A restaurant in Cambridge that has been around for 21 years closed its doors for good on Wednesday as its owners prepare to shift their focus to a different venture and as two prominent restaurateurs solidify plans to bring a new concept to the space. Atasca (50 Hampshire St.) dished out its last meal on March 30 and passed along the space to its new owners.
A user on Twitter posted a photo of a note at Atasca from its proprietors, Joe and Maria Cerqueira, who first opened Atasca in the 1990s before moving it to its current location in 2000. The note read, in part: "Over time we have recognized that our service has not only joined families and friends, but brought Portuguese cuisine to the next level."
Joe Cerqueira previously told Eater he would close Atasca to focus on Rocco's, an Italian restaurant in Wilmington that has been around since 1940, which he took over last summer.
As he redirects his attention to Rocco's, Dave Cagle and Chris Schlesinger (of B-Side Lounge and East Coast Grill, respectively, as well as many other area institutions) will focus on the space Atasca leaves behind in Kendall Square, where they have plans to open The Automatic.
"We trust that they will continue to bring great food quality, fine cuisine, and the perfect dining experience," the note from the Cerqueiras read.
Cagle and Schlesinger's current plans are to create a restaurant that will have the feel of a neighborhood bar where people can come for a casual hang any day of the week.
Atasca specialized in Portuguese cuisine, churning out dishes like sautéed squid, arroz de mariscos (a Portuguese take on paella), and slow-roasted lamb shank. It's still too early to tell what the menu at The Automatic will be, but Cagle previously told Eater it would have "that Chris Schlesinger mark on it."
After 21 years of business, Atasca will be serving our final dinner tonight. Thank you to all of our incredible...Posted by Atasca Restaurant on Wednesday, March 30, 2016
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