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MCLA Graduates See Future in Revived Parlor Cafe
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
06:48AM / Saturday, February 02, 2019
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Julia Daly and Nick Tardive are reviving the Parlor Cafe as a hub for MCLA students and North Adams residents to gather.


The Parlor reopened this past fall with new ownership. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Julia Daly and Nick Tardive spent a lot of time at the Parlor when they were students at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
 
"I lived in the apartment upstairs and we both patronized the Parlor basically every single day," Tardive said of the Ashland Street coffeehouse. "So when it closed it felt like there was almost like a black hole in this little area."
 
The former Brick Oven on Ashland Street long sat vacant before reopening first as the Elf Parlor Cafe in 2009, then the Parlor cafe in 2012, and again in 2016 rebranded as the SereniTea Parlor.
 
Last year, Daly, from Staten Island, N.Y., and Tardive, from New Jersey, decided to make some changes in their own lives. They had graduated from MCLA in 2017 were looking for something of their own.
 
"You have this post-grad experience where you think 'Oh my god I have to figure out what I am going to do for the rest of my life right now,'" Daly said. "You find yourself at a job and realize that it is not it. So we both thought let's give it a shot."
 
So in October 2018, after SereniTea closed shop, the two decided to reopen the cafe once more as the Parlor.
 
Tardive said they wanted to bring back the vibe of the old Parlor that helped them fall in love with North Adams and served as a hub for local artists such as the COmmon Folk artists collective.
 
"We are focusing on creating the old feeling the Parlor had but while doing that we are trying to find out our individual unique thing," he said.
 
Daly said they want to keep a limited menu at this time until they really figure out what their patrons want. They have basic sandwiches like grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese, as well as various baked goods. 
 
The cafe was approved this weeek for a beer and wine license by the Licensing Board, although it will have to wait for final approval from the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.
 
"We are kind of just experimenting and playing around with it and encouraging other people to make suggestions," Daly said. "We are trying to go with the flow as much as possible and let it become what it becomes."
 
Tardive said this openness also extends to entertainment and the Parlor is open to anyone who wants to play.
 
"At this point, we are really just the venue and if people want to use this space we are happy to open it up to them and work with them," he said. 
 
Tardive said they have hosted both bands and comedians and would like to bring back the popular Parlor open-mic nights.
 
Tardive said he always felt the Parlor was a place for everyone that brought together both North Adams residents and MCLA students. He said this cohesiveness was a major reason he wanted to stay in the area after graduation in 2017. 
 
"We want anybody and everybody to come here and feel at home and have a good time," he said. "There was always a good mix here of MCLA students and locals and that is part of the reason I stayed around. I saw myself being a part of that and making that connection."
 
Daly agreed and said they want to see the city succeed. 
 
"I consider North Adams my home and even though I did not grow up here as a fully formed conscious adult I have spent most of my time here," she said. "I really care about this place and I want to see good things happen."
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