By Kassia Skorzewska
Following just over three years of serving customers in Sandy Hill, the Cadena Spanish Café moved to 385 Richmond Rd. in January, the former location of the Baker Street Café.
“The opportunity for me to come over here—it presented at the right time. So, the other business was closing, and I moved it over here,” said Marcelo Cadena, owner and operator of the restaurant.
Along with moving locations, Cadena also changed: it became Cadena Restaurant & Tapas Bar.
Prior to Cadena moving out of Sandy Hill, Marcelo had been working as an investor there, but became the restaurant’s owner before its move to Westboro.
“The idea of that place over there was a café, and also a combination of teaching Spanish lessons. When I moved over there, the concept changed. I didn’t want to do lessons, I didn’t want to do a café style—I wanted to have a full restaurant,” said Marcelo.
Since moving to Kitchissippi, Cadena is seeing a new demographic of customers, a change from serving mostly students in the Sandy Hill area.
“Here, we have another concept, because the demographics over here are totally different,” said Marcelo.
“There are still young people that want to come and enjoy our food, but the majority of customers here are people who are retired, semi-retired and people still working,” he added.
The food at Cadena is a mixture of Latin American, Spanish and Mexican food.
“We have all sorts of tapas that people can enjoy, we also have empanadas, we have costillas—which are ribs—[and] we have ceviche and chips and dips,” said Marcelo.
“But what we feature here is the paella, which is our major dish that we sell every day,” he added.
Marcelo has been in the culinary business for around a decade and learned to cook from his parents.
“I come from Ecuador, and the rest of my family lives in Spain, so that’s why we wanted to combine the flavours,” said Marcelo.
“For myself, I’ve been in the business of cooking for a few years. I’ve worked for several restaurants here in Ottawa, and I’ve learned all the ins and outs of the front and back of the house,” he added.
One of Marcelo’s main reasons for taking up the former Baker Street Café space is because he knew about its community legacy.
“Since the Baker Street Café was popular, some people are still coming and asking about it, and they have come and tried the food, so they really like it, and they’re becoming regulars,” he added.
His favourite part about running a business in the Westboro area is all the people in the neighbourhood.
“My favourite thing is the place itself and the amount of traffic that we have over here, there is more exposure for us,” said Marcelo.
Visit cadenarestaurant.com to learn more.