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Brazilian restaurant chain to enter U.S. market via North I-Drive

Rio de Janeiro-based Boteca do Manolo will open its first U.S. location on International Drive in the heart of Orlando's tourism corridor.
Rio de Janeiro-based Boteca do Manolo will open its first U.S. location on International Drive in the heart of Orlando's tourism corridor. (Millenia Partners)

A popular Brazilian restaurant chain will make its U.S. market entry here in Orlando on International Drive.

Marcelo Barcia will open his 12th Boteco do Manolo restaurant in the former Tilted Kilt building just north of Sand Lake Road. He signed a 10-year lease with renewable options for the second-generation restaurant, which lies in front of the future Skyplex entertainment complex.

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Millenia Partners broker Luciano Medeiros secured the 6,418-square-foot space next door to the new Golden Pod Chocolate Room. He told GrowthSpotter they zeroed in on the I-Drive submarket because he wanted to target international visitors, and still be close enough to the Dr. Phillips area to attract a local clientele.

Boteca do Manolo will serve traditional Brazilian grilled meats, along with seafood and poultry. The Orlando menu will expand to include American staples, such as burgers.
Boteca do Manolo will serve traditional Brazilian grilled meats, along with seafood and poultry. The Orlando menu will expand to include American staples, such as burgers. (Millenia Partners)

"(Barcia) knows the market and he knows the city well," Medeiros said. "He owns two properties here. He also knows Orlando is growing faster than most other U.S. cities."

Barcia said that American tourists flocked to his Rio de Janeiro restaurants during the 2016 Summer Olympics, which helped convince him that the model would succeed here -- with some tweaks.

"We can say that Manolo is active in two segments: bar and restaurant," he said. "The basis of the Brazilian menu will be maintained, but with considerable reformulation. We'll add some local meats, local fish, hamburger and some tapas-style snacks."

Some of the best-selling tapas include filet au gratin with madeira sauce, breaded shrimp stuffed with cream cheese, cod cakes, potato au gratin and chicken wings.

Medeiros said he negotiated the lease with CBRE's Alex Gordon. His restaurant consulting company brought in an expediter to secure permits and licenses and a contractor for the buildout, which is expected to cost between $600,000 and $800,000. The goal is to open in November, he said.

The new owner plans to make full use of the extensive outdoor dining area of the building, and will be installing glass garage-style doors to create an indoor-outdoor experience that's common in Brazil.

"The Tilted Kilt closed two years ago, so we couldn't activate the (liquor) license," Medeiros said. "That's why we needed to bring in an expediter. We're a full-service business consultant for restaurants, so we're going to help them buy all the equipment and furniture and hire the staff."

Barcia opened his first Manolo restaurant, which is known for its frosty beer and tapas, in 2003. His executive chef has been with the company for 15 years and will relocate temporarily to Orlando to train the kitchen staff here.

"In Rio we only work with first-rate products and legacy suppliers. But the main thing is our team, they make the difference," he said.

He said the Orlando location would feature regular live entertainment, Happy Hour drink specials and televised sports.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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