B-Side Lounge, East Coast Grill Alumni to Open The Automatic in Cambridge

David Cagle and Chris Schlesinger are collaborating on a neighborhood cocktail bar and restaurant.

The Automatic

The Automatic will open spring 2016 at 50 Hampshire St., Cambridge. / Image via Google Maps

A new cocktail bar and restaurant is rising from the ashes of two bygone Cambridge landmarks. The Automatic will open this spring on the edge of Kendall Square, courtesy of longtime B-Side Lounge bartender David Cagle and grillmaster and East Coast Grill founder Chris Schlesinger.

The Automatic’s bar program will be rooted in classic cocktails, modernized by Cagle’s years of experience at the B-Side as well as Deep Ellum, Green Street, and Trina’s Starlite Lounge. Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli, and an alum of Island Creek Oyster Bar, Eastern Standard, and Craigie on Main (and nephew of the chef), is building a wine list, and there will be some canned beer selections, as well.


Cagle told Eater Boston that it’s too early to share details about the food, but it will “definitely have that Chris Schlesinger mark on it.” The chef is known for barbecue, live fire cooking, and seafood, notably at the East Coast Grill, an Inman Square landmark he opened in 1986. Schlesinger sold East Coast Grill in 2012, and it recently shuttered for good. The prolific restaurateur and cookbook author also opened Jake and Earl’s Dixie BBQ and the Blue Room in Cambridge, and the Back Eddy in Westport. At the Automatic, Schlesinger is in a consulting chef role, and he and Cagle are looking to hire an executive chef, Eater Boston reported. The Automatic plans to serve lunch and dinner daily, with the kitchen open until midnight.

The new venture is going in at 50 Hampshire Street, the current location of Atasca. That Portuguese restaurant will shutter this spring after about 16 years, Atasca owner Joe Cerqueira told Eater. The Automatic will seat 74 inside, across banquettes, booths, a communal table, and a long bar; it will also have a 40-seat seasonal patio. Cagle, a vinyl record collector, will bring in turntables for the bar’s entertainment.

The industry veterans are creating a neighborhood spot where they would like to spend their days off, Cagle said. He’s building an “all-star front-of-house staff,” and will mix drinks as well as manage the new venture.

Cagle is targeting mid-May to open the Automatic. He goes before the Cambridge License Commission for a full liquor license on February 23.

The Automatic, 50 Hampshire St., Cambridge; Instagram.