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Copy of Tasty Experience Bistro brings healthy food with Brazilian flair to Worcester

It’s Monday morning at Tasty Experience Bistro in Worcester and co-owner Marcela Andrade is welcoming customers the only way she knows — with a large smile and hugs.

The aroma of freshly baked cheese bread and coffee beans drifts throughout the restaurant as Andrade and her staff prepare avocado toast and omelets with bacon for two hungry patrons. As the team focuses on food, Andrade’s husband, Jeferson Andrade, takes a break from reviewing the restaurant’s finances and enters the dining room, greeting friends who offer the couple luck on their new business venture.

Marcela Andrade, 40, told MassLive that the sight of customers enjoying her food brings her immense joy — a feeling that motivates her to get up in the morning and cook for them.

“It’s not just healthy food; it’s made without oils and it’s gluten-free,” Andrade said. “My biggest concern is to care for how people feel here.”

Tasty Experience Bistro officially opened its doors to customers on May 4. Located in Worcester’s Canal District at 162 Harding St., the restaurant offers healthy food dishes and homemade recipes that are cooked with spices and flavors native to Andrade’s birthplace, Brazil. The restaurant is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. The most popular items on the menu, according to Andrade, are the avocado toast sandwiches and the Brazilian cheese bread — the latter being a recipe that her aunt taught her as a child. “She taught me how to make that bread,” Andrade told MassLive. “My grandmother would be proud and she would be surprised.”

Additionally, Andrade said Tasty Experience Bistro sells smoothies and specialized coffee. Jeferson Andrade told MassLive that the most popular drinks are the Detox Green Smoothie and the Everything Iced Latte, a coffee with espresso, dulce de leche and caramel that is topped off with whipped cream. Olga Valdman, a customer who ordered the Everything Iced Latte, told MassLive she was surprised by the enormous size of the mug holding the drink but was nevertheless happy with her purchase.

“It’s amazing,” said Valdman “It is so delicious and beautiful.”

A love for cooking and service

Born in Brazil’s northern region in 1984, Marcela Andrade said food was an important part of her childhood. She was raised on a farm with her grandmother and aunts who taught her to cook traditional Brazilian dishes. When she was old enough, she began to cook on her own and what was once just an interest soon became a passion for cooking.

“I would just sit there, watch, learn and listen,” Andrade said. “I remember them having these big pans.”

In 2008, Andrade married Jeferson Andrade and became the mother of three boys. In 2015, the family moved from Brazil to the United States and found a new home in Worcester. Even though she left her old home behind, Andrade’s passion for cooking for and serving food to others traveled with her.

Fondue at Tasty Experience BistroAdam Bass

In 2022, Andrade became a manager of the Life Garden Café, a coffee shop inside the Jesus Life Center United Methodist Church. She and her husband worked in the cafe until 2024 when the cafe changed ownership. As the manager, Andrade would make coffee and food for community members, including those who sought comfort in times of distress.

“I remember Marcela serving coffee to one girl who was going through chemotherapy,” Jeferson Andrade said. “She came in with her mother to relax. We realized that this was our purpose. To make a caring environment.”

It’s all about hospitality

In 2024, Andrade and her husband left the cafe to pursue their dream of opening a restaurant. The two formed a partnership with TMS Cleaning Services owner, Taciso Santos and his wife, who also help oversee Tasty Experience Bistro’s operations. Since the grand opening on May 4, the restaurant has seen a steady stream of customers. Andrade told MassLive the restaurant is busiest during brunch.

“I love brunch,” Andrade said, laughing. “It’s a time for talk, for meetings, for business. We need more brunch.”

The interior of Tasty Experience Bistro on 162 Harding St.Adam Bass

So far, the restaurant is continuing to see success as more customers come to try Andrade’s food. When she is not busy in the kitchen, Andrade and her husband spend time with their sons, teaching them how to cook just as Andrade’s grandmother and aunt taught her when she was a child. The Andrades said they want their sons to know that cooking is not just about making money; it’s about helping people find the comfort and care they need.

“We are not in the food industry,” Jeferson Andrade told MassLive. “We are in the hospitality industry.”

Tasty Experience Bistro is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

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