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'Full Belly' Eatery in North Adams OK'd for Alcohol License
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
04:30PM / Tuesday, January 10, 2023
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Full Belly Tex-Mex BBQ will be opening in the former Desperados on Eagle Street in North Adams.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The former Desperados is preparing to reopen as Full Belly Tex-Mex BBQ with the same management team that took over the restaurant last fall. 
 
B&B Restaurant Associates LLC was approved for a pouring license on Tuesday by the License Commission with Sandra Lopez as manager. Lopez and Linda Bonnivier are the partners of the LLC and hold the lease to 23 Eagle St. and Bonnivier and her husband, local chef Chris Bonnivier, are providing the capital. 
 
Lopez and Joseph Bevilacqua began running the eatery in September after owner Peter Oleskiewicz stepped away to focus on his Miss Adams Diner. Desperados closed two weeks ago citing financial issues. Oleskiewicz had surrendered the alcohol license in November.
 
Commissioners made it clear this was a new license, not a transfer, and was pending final approval by the state's Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.
 
Commissioner Peter Breen welcomed the new business, saying the city was in the process of transforming into a tourist destination and needed operations like Fully Belly. 
 
"One thing that is very important to this town — very, very important — is business," he said. "What business represents is jobs. It's very important. It adds taxes to the community, and it's also quality of life."
 
The partnership was opening a good time, Breen continued, noting that some $187 million in investments was being made in the city over the past six years, including the rehabilitation of the Tower Porter Block directly across the street from the restaurant. 
 
"The other thing is that I want to stress, we have two things that we are critical in making sure that we do as a board. We want to make sure it's safe. The business is safe, and the citizens are safe," he said. "And we want to make sure it's professionally brought."
 
The partners said they were aware of Training for Intervention ProcedureS and that the staff would all be TIPs trained. Bevilacqua initially asked for hours of 4 to 9 weekdays and 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekends, depending on staff, but Commissioner Rosemari Dickinson recommended 11 to 11, the standard the commission approves for most restaurants. 
 
"When you're going to open up at 4 rather than 11, that's OK. But if at some point in time you decide you want to do lunches, you don't have to come back before us. We're giving you that window to operate it," she said. "If you close at 9 every single night, that's wonderful, no problem for us. But if there's something that's happening downtown and you might want to be open until 10, you have that opportunity."
 
The operation is being purchased for $90,000, with $75,000 directly for the business, according to documents filed with the commission. Chris Bonnivier said the purchase has not been completed yet and he did not wish to speak at an open meeting on who the seller was because of ongoing legal issues. 
 
Former Desperados owner David Atwell filed a suit last fall against Oleskiewicz, a city councilor, over missed payments on the business and demanded the balance of $154,000 and filed a $160,000 lien on his property.
 
"We don't know. It's all being handled ... There's too many other people that have hands in that jar," Bonnivier said, adding he would update the commission when it was finalized. 
 
Bonnivier said they would not be participating in the operations but had been willing to support Lopez and Bevilacqua's endeavor because he had worked with them in the past. 
 
"We're a believer in the community and we wanted to be ... we saw what happened to the restaurant," he said. "Joseph and Sandra had worked for us previously and asked us to invest some money and we're all for it."
 
He said Dickinson had been an "unbelievable help" through the application process. 
 
"We know you had a bumpy ride into town. That's really what it comes down to. That's, that's the bottom line," responded Breen. "We want you to come here. We want you to survive."
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