Personnel from the Sheriff's Department prepare to auction off the diner to pay delinquent debts.
ADAMS, Mass. — Miss Adams Diner once again has changed hands, this time to its former owner's largest creditor.
David Atwell purchased the property at a sheriff's auction on Wednesday afternoon for $80,000 against the only other bidder, Mark Lapier.
Peter Oleskiewicz had purchased the landmark eatery in September 2020 but didn't open it for more than a year. He closed it in March this year, saying it wasn't generating enough revenue to continue. It was seized June 8 to pay off creditors related to his other business, Desperados.
According to documents in Northern Berkshire District Court, Oleskiewicz owes Atwell a total of $168,338.05 for the now closed Mexican restaurant in North Adams and the state of Massachusetts $59,062 in sales taxes.
Bidders had to have $10,000 in cash or bank check to participate; the winner is required to pay the balance within 45 days or the sale would go to the next highest bidder.
Atwell said he had no immediate plans for the Park Street diner but wanted to assure he would get some return.
"I had $170,000 worth of debt on it. So I wasn't gonna let it go for ... you know," he said with a shrug after the auction. "If we had gotten a bit closer, I would have let it go but I wasn't going to take a haircut at 50 percent. It's too much money."
The bidding started at $30,000 and advanced at $5,000 increments. Lapier hesitated before bidding at $75,000; Atwell immediately countered at $80,000 and Lapier was out.
"We may clean it up and operate it or we may clean it up and sell it," Atwell said. "I've had a couple of people asked me in regards to leasing it if I ended up with the building. It's definitely not out of the question."
Atwell was in the restaurant business for 19 years but has since operated other ventures, including a package store in Dalton and the Thrifty Bundle laundrymat in North Adams. He sold Dave's Package Store in North Adams last year.
"I was hoping that someone was going to operate Desperados, we've been in business since 1992," he said. "It's sad to see Desperados not around other than Williamstown. But I just personally don't have the time to do it."
His wife, Deanna, laughed that now they had a diner they didn't want.
Lapier said he and his wife, Jeanne, were interested in reopening the diner. They currently operate M&J's Food Truck and catering business.
Oleskiewicz, a North Adams city councilor, has cited the pandemic, the subsequent rise in food prices and staffing shortages as the cause for wracking up debt. He'd purchased the Eagle Street eatery from Atwell in 2017 but closed it last year, saying it had become unsustainable.
A group tried to take over the Mexican eatery twice but their plans fell through; Miss Adams had a buyer in Wigwam owner Leah King, who gave a presentation to the Selectmen on her plans, but that also fell apart.
Oleskiewicz has been trying to pay down his debt and has posted about his troubles on Facebook several times, writing recently that Desperados had been a struggle and that "the diner was not large enough to support the debt load that I carried."
"Do you think I want to be in this position? No I do not," he wrote. "One day life is great, the next you're living in poverty working in a mill. But, I have always been a survivor and I will continue to push forward no matter how many hits I am blown."
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
Annual Savoy Craft and Bake Sale
SAVOY, Mass. — The annual Savoy Craft Fair and Bake Sale will be held Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023 at the town fire station, 17 Center Road in Savoy, from 9am-3pm.
There will be a wide variety of local crafters displaying their creations just in time for holiday shopping.
In addition, there will be a bake sale. All proceeds of the bake sale will benefit the Hilltown Hose Company.
The Mounties Saturday earned a 25-22, 25-19, 25-14 win over Bourne in the Division 5 State Championship match to complete a perfect season and wrap up a magnificent career for seven seniors. click for more
Alice Culver placed sixth in the state on Saturday at Fort Devens to lead the Millionaires to a runner-up showing in the team standings – the best individual and team finishes by the county contingent at the meet. click for more
Mount Greylock senior George Munemo converted a free kick in the 66th minute to complete a come-from-behind win in the Western Massachsuetts Class C Championship Game on Wednesday night. click for more
Kelsey MacHaffie served six aces, and Celina Savage delivered 27 kills to lead Mount Greylock to its second straight regional title with a 20-25, 25-10, 25-15, 25-8 win over Lenox at West Springfield High School. click for more