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A sneak peek at the inside of the former Adams Diner on Park Street on Wednesday. Local officials and other guests were treated to coffee and cookies after the ribbon cutting.
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Town Administrator Jay Green and Selectwomen Christine Hoyt and Ann Bartlett join the Lapiers in cutting the ribbon on the new M&J's on Tuesday.
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M&J's Taste of Home Opens on Park Street on Wednesday

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Jeanne Lapier pours out a cup of coffee. The couple will continue their catering business though will likely do fewer pop-ups now that the restaurant is open. The diner closed a year ago under past management.
ADAMS, Mass. — The light and shining interior of the old Adams dining car on Park Street is ready for its newest incarnation: M&J's Taste of Home. 
 
The diner is set to open at 6 a.m. sharp on Wednesday morning and will be open through Saturday from 6 to 2 and Sundays serving breakfast only from 6 to 1. 
 
"I can't even put into words how exciting this is," said Jeanne Lapier before cutting the ribbon on Tuesday afternoon with husband Mark Lapier, Town Administrator Jay Green, and Selectwomen Christine Hoyt and Ann Bartlett. "And how much support we've gotten, it's very humbling to see all the comments and hear everybody's response ...
 
"I hope we serve everybody to their expectations."
 
The Lapiers each have been involved in the food service business for decades — Jeanne was as grocery store customer service manager and Mark has been in out of the restaurant business, including as an owner of the former Big Shirl's in North Adams. They opened M&J's Taste of Home catering and food truck about six years. 
 
Mark closed his landscaping business and the couple will focus on the diner and their catering operation. Jeanne said she also does custom baked goods and that having the restaurant — and its dishwasher — will be a big help in that area. 
 
The Lapiers will have Mark and another cook in the back, a second baker and kitchen help, with Jeanne out front.  
 
The menu will keep it simple with homemade goods and a revolving assortment of muffins and baked goods. 
 
The interior has been buffed and polished. Mark said fixing the roof had been a priority and then he started peeling away the many layers added to the diner by each owner since it opened in 1949. New flooring, fresh paint, refurbished counter stools and new countertops brightened the exterior considerably.
 
"The original floors that were so cold in here, this warmed it up," he said of the new vinyl wood flooring. "Basically, it was just getting rid of the hodgepodge that was here."
 
He uncovered the original porcelain walls behind the counter and the coffee counter that had been hidden under tiles. A display case that had forced waitresses to walk all the way around the counter has been replaced with a smaller more maneuverable one. 
 
A lot of the equipment and furniture, such as the booths, were removed before the diner went up for auction last September. 
 
"The only thing that was left here were the 10 bar stools that I refinished," he said. "Everything else was gone."
 
The Lapiers had bid on the property but lost it to David Atwell for $80,000 during a sheriff's auction. Atwell said he'd purchased it to secure a debt owed to him by the last owner, Peter Oleskiewicz. The Lapiers were soon in talks with Atwell to reopen the eatery and made it official in October. 
 
Mark said he has made a deal with Atwell to buy the property, probably this fall, for the same price. 
 
The couple are eager to begin this next chapter in the life of the old Worcester Lunch Car Co. "We're not going anywhere," said Jeanne, when the conversation turned to its many other incarnations. 
 
"I know what you have facing you," said Bartlett, whose family operated the former Red Carpet Restaurant a few doors down for years. "We were a success and I'm sure you with your history in the food business, you're going to do just fine."
 
Hoyt thanked them for the sneak peak along with coffee and cookies and pledged to be back soon for lunch. 
 
"Thank you for your commitment to the town of Adams, thank you for your investment here in Adams, we wish you a lot of success," she said. 
 
Green said ribbon cuttings like this are a way to celebrate small businesses that are the backbone of communities in New England. 
 
"This building itself is iconic. It doesn't matter the name, what matters is the humanity and the spirit and the customer service and the feeling of welcomeness inside," he said. "We are so happy to have you ... the community is behind you."
 
When asked what his hopes were for the restaurant, Mark Lapier kept it simple.
 
"Keep the lights on, pay the bills and make a lot of people happy with good home cooking."

Tags: Park Street,   restaurants,   ribbon cutting,   

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United Counseling Service Wins Wellness Award

BENNINGTON, Vt. — United Counseling Service is a winner of the 2024 Vermont Governor's Excellence in Worksite Wellness Gold Level Award, presented by the Vermont Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in partnership with the Vermont Department of Health. 
 
This award is presented each year to organizations across the state that make employee wellness a priority.
 
The UCS Worksite Wellness Committee engaged staff in several worksite wellness initiatives this year, including a Community Supported Agriculture program in partnership with Full Well Farm in Adams, Mass., chair massages for staff, a potluck soup event for staff, quarterly lunches at rotating office locations, and facilitating ergonomic updates for workspaces following recent ergonomic assessments.
 
"We are honored to receive the Excellence in Worksite Wellness Gold Level Award," said Amy Fela, director of operations and co-chair of the Wellness Committee. "This achievement highlights our ongoing dedication to creating a supportive and healthy work environment."
 
UCS is a private, non-profit community mental health center that has been a part of Bennington County's integrated health-care system since 1958. The organization has been designated as a Center of Excellence by Vermont Care Partners.
 
Learn more about the Department of Health's Worksite Wellness Awards here. Learn more about United Counseling Service here.
 
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