ADAMS — Xavier Jones is coming back to Adams, this time to start a restaurant at Park Street’s historic Firehouse Cafe.
Now, he is returning, alongside business partner Warren Dews Jr., to try something new: a Mediterranean-infused small plates restaurant with a menu that will reflect the cuisines of up to 30 countries.
“This building is a landmark, and we don’t want to be just a restaurant — we want to be a destination,” Jones said. “People go to Lenox for great food. People go to Williamstown for food. We want people to go to Adams and know they can get the same quality of food, even better.”
Jones and Dews, who co-own the business, hope to begin operating in April and are looking to hire staff, they said. They will host interviews for a sous chef, line cooks, servers, bartenders, hosts and food runners at the cafe on Feb. 11-12.
The restaurant will serve dinner from 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
“We’re going to serve food from Asia to Europe to Northern Africa,” Jones said. “We’ll also be throwing some American, New England cuisine in there. We’ll be throwing some Caribbean cuisine in there. We’ll be taking food from all over the world and presenting it in a Mediterranean style.”
Dews, a businessman and publisher of the Greenville Pioneer and Ravena News-Herald newspapers in the Capital Region, has a straightforward explanation for why he wanted to be a part of the restaurant: “It’s Xavier.”
Jones, a Philadelphia native, trained at Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh. He moved to the Berkshires in the early 2000s and has worked as a chef in top-level positions at The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge and Spice in Pittsfield, among other restaurants.
When people spot him in malls and stores, Jones said, they often mention BiggDaddy’s and his cheesesteaks. BiggDaddy’s fans will be glad to hear that Jones has not cooked his last cheesesteak in the Berkshires.
“Maybe Tuesday night or once a month will be cheesesteak night, where we serve the cheesesteaks that Adams remembers,” Jones said. “That’s what they know me for. ... So, we’ll let the town remember those good old days.”
Adams Select Board members expressed enthusiasm for Jones’ return as they approved a liquor license for the restaurant last week".
Member Richard Blanchard joked that he was upset with Jones because he “had to find somewhere else to go eat” after BiggDaddy’s closed. Member Joe Nowak added that he finds it “exciting to have that kind of food scene here in Adams” after hearing Jones describe the menu.
“Living here my whole life, I don’t remember anything quite like that,” Nowak said.
Jones said he kept in contact with Bill Kolis, who owns the 47 Park St. building, after working with Kolis for some events at the cafe around 2017. They began talking about the possibility of a new restaurant shortly before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Dews and Jones feel that they are coming to Adams at the right time and in the right place.
The firehouse, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, originally housed the Alert Hose Co., Adams volunteer fire department, and later housed an ambulance service before its conversion to commercial use for restaurants.
Progress on the Greylock Glen, the prospect of a reopened Adams Theater and other recent developments led Dews to believe that “this is going to be the place where people are going to come to from all over.”
“We want Adams to be the new Great Barrington,” Dews said.
Jones has plans to team up with local artists to hang work inside the restaurant and to use products from local farms, he said. He envisions that the building would remain available for the town to use for meetings and events.
“Adams has got a lot of great things going on with the theater opening up, with the Glen, and we want to be a part of that, especially with the rail trail and the amount of people that Adams is bringing in,” Jones added. “We want to catch that wave and be a part of that success. It’s the prime time, perfect opportunity, best place in Adams to be.”
Dews, a member of the Berkshire Black Economic Council, added that the pair “want to be a part of this growth of Black businesses” in the Berkshires.
“The Berkshires are a beautiful place,” Dews said. "Both of us love this place, and we want Black-owned businesses to survive and do well here because it’s going to help all of the Berkshires. You’ll see young people of color see opportunities to do well in this place.”