By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In the middle of bohemian neighborhood Santa Teresa lies owner trio, Santiago Harte, Iuri Paiva and Fabian Boal’s latest addition Rústico, a cozy restaurant on an open green terrace. The pair of Argentinians and a Carioca have expanded in the same building, above their the long-time popular Cafecito café.
The two places are centrally located, right next to Santa Teresa’s main square and former bonde (tramway) stop Largo do Guimarães. Located in a two-story building on Rua Paschoal Carlos Magno, both eateries have a green terrace that makes up most of their cozy and informal atmosphere, standing out with a touch of rustic-chic style even in the famously bohemian Santa Teresa.
As Argentinian Santiago Harte lived in the bairro (neighborhood) and Carioca Iuri Paiva spend most of his time there, the strong relationships with the area has inspired a lot of what characterizes the two open air eateries.
“The choice of [Santa Teresa as our] neighborhood was due to its charm and style, as well as its characteristics that match well with our proposition of excellence in service and cuisine inserted into a concept of informality,” Paiva told The Rio Times.
“The very mansion that houses the two restaurants together with the architectural context of Santa Teresa were valuable inspirations for everything. We also always try to respect the building, what can be seen in our structure and points of service,” he added.
The idea for the business had started when Harte and Paiva founded a cultural center, Tumbao de Malevo, in the mid 2000’s on the terrace of today’s restaurant. The center featured musical shows first bi-weekly and then weekly and later was open all weekend.
Yet even though the shows were popular with the public, they faced technical limits to host more productions and therefore decided to rethink the concept. Less than a year later, Cafecito café was opened on the lower terrace of the locale and the café has been a success ever since. This year they were awarded TripAdvisors Excellency Certificate.
Next to several coffee creations Cafecito claims sandwiches and desserts as its specialty. It is now open from 9AM until 10PM and offers discounts on breakfast from 9AM to 10AM, but is closed on Wednesdays.
When after two years in business, Argentinian Fabian Boal joined as a new partner, the team of three started to renovate the second floor terrace. In November 2012, Rústico restaurant opened, offering contemporary cuisine with a new twist to its dishes, as well as gourmet pizzas from their wood oven.
For example, during the culinary event Rio Gastronomia, Rústico suggested a menu of Balsamico roasted pumpkin with basil sprouts salad, shrimps, and spicy mango sauce as appetizer, squid filled with mushrooms, fettuccine in herbal butter and cherry tomatoes as main dish, and Doce de leite petit gateau for dessert.
Although both eateries are popular with the public, conducting business has not always been easy. “The main difficulties are perhaps the large bureaucracy that surrounds the area, and to find qualified labor, which is scarce in the market,” Paiva reveals.
Rústico restaurant and Cafecito café
Rua Paschoal Carlos Magno, 121 – Santa Teresa, RJ
Rústico: Monday-Sunday (closed Tuesday) 12PM-1AM
Cafecito: Monday-Sunday (closed Wednesday) 9AM-10PM
Tel: (21) 3497-3579