Rio Steak House and Pizzeria is about more than food: it’s about creating a family-friendly atmosphere.
“We want people to feel like they’re in their own home,” Manager Elias Sayah said at the restaurant on Friday, Sept. 13.
Owner Jussara Santos opened Rio Steak House and Pizzeria in Norwood on Aug. 22. The restaurant offers numerous dishes with Brazilian flair, including fish stew in coconut oil, feijoada, a black bean stew, tabouleh, kebbe meat and lasanha, their lasagna with chicken or ground meat, marinara sauce and rice.
“We have all sorts of Brazilian food,” Sayah said. “It’s a different culture with a different kind of food. Why not give it a shot? People love our type of food, so if you’re sick of burgers, give us a shot. It’s totally different food.”
Of course, if you aren’t sick of burgers, Rio Steak House has those on the menu as well.
The highlight of the menu is the rodizio, or rotisserie, Sayah said.
“We come to you with a skewer and chop the meat for you at the table,” Sayah said. “If you’ve never had rodizio before, you’ll love it. You’ll want to eat it every day.”
Another specialty is the Picanha Na Tabua.
“That’s a New York Sirloin steak, but we do it the Brazilian way,” Sayah said.
Santos and her family know a lot about the Brazilian way. Through Sayah, she said her culinary inspiration is her parents, Verra and Jairo Santos.
“The family owns Brazilian restaurants. It’s what they do for a living back there,” Sayah said. “She wanted to bring that over here.”
Sayah said one thing that makes the Brazilian way different is there is no prepackaged prepared food or leftovers to reheat.
“We can’t heat the food up afterwards, no way. You can’t just take something and reheat it again,” Sayah said. “We don’t have anything we can just take from the fridge and heat up. We have to cook it in a big pot, the old way.”
One advantage to this style of cooking is the end result is healthier.
“It’s all healthy food, like when your mother cooks rice and beans. It’s all good stuff,” Sayah said.
The restaurant is working to donate the food leftover at the end of the day to charity, to help feed the homeless in the area. This way, they get some good, healthy food to eat and the restaurant’s unused food doesn’t end up in a dumpster, Sayah said.
While a lot of the food has a Brazilian flair, one key item doesn’t, and it makes up the “pizzeria” portion of their name. The restaurant serves thin-crust Italian pizzas with more than 20 specialty selections available. These options range from a traditional marinara pizza to a scallop and bacon pizza to a prosciutto and fig marmellata topped with prosciutto, mozzarella, baby arugula, dried figs and an aged balsamic drizzle. All the pizzas are cooked in a brick oven, Sayah said.
He believes the restaurant will be a good fit for the Norwood community, as it serves a key portion of Norwood’s population.
“There is nothing around, but there is a big community of Brazilian and Spanish (people) in Norwood,” Sayah said. “We appreciate the Norwood community coming over here. They’re all welcome.”
Rio Steak House and Pizzeria is located at 1275 Boston-Providence Highway, Norwood. They are open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. For more information, see their website, riosteakhousepizzeria.com.
Staff writer Brad Cole can be reached at 781-433-8339 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Like The Norwood Transcript and Bulletin on Facebook and follow @bradcolewrites and @NorwoodTranscri on Twitter.