People have been gobbling up authentic Brazilian cuisine at Casa Brasil in Highland Park since the pop-up eatery opened in 2018.
Now that they’ve decided to permanently occupy the space at 5904 Bryant St., co-owners Keyla Nogueira Cook and Tim Guthrie want their customers to experience traditional Brazilian beverages as well.
“We are BYOB, but a lot of people don’t know that,” says Cook, a self-taught chef who grew up in São Paulo, Brazil. “On a daily basis, people ask about our drink menu.”
In late-October, the pair launched a Honeycomb Credit campaign to raise money for a liquor license. So far, 59 investors have contributed 78 percent of their $90,000 goal. The offering will only be funded if at least $75,000 is generated by March 2. The minimum investment is $100 and terms of the investment are explained on the Honeycomb site.
Once the liquor license is obtained, Cook and Guthrie plan to serve beer, wine and spirits, classic American drinks and Brazilian favorites such as caipirinha, the country’s national cocktail made with rum, sugar and lime. Alcoholic beverages would be available in the 24-seat dining room, downstairs event space and at off-site locations catered by Casa Brasil.
The money will also allow the restaurant to expand its business hours. Currently, Casa Brasil is open Wednesday through Friday from 5:30 to 9 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cook and Guthrie plan to rename the downstairs event space, which they liken to The Bodega at Gaucho Parrilla Argentina. Over the past 18 months, they’ve hosted live performances, private dinners, movie nights, poetry readings and dance parties with a third-party vendor slinging the booze.
This Saturday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., the basement will be home to Carnaval da Casa Brasil, a celebration of the country’s culture through music, face painting and a costume contest. Guthrie, aka DJ SMI, will be spinning. Admission is $10.
Cook hopes to introduce a separate bar menu. As of now, Casa Brasil’s menu features appetizers, side dishes and entrees that highlight underrepresented regions of the South American country.
The Vaca Atolada is a yuca stew slow-cooked in tomato sauce, spices and yuca root that is served with white rice, beans and a salad. Nearly all menu items are gluten-free and the main courses, which change periodically, can be made vegan or with beef or chicken.