you have to give it back."
That's been the standard since April 1848 when Isaac Hodges, Thomas Robinson and William Brayton founded the North Adams Savings Bank on Main Street. 
The first merger occurred in 1962 between North Adams Savings and Hoosac Savings banks, later becoming simply Hoosac Bank in 1998; Hoosac acquired True North Financial and Coakley, Pierpan, Dolan & Collins Insurance a year later; in 2002, MountainOne Financial Partners is formed as holding company for Hoosac and Williamstown Savings and MountainOne begins its South Shore adventure with the merger of South Coastal Bank; a year later, all three banks change their names to MountainOne. The investment and insurance arms also come under the MountainOne moniker and the newest affiliate, a Longmeadow insurance agency, was acquired in February.
"When I think about MountainOne, I think of one organization that was comprised of three different banks, two insurance agencies and investment division," said Fraser. "And we've been able to come together and be incredibly successful working with each other. 
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