Ataula's Jose Chesa

Image: Karen Brooks

For those still mourning the loss of NE Broadway’s Chesa and 180 Xurros, fret not: as Portland Monthly has learned, Jose Chesa and his team are back in action with Masia (pronounced “mah-seeya”), a new anchor restaurant set to open inside the new 15-story Hyatt Centric hotel on the corner of SW Alder and 11th in January 2020. He’s the latest chef in an increasingly long line of local talent (Vitaly Paley, and Doug Adams, etc.) to make his mark on Portland’s hotel boom.

Masia, a type of iconic, historic farmhouse common in Catalonia and Southern France, was often used as a weekend getaway or functional agrarian gathering space for families starting in the 12th century. Chesa, whose grandfather built their family masia over a century ago, chose the name to represent the restaurant’s devotion to the hyper-local farm-to-table movement, but also a communal, familial ethos he hopes will resonate, even in the 3000-square-foot space.

Things are still unfolding, but here’s what we know:

- Chesa, his wife/biz partner Cristina Baez, and Ataula general manager Emily Metivier have formed a restaurant group, Egg White Hospitality, to manage the operation.

- There will be breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and a special vermouth happy hour. (Some kind of room service is in the works, although don’t count on arros negre served tableside quite yet). “It’ll be a new side of Jose that he’s yet to show us,” says Baez.

- Brunch will mimic Ataula’s own short-lived but much beloved Sunday brunch program: bacon and egg paella and a burger are both in the works. Critically, they’ll be bringing back 180’s unparalleled, fresh-fried xurro menu.

- The vibe and aesthetic is meant to mimic a traditional masia, with “linear, clean lines, stone, and cement—very Mediterranean at heart,” explains Baez. Expect communal tables, a chef’s counter near the kitchen, and an epic vermouth display.

- A grab ‘n go counter/coffeeshop in the lobby will offer sweet and savory treats influenced by old-school Spanish markets, potentially with rolled-up flautas, bread rubbed with tomato or ham and cheese, and Spanish tortillas, among other things. 

This year, Chesa and Baez have been running on all cylinders at Ataula, putting out some of the best food the kitchen has ever dreamed up, following the shuttering of their dream restaurant, Chesa, in 2017.  “Chesa [the restaurant] is something that still breaks my heart,” says Chesa. “It was the hardest thing for me. But thanks to all of the support from people since I closed, I was able to get my feet back up and keep going. It’s like Steve Jobs getting fired and coming back. Everything happens for a reason.” 

Stay tuned for more details in the coming months.

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