Indianapolis diners will soon enjoy the flavors of southern Brazil with the Indiana debut of the internationally renowned steakhouse Fogo de Chão (pronounced fo-go dée shoun). A traditional churrascaria featuring perfectly seasoned meats, authentic gaucho chefs and impeccable service, the restaurant is scheduled to open in mid-May, just as the city welcomes guests from all over the world for the Indianapolis 500. Located at 117 E. Washington Street, Fogo de Chão is a new tenant in the structure formerly known as the "Zipper Building," because of its architectural façade, which resembled a zipper. The building has since been completely renovated. As a focal point of the redesign of its space in the building, Fogo de Chão commissioned renowned Fox Studios of Indianapolis to custom design a 12' x 8' stained glass window, incorporating an image of the restaurant's signature fire. The window will be located at the prow of the angled building. Fogo de Chão hopes the restaurant becomes a new kind of landmark for the city—one known for its cuisine and unique dining experience. The building is located in close proximity to Conseco Fieldhouse, the Indiana Convention Center and downtown businesses, hotels and cultural amenities. It will offer diners a prix-fixe menu that features unlimited servings of 15 cuts of sizzling meat roasted over an open flame.
"Though the churrascaria experience may be new for many Indiana diners, we know our superb service and food will warmly welcome them to the culture of southern Brazil," said Jair Coser, Fogo de Chão's chief executive who co-founded the company with his brother Arri in their native Brazil in 1979. "We hope Fogo de Chão contributes to the vitality and energy in downtown Indianapolis." Fogo de Chão's roots guarantee a genuine experience for diners as the restaurant's Brazilian-trained chefs follow the country's culinary tradition by cooking beef, pork, lamb and chicken on a customized churrasqueira grill. Gauchos (southern Brazilian cowboys), under the guidance of Executive Chef/General Manager Joelcir Antunes, present and slice the meats tableside from the roasting skewers, with guests controlling the pace of their meal by flipping small cards between green (more food, please!) and red (I'm on a break). Antunes comes to Indianapolis after helping to open the Chicago location five years ago. He started working as a chef with Fogo de Chão in Sao Paolo, Brazil eight years ago. While the meats take center stage at Fogo de Chão, the restaurant also boasts a gourmet salad bar featuring a variety of more than 30 items including cheeses, vegetables and cured meats; limitless sides of mashed potatoes, fried bananas, polenta and Brazilian cheese bread; an award-winning wine list; and authentic Brazilian drinks such as the caipirinha, made from sugarcane liquor, sugar and lime. Diners often end their meal with Fogo de Chão's signature dessert, the Papaya Cream, which combines fresh Brazilian papayas with vanilla ice cream and black current liqueur. Fogo de Chão is proud to have received numerous accolades since opening its first restaurant in the United States in Dallas, Texas. Named one of America's top restaurants by the Zagat Survey, Fogo de Chão has topped critics' lists in locations such as Atlanta, Beverly Hills and Chicago. Nation's Restaurant News honored the restaurant with its Hot! Concepts Award, and Wine Spectator Magazine has presented Fogo de Chão with its Award of Excellence for the past five years. The Indianapolis Fogo de Chão will seat 300 guests, including tables suitable for large groups with private and semi-private dining available.