This summer, the future of the much-beloved Cafe Brazil—which has been a mainstay in Denver’s Berkeley neighborhood for over 30 years—suddenly became a bit cloudy.

The building where the restaurant is located is one of several properties at the corner of 44th Avenue and Lowell Boulevard that was sold to a local development group this past August. While Cafe Brazil remains open at this time, the building’s owners haven’t yet indicated to the restaurant’s proprietors whether they have any other plans for the location.

“As far as Cafe Brazil is concerned, we hope to be here for a long time,” says chef Tony Zarlenga, who co-owns the South American eatery with Mauricio Zorrilla. Neither have heard from the new landlords, though, which makes the restaurant’s fate uncertain.

That makes now the perfect time for Denverites to support the business—one of the first restaurants on the Front Range to introduce locals to Brazilian cuisine. Its expansive multicultural menu draws influence beyond Brazil to include not only South America, but also Zarlenga’s native Italy, as well as the Mediterranean at large.

In fact, Cafe Brazil’s fun, friendly, and flavorful dining experiences even drew the attention of celebrity chef and TV host Guy Fieri, who featured it on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2015. The show highlighted dishes such as the Seafood Copacabana, a cuisine-blending mix of shrimp and scallops with wine, coconut milk, cream, and Parmesan cheese. But other customer favorites include the La Juliana pulled pork shoulder served in a sweet-spicy orange sauce with collards, baked plantains, and shrimp and Tortilla Spagnola, a frittata baked with spinach, potato, and smoked gouda.

The unknown future of Zarlenga and Zorrilla’s business is a reminder to support Denver’s small yet mighty community of Brazilian food businesses. Here, where to satisfy your cravings for churrasco-style barbecue, pão de queijo (cheese bread), and other bites.

Little Brazil

After over 10 years at its original location on 26th Avenue in Wheat Ridge, Little Brazil is moving to a new, larger location on 38th Avenue, a transition owner Kallen Marques hopes to complete this fall. Once complete, the restaurant will have an outdoor patio and expanded menu—think: breakfast and weekend brunch—as well as a selection of Brazilian grocery items. 7333 W. 38th Ave., Wheat Ridge

Aromo do Brazil

Specializing in the Brazilian churrasco style of barbecue (meat skewers roasted over an open flame), Aromo do Brazil offers two dining experiences. The weekday menu offers steak, chicken, and vegetarian sandwiches, as well combo meals with meats and sides, while the weekends are reserved for carving meat skewers directly at guests’ tables like what you often experience at the larger Brazilian steakhouse chains. 10722 E. Iliff Ave., Aurora


Run by native Brazilian Anna Flavia, the BraziEats food truck specializes in street food like salgados (a mix of beef, chicken, and cheese croquettes), feijoadas (black bean stew), and picanhas (grilled top round steak). You can often find Flavia parked at Raices Brewing Co. in Sun Valley or the Odell Brewing Company in Fort Collins.

Padoca Brazilian Bakery & Market

Named after a Brazilian slang term for a neighborhood bakery, Padoca in Montclair is a cafe, bakery, and market that specializes in sweet and savory treats that step away from the meat-heavy steak houses typically associated with Brazilian cuisine. Try the chocolate-based brigadeiro or the cheesy pão de queijo, with a latte. 950A Jersey St.