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Casa de Cha Cha’s opening soon in Massena

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MASSENA - If all goes according to Maya Garcia’s plan, Massena will once again have a Mexican restaurant in the village by the end of next month.

Ms. Garcia is opening Casa de Cha Cha’s.

“We’re hoping to be open by the middle of next month, but we’ve got a lot of work to do,” she said, while sitting in a booth in the former Italian on the Run on South Main Street. Ironically, Italian on the Run has relocated to the Harte Haven Plaza, now occupying a space formerly held by Amigo’s, the last non-fast food Mexican restaurant in the village.

Ms. Garcia said, Casa de Cha Cha’s translates as the house of servants or house of helpers, referrting to the kind of experience she’s hoping customers will have at the restaurant.

“It’s going to be authentic Mexican food,” she said, adding only fresh produce and meats will be used.

“None of our meats or veggies will ever be frozen.”

Casa de Cha Cha’s will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Ms. Garcia said while the menu remains a work in progress the breakfast offerings will include machaca, a dish made with scambled eggs, seasoned shredded beef and grilled vegetables. Ms. Garcia also said they’ll serve chorizo, a mexican sausage, as well as a variety of breakfast burritos.

The lunch menu will include the traditional tacos, burritos, quesadillas and nachos.

Mitch O’Brien, who is going to be cooking at the restaurant ,said, “For our tacos we’re going to fry our own shells.”

He described their shells as crunchy, but not too crunchy. “They won’t crumble like the ones from a dinner kit,” he said.

The dinner menu will offer up combo platters that will be served with homemade beans and rice, enchiladas, chimi changas as well as a couple of specialty items. Carnitas. she said, is a shredded pork platter served with beans and rice, and carne asada, a platter with marinated strips of steak that will also be served with beans and rice.

“We want to be known for our carne asada,” she said.

The menu will also include the aptly named “Mexican poutine.”

Mr. O’Brien suggested the name after hearing Ms. Garcia describe carne asada fries, a dish served on a bed of french fries with diced steak, cheese, vegetables, guacomole and sour cream.

“It’s really good. I’m getting hungry talking about it,” Ms. Garcia said.

Mr. O’Brien said the menu, which will also include homemade soups and periodic lunch and dinner specials ,will remain a work in progress for the first several weeks, as they try to determine what items customers have taken a liking to, but one thing will remain constant and that’s flexibility in the kitchen.

“If I got it in the back, I’ll put it together for you,” he said, adding just because they’re a Mexican restaurant doesn’t mean everything they serve is going to be spicy.

Ms. Garcia reiterated that point. “Nothing will be spicy unless you want it spicy, but if you want it spicy, we’ll be able to make it spicy.”

She also said she’s hoping to be supportive of local schools and organizations.

The restuarant will be debuting its community service efforts next month when the Massena High School spring ticket packages become available. The brochures, which are available for $20 each, will include coupons to Casa de Cha Cha’s as well as several other area businesses.

“Anything to do with kids I’m all for,” she said.

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