Photo Gallery: Firehouse Cafe at 47 Park Street opens

ADAMS -- Park Street's newest business opened its doors on Monday.

After months of anticipation, the Firehouse Cafe is serving an eclectic menu out of the 19th century firehouse at 47 Park St.

Adams native Bill Kolis -- who practices as an attorney in Ohio -- has returned to the Berkshires to fulfill his dream of opening a restaurant.

"I wanted to be three things in life: a lawyer, a chef, and a stand-up comic," Kolis said, adding that he's already done the most practical of those options for most of his life.

After years of lecturing about how to re-energize Park Street, Kolis said it was time to walk the walk. When he heard about the available space at the old Firehouse, he jumped at the opportunity.

Kolis has teamed up with another Berkshire native, Shane Morris, who will handle the day-to-day business of the restaurant and crafted its menu. Morris reached out to Kolis after hearing the cafe would be looking for a leader, and left his life in Seattle behind for the opportunity to work in Adams.

"I couldn't have hoped for something better," Kolis said. "He was excited to come out here."

Morris has created a menu he views as different than any other in Berkshire County, all at an affordable price.

The menu, Morris said, is meant to have broad-based appeal without being too expansive. The goal is also to provide a number of light and vegetarian options that Morris said are hard to find elsewhere in the area.

"You couldn't get a salad here unless it was fried," Morris said.

For example, a white bean and chicken chili is a featured soup, and grilled swordfish is already one of the fastest selling dishes.

The Firehouse Cafe, while not a vegetarian restaurant, is also making an effort to incorporate tofu into it's menu. Morris estimates, based on national data, that there could be as many as many as 15,000 tofu eaters in Berkshire County alone, and hopes to attract them to the restaurant.

And while a tremendous amount of detail went into the decor and atmosphere of the cafe, not a single entree tops $20.

"You've got to remember where you are," Morris said.

The firehouse was built at the peak of Adams' prosperity, Kolis said, He hopes that his restaurant is one small piece in the revitalization of Park Street.

"There are now 11 more employees on Park Street than there were before," Kolis said. "It's not a lot, but it's a start."

In addition to most of his family still being in the area, Kolis was attracted to the idea of opening a restaurant at the firehouse because of its architectural uniqueness and the rich local history in general.

"Part of the challenge in this town is convincing people they have something irreplaceable," Kolis said.

To reach Adam Shanks,
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