Brasa Premium Rotisserie, the casual roasted meat spot from Alma restaurateur Alex Roberts is expanding.
A new location at the corner of W. 46th St. and Bryant Av. S. in Minneapolis is expected to open this spring, Roberts told the Star Tribune.
“We had been looking to expand Brasa,” Roberts said. “We had done an informal poll on social media about where people wish there was a Brasa and, overwhelmingly, it was the south and southwest corridor of Minneapolis.”
The space he found, east of Lake Harriet, was most recently occupied by Studio 2 Cafe, and before that, Java Jack’s Coffee Cafe and the very first Rustica Bakery.
Construction should begin within the next two weeks, and Roberts is hoping for a late May or early June 2020 opening.
The first Brasa opened in 2007 in a former service station at 600 E. Hennepin Av. in Minneapolis and immediately won accolades — including Restaurant of the Year in the Star Tribune — for its West African, Caribbean and South American cooking. Two years later, St. Paul got a larger outlet at 777 Grand Av.
The new restaurant will fall somewhere between the two in size. It will have dine-in and takeout options like the other Brasas, and counter service. It’ll also be equipped for on-demand, big dinner orders for 10 to 30 people. “One of our goals with Brasa is larger-format takeout for a big dinner for a group of friends or a celebration, without having to set it up in advance,” Roberts said.
Roberts won’t rule out more growth, but “as our track record shows, we’re pretty slow and steady.”
In 2017, the James Beard Award-winner expanded his four-star Restaurant Alma, adding a casual cafe and a boutique hotel. That restaurant just celebrated its 20-year anniversary.
“We’ve always liked the idea of Brasa expanding over time and finding a way to feed people really great food affordably and make it accessible,” he said.
In the meantime, he’s ironing out a legal dispute with Lunds & Byerlys over the St. Paul Brasa location. A new grocery store and apartment building is slated to land on that site, and Roberts is fighting it.
“It’s a difficult situation we’re hoping to settle through the courts or another creative business arrangement,” he said. “Hopefully, we still have a home in St. Paul, and we will for the foreseeable future be operating in St. Paul.”