Former Cape Cod restaurateur prepares a garden meal befitting her Azorean roots

On a recent warm, Cape Cod afternoon, some Cape Cod LIFE staffers and I accepted an invitation for lunch at the home of our longtime friend, Rita Pacheco.

As we traveled along the sort of bumpy dirt lanes that were commonplace on the Cape years ago, venturing around blind corners and deep into the woods, we left behind the buzz of vacationing families in a beachside community in Falmouth and entered into what seemed a completely different world, one that moved at a slower, calmer pace. Stepping out of our cars, we were transported to the Old World—and to a wonderful afternoon meal with friends.

Our Lunch with Rita

Photo by: Josh Shortsleeve

With a long and successful history of operating local businesses—Rita and her husband, Rob previously owned the Quarterdeck Restaurant, The Beachmoor Restaurant & Inn, and Ivies, a floral and home design shop—Rita possesses an uncommon flair for hospitality and décor. The couple owns a lovely, shingle-style home in Falmouth, and immediately upon approaching the front door, interesting design details begin to catch our attention.

As we waited at the door, I glanced to my right to discover a massive, wrought iron window box on the porch that was full of heart-shaped stones Rita had found on her beach walks. Whatever awaited us on the other side of the door was bound to be special, I thought, and perhaps even magical.

Rita greeted us with her usual smile and warm spirit, a welcome her patrons would fondly remember, and somehow she also exuded a refreshing coolness despite the day’s humidity.