Berkshires After Dark Restaurant Review, as published in the Berkshire Eagle, October 13, 2011

My Rating: 4 “Mugs”

Burritos at Desperados in North Adams are humungous. You can get at least two meals out of one.

Burritos at Desperados in North Adams are humungous. You can get at least two meals out of one.

Desperados has long been a staple of the Northern Berkshire family-friendly nightlife scene. Now its newest location on Eagle Street in North Adams is continuing on that legacy, while simultaneously offering a new destination for those seeking a post-work cocktail, drinks with friends, or an all-out celebration.

One of the biggest attractions of Desperados is its versatility. It’s a place where a 21st birthday party can be seated next to a family with small children, and both will still feel comfortable.

For instance, a friend and I came in around 7 p.m. on a Wednesday evening to take advantage of the weekday special: buy one burrito, get the second at half price–a fantastic deal if you’ve ever seen the size of their burritos! (Other weekly specials include forty cent wings on Mondays and all-you-can-eat tacos, burritos, or enchiladas on Tuesdays).

We were sat right near the front door, and during the course of our meal we saw the hostess seat a young couple on a date, two women catching up over a pitcher of margarita, and a mother with her young son and his friends in tow.

Add to that the couple of guys sitting at the bar watching the game and milking their beers, and it was a pretty packed–and diverse–house for a weekday night.

Many patrons also come in hoards simply for the tasty food. Like I said earlier, the burritos are humongous: you can get at least two meals out of one, maybe even three if you pair it with a side dish.

And it’s not just the burritos. All of their dishes are served in hefty portions; and at affordable prices too, I might add. I’ve heard some people complain that Desperados puts quantity over quality, but I don’t think so. Many of their best dishes are based around original homemade flavors, including their house salsa, guacamole, red chile sauce, buffalo wing sauce, and spiced mushrooms. Plus there’s something for everyone on the vast menu, including vegetarian options.

Service is always personable and friendly, and chances are you’ll get to know the waitstaff after a few visits if you don’t already. Meal delivery can be slow when it is busy, but you’ll never have to wait more than twenty minutes. Plus the delicious complimentary chips and salsa are enough to hold anyone over. Just don’t make the mistake of filling up on them before your meal, which I can never seem to resist doing.

The decor is what you would come to expect from any Mexican restaurant: murals of cactus on the wall, strings of chili peppers, and sombreros abound. Some items may verge on the cheesy, but it all works together to create a fun and colorful look.

To be honest, I actually prefer this Desperado’s location over its Williamstown counterpart. The overall atmosphere is just more modern, hip, and fresh.

Many locals may be reminded of the restaurant at its old North Adams location on Ashland Street (now Red Sauce Ristorante), with its long, narrow dining room and gigantic wooden bar. The bar may be a bit shorter now, but it certainly still lives up to its reputation for a good time.This makes for an easier transition from the early dinner crowd to the late night drinks scene.

It always feels a little awkward to be having cocktails in a family restaurant, but the sleek bar and dark lighting seem to make this a natural progression after all the kids have gone home to bed.

Speaking of cocktails: Desperados does have a full bar, but before ordering your favorite go-to drink you simply must try their margaritas, either by the glass or the pitcher. The house special is always a crowd-pleaser, and if you’re feeling bold you can even order the “ultimate margarita,” made with El Tesoro Platinum and Grand Marnier.

My personal favorite is the pomegranate margarita–not too sweet but just enough fruity tang to cut the tequila. Delicious.

One cool extra I love about this new Desperados is that each booth table comes equipped with its own personal television, perfect for entertaining the kids or programming your own background music for dinner. My friend and I enjoyed playing Jeopardy while we waited for our food.

Another perk of the Eagle Street location is the second floor hall and bar. The space is great for small parties, and even has enough room for a small dance floor. I went to a bridal shower there over the summer, and it was perfect.

If I haven’t convinced you yet that Desperados is a great addition to the downtown North Adams nightlife scene, I suppose you will just have to check it out for yourself.

Don’t forget to rate it on the 413 website! Oh yeah, did I mention you can eat for free on your birthday?

If you go…
Desperados: 23 Eagle St., North Adams, 01247; Tel. (413) 346-4664;
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 4 to 9:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Lunch Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Price range: $7-$17
Style: Family-friendly restaurant with full bar

Dress: Casual
Cover: None
Food: Mexican, Tex-Mex
Entertainment: Individual TVs at each booth; upstairs hall/bar available for reservation.
Our rating: 1 mug, Run away; 2 mugs, Yawn; 3 mugs, Cheers; 4 mugs, “I’ll be back;” 5 mugs. “Round’s on me!”
Your rating: You can rate The Purple Pub at