For the past 15 years, Cafe Brazil co-owner Tony Zarlengo has cooked bowls of feijoada—a Brazilian bean stew—for his restaurant crew’s family meals. Somewhere along the way, Zarlengo realized that he was onto something: Not only were the slow-cooked beans delicious, but, when topped with braised meats and fresh salsas, they were the ideal base for quick-to-serve, affordable, and healthful meals. Now, he’s making those feijoada bowls the star of 27-year-old Cafe Brazil’s new lunch concept, which launches today.
“We want to test it out and see if it can stand alone as a fast-casual, Chipotle-type setup. Use it as a model for something bigger,” says co-owner Mauricio Zorrilla. The trial lunch menu offers four feijoada bowls—vegetarian, chicken thigh, pork shoulder, and beef brisket—along with salads and sides such as fried yucca, pao de queijo (a naturally gluten-free Brazilian cheese bread), and grilled eggplant. Zarlengo is using a variety of heirloom beans from Spain and South America (Ayacote, Anasazi, and Alubia) for the bowls, which start at just $9.50. “It’s a celebration of country-style, one-bowl rustic dishes,” Zarlengo says.
For now, lunch is available from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Wednesday through Friday.
4408 Lowell Blvd., 303-480-1877