Hadley eyes new arcade, music venue
Change proposed for former Polish eatery
HADLEY — The former site of a beloved Polish restaurant could be home to a vintage arcade and music venue as early as April, if all goes well at tonight’s Select Board meeting for the partners planning a new restaurant on Railroad Street.
The venue, called the Quarters, will be at 8 Railroad St. in the building next to the Norwottuck Rail Trail that formerly housed Sofia’s Praises, one of the last Polish restaurants in the Valley.
Kristina Nikonczyk Beaudry, 57, founder and owner of Sofia’s, said she closed the restaurant in September when landlord Paul DiBenedetto ended her tenancy to make room for the Quarters. Though she said she was sad to close, moving was not financially feasible.
“I made a lot of good friends over the years there that I’m still in touch with,” she said Monday.
The space will see a very different kind of restaurant if the Quarters succeeds in getting permits from the Hadley Select Board. The restaurant will include a bar, classic arcade games — like Ms. Pac-Man and Tetris — and live concerts. Co-owner Greg Stutsman said that the Quarters is currently on schedule to open in early April. Its proposed hours are 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Stutsman, who works in real estate, is founding the Quarters with George Myers, who books events and concerts in the Valley.
Before it opens its doors, however, the business needs several permits from the Select Board, including one to serve alcohol and one for live entertainment. Stutsman is also awaiting a building permit to begin construction on the property.
Public feedback on the Quarters has been mixed so far. At a Planning Board hearing on the site plans Dec. 18, neighboring residents, along with Select Board member Joyce Chunglo, expressed concerns about the traffic and noise the business would generate. Those who spoke at a continuation of the hearing on Feb. 5, however, were enthusiastic about the proposal, saying they currently have to go to Northampton or Amherst for the kind of entertainment the Quarters will offer.
The plans include 36 parking spaces on the property, according to Stutsman, who said that was sufficient parking to comply with the town bylaws. He also said there is space for additional parking on the property if necessary.
The only other business at the same address is Blueprint Gallery, an art gallery and tattoo parlor that is already in the building.
Meanwhile, Beaudry said she had been doing a good business before she closed Sofia’s and hopes to reopen one day. The restaurant, she said, was named in honor of her mother, who taught Beaudry to make the pierogi and golumpki that were signature dishes at Sofia’s.
Although she now has a job with dining services at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a lot more free time, Beaudry said she misses the people she got to know through the restaurant. She said people still stop her in the aisles of the grocery store to tell her how much they miss her pierogi. She said she has not been doing a lot of Polish cooking since Sofia’s closed, but still made her family the traditional pierogi for Christmas.