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Meet Tamara Bourso of Cuchi Cuchi in Cambridge

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tamara Bourso.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
We opened Cuchi Cuchi (CC) in 2001 with the idea of having an elegant/fun/international environment that makes people from all parts of the world feel welcome. The Dali restaurant in Somerville co-owner, Tamara bourso, took the concept of small plates but rejected the idea of calling them “tapas” since tapas come from Spain. We wanted to travel the globe and feature classic, small dishes from other countries but with a cuchi twist. She and business partner, Fernanda da Silva (w/the help of many elves) did much of the work and hired local Cambridge artist, Mark Steele to create the 3 sculptures on the facade.

We also introduced fresh fruit and herb-muddled drinks, as well as vintage cocktails. Now how’s an inspired cocktail served without a fancifully-dressed server? It’s not, so we provided our staff with ruffled tux shirts, bustiers, layered lace skirts and shimmering jewelry to dazzle our guests.

In the current trend of bistro dining where towels have replaced napkins and loud, techno music is punishing one’s eardrums, Cuchi Cuchi strives to create memorable moments where people can quench their need for great food, transporting drinks, and convivial conversation, all through the romantic glow of amber lighting and swirls of color in the form of costumes, vintage wall tiles, aromatic fresh lilies in the bathrooms, and welcoming service. You can find a more detailed account of the concept/history/decor on our website

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The restaurant business is very competitive and each month more hopeful places open than close which means service industry workers see these work opportunities as their “oyster.”

We’ve noticed that over the years applicants/hires seem to feel more entitled and exhibit a lower work ethic than ever before, putting it on our shoulders to motivate them. They make interview appointments but don’t show up or have the courtesy of calling to cancel. This rudeness also reflects somewhat in the people who make reservations and don’t honor them.

Another challenge is how to deal with ever-increasing costs of doing business since all products and services keep charging higher prices, as well as state and federal legislation which demands we compensate workers more and more each year at the expense of forfeiting even the smallest amount of profit. We can pass only so much of these costs to guests, many of whom still feel they should get free bread when it’s not free for us.

I consider maintaining high standards with a mostly transient staff to currently be the most difficult challenge for restaurant owners.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Leaving home to be on my own…

Contact Info:

  • Address: 795 Main St
    Cambridge, MA
  • Website:
  • Phone: 6178642929
  • Other: Cuchi Cuchi

Image Credit:
Cuchi Cuchi

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