Brazilian Steakhouse Fogo de Chão Off to Sizzling Start in New Jersey

Fogo de Chão recently opened its first New Jersey restaurant at the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus.

Fogo de Chão steak
Fogo de Chão recently opened its first location in New Jersey. Photo courtesy of Fogo de Chão

With one restaurant now open in Paramus and more on the way, Fogo de Chão is off to a sizzling start in the Garden State.

The Brazilian steakhouse chain showed off its first New Jersey establishment, located at the Westfield Garden State Plaza, to members of the media and guests on Thursday night. The brand new, two-level, churrasco-style eatery includes spacious seating, a cozy upstairs lounge, “the Market Table,” and a loaded bar that serves authentic Brazilian cocktails. And of course, there are the gaucho chefs, who carve butchered, fire-roasted meats off table-side skewers.

Thursday’s grand opening event—the venue officially opened February 13—also included hors d’oeuvres, as well as exemplary service.

Strawberry Caipirinha

Fogo de Chão’s strawberry caipirinha. Photo courtesy of Gary Phillips

Founded in Southern Brazil in 1979, Fogo de Chão operates more than 70 restaurants in the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Dubai, Saudi Arabia and, of course, Brazil. The new Paramus location, however, is the company’s first to join New Jersey’s extensive list of steakhouses.

“This is our 56th restaurant in America. We’re really small,” CEO Barry McGowan said in a ribbon-cutting speech. “We’re an international brand growing in America, and we’re purposely growing in communities that we want to be part of.”

The Garden State Plaza restaurant won’t be Fogo de Chão’s only in New Jersey for long. The company also plans on expanding to Bridgewater and Wayne later this year. The Bridgewater location will call Bridgewater Commons home, while the precise Wayne location has yet to be announced.

Fogo de Chão’s rodízio menu features various cuts of steak, including filet mignon, ribeye, beef ribs, wagyu and the chain’s signature picanha, or prime top sirloin—one of the best options served at Thursday’s dinner. Medalhões com bacon, also known as bacon-wrapped steak, another popular item, were served during the cocktail hour. Careful though, as the chain’s bacon is on the spicier side.

Other menu alternatives include chicken, pork, sausage, seafood, and lamb—another especially scrumptious choice. The Market Table, meanwhile, hosts an endless assortment of charcuterie, cheeses, salads, fruits, rice and more.

Guests were also treated to a mystery dessert on Thursday; tables either received crème brûlée, tres leches cake or chocolate brigadeiro cake. This writer did his best to finish the delicious chocolate brigadeiro slice, but had to tap out early due to his filling dinner.

For all the tasty food consumed, it was the caipirinhas that stole the show. The refreshing Brazilian cocktail is created with lime, sugar and cachaça, a distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice. Other fruit flavors can be mixed in as well; the bar’s strawberry and passion fruit versions are highly recommended.

Another suggestion: pace yourself when it comes to drinks and food. Fogo de Chão has plenty to offer; you’ll want to make sure you have room for it all.

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