Gilda brings Portuguese
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Gilda brings Portuguese

Apr 16, 2023

Call out, "Hey, Brian!" at the sunny, new Gilda — a Portuguese-inspired cafe and market on a Fishtown corner — and both chef-owners may look up.

They’re Brian Oliveira and Brian Mattera, who met in 2017 in the same space at Girard Avenue at Marlborough Street when it was the groundbreaking no-tipping restaurant known as Girard. Oliveira was chef-co-owner and Mattera was a regular who dropped in after his bartending shift nearby. They ended up working together at Girard, where they fell in love and started a catering company, Happy Hour Hospitality, and a Portuguese side project, Cozinha, before getting married in May 2021.

The Brians’ calling card is the cinnamon-infused custard tart known as pastel de nata. They also sell a line of other pastries and breakfast/lunch items. Coffee/espresso is through a partnership with Elixr Roasters. From the counter, they sell specialty food products, prepared foods, and household goods.

They took inspiration from Oliveira's background as the American-born son of Portuguese immigrants from Newark, N.J.

The name comes from Mattera's grandmother, Gilda — say it JILL-dah, as you would in her native Italian and also in Portuguese.

They’re keeping true to Oliveira's upbringing by getting their bread daily from Teixeira's Bakery in Newark.

Besides the pastéis de nata, which come in rotating flavors such as lemon raspberry, dark chocolate and sea salt, coconut almond, and strawberry-rhubarb and basil, they offer sandwiches on Portuguese rolls such as the Antonio (house-made linguiça patty, fried egg, and Cooper sharp with breakfast sauce) and bifana (white wine and garlic-marinated pork cutlet with dijon and cabbage slaw), plus salt cod fritters (pastéis de bacalhau) and char-grilled piri piri chicken.

The market side has chouriço, cheeses, pantry staples, snacks, and chocolates, and there's small variety of housewares, cookbooks, and branded merch.

Elixr has their La Marzocco espresso machine pumping out bicas (long shots of espresso with sugar in the raw; they also sell mazagrans (cold brew and fresh squeezed lemon with honey and mint).

As for the wage structure: Back in 2014, Oliveira and then-partner Christian Mora made headlines with a system that factored 20% gratuity to their menu pricing to provide a living wage. Though they added a tip line, the idea ran for four years till Oliveira sold Girard in 2018.

At Gilda, they said, everyone is making at least $15 an hour plus tips (which will be pooled) and they will guarantee $20 an hour in tips and wages.

Hours are 8 a.m to 4 p.m. daily except Tuesday.