Taranta Chef Jose Duarte Is Planning a Peruvian Restaurant for Chelsea
Tambo 22 will serve up anticuchos, organic wines, and agricultural innovation.
Peru native and Taranta chef Jose Duarte has lived in Chelsea for nearly 20 years—and he’s finally bringing a taste of his homeland to his adopted hometown. Pending licensing approvals, Duarte and a business partner are working on plans to open Tambo 22 at 22 Adams St. in Chelsea. A sustainable, Peruvian-inspired restaurant with a complementary wine and beer program, Tambo 22 will have direct connections to the central Andes region, thanks to some innovative partnerships.
Duarte is collaborating with the Center for Bits and Atoms fabrication lab at MIT in hopes of incorporating an aquaponics facility to try to grow herbs and aromatics unique to Peru inside the restaurant, he says. The chef also plans to leverage the relationships he’s built at the Santa Cruz Lodge, a retreat center he is helping to establish with an Andean agricultural community (including his mother and other family members), located in Huaripampa, Peru, at the foothills of the Huascaran National Park.
“One of the ideas is to try to produce some biodynamic and organic ingredients [at Santa Cruz] and utilize them at Taranta and Tambo 22,” the chef explains. What that will look like is still in the works, but Duarte is imagining helping the farming community to establish chemical-free crops like quinoa, native beans, and more, then working directly with the farmers to bring those products into his restaurants.
Duarte also wants to directly connect the farming community with chefs in Lima, Peru’s capital city, about 160 miles west. The Lodge is currently only accessible to private groups—the Taranta staff visited in January, Duarte shares—but eventually, the chef hopes it will be a place for people to visit, disconnect from their busy lives, and learn about organic food, he says.
“We want to globalize [the Huaripampa agricultural community] a little bit without changing their particular way of traditional living,” Duarte says. A “living wall” inside Tambo 22, built with MIT-developed technology that simulates the Andean climate, “would be a great story for us to share to connect what we’re trying to do there, and what we’re trying to do in Chelsea,” he adds.
Tambo 22 is named for a traditional type of Incan structure which, among other uses, provided respite and hearty meals for travelers. As far as the menu goes, expect Peruvian-inspired bar food, like a burger; anticuchos (grilled meat skewers) such as marinated beef heart; potato-based snacks called causitas, in flavors like squid with Botija olives, and lobster and shrimp; and fried pejerrey, or smelt-like silverside fish from Latin America. The small, 16-seat restaurant will stock natural and biodynamic wines and imported Peruvian beers, alongside local craft options. Duarte would love to collaborate with a Boston-area brewery to create a house chicha-style beer, he adds.
At Taranta, Duarte has focused on sustainable practices like eliminating waste, conserving energy and water, and sourcing sustainable and all-natural seafood, meats, and produce for more than a decade.
“I think we can capitalize on technology and innovation for a more sustainable future,” Duarte says. “What’s the next step, what’s out there that we can do that’s different? We can bring some positive impact for the communities around us.”
Duarte has a hearing with the city’s licensing board on April 4 where he’ll seek approval for the preliminary plans for Tambo 22. But the longtime Chelsea resident has one big advantage: He owns the building at 22 Adams St. “I’ve always wanted to open a restaurant in Chelsea. It’s one of the most densely populated cities in the U.S.,” he says. “We’re trying to make some educational impact to this community as well, by recycling, composting, just taking Taranta’s sustainability model to this little place in Chelsea.”
Duarte frequently travels to Peru, and shares glimpses of life at Santa Cruz Lodge on his personal Instagram account.
Stay tuned for more details about Tambo 22. In other Chelsea dining news, Winnisimmet Lounge—a full-service bar and restaurant from the folks behind Ciao! Pizza and Pasta—is opening imminently at 73 Winnisimmet St.