PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — At the corner of Smithfield and Oliver in Downtown Pittsburgh, once home to Saks Fifth Avenue, a building is going up with over 70 condo units.
But it’s a new restaurant on the first level that will attract the most attention.
“It’s Fogo de Chao, so it’s almost like you say S-H-A-O-N. Fogo de Chao,” said general manager Nic Kroge, helping with the Portuguese pronunciation.
Fogo de Chao is Portuguese for “ground fire,” the name of a Brazilian steakhouse opening in Pittsburgh on April 23.
“We’ve always been interested in Pittsburgh, so for many years we’ve just been trying to find the best location and the perfect timing,” Kroge told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.
Kroge says staff are being trained to give Pittsburgh a unique dining experience. And it’s all about meat.
“Each gaucho chef, these chefs are extremely skilled, to butcher, season, grill specific cuts of meat, and they’re going to carve them directly to the table,” adds Kroge.
The meat includes beef, lamb, pork, and chicken — and it’s all you can eat.
So here’s the way it works at a Brazilian restaurant.
For most of your appetizers, salads, and side dishes, you go to the self-serve food bar in the restaurant. But when it comes to your main meal, there’s a special ticket – red on one side and green on the other.
If the red ticket is face up, you’re going to be ignored by the gaucho chefs.
But once you turn it to green, you will be offered 17 different cuts of meat. You’ll choose one cut, turn the ticket over to red, and wait until you’re ready to eat again. Then, go green.
Top chef Carlos Girotto, now in Pittsburgh after opening a Fogo in Saudi Arabia, gave his recommendation to the first-time diner.
“Definitely, we have a cut called ‘picanha.’ It’s the prime part of the sirloin, like the most traditional Brazilian cut. So there you have to try it. It’s unbelievable,” said Girotto.
And it sure is!