The chickens are rotating in Southwest Minneapolis.
Brasa Rotisserie opened its new location in the former Studio 2 space at 46th & Bryant on Oct. 2 and by lunch time was seeing a steady stream of takeout customers and people placing orders for dinner.
Brasa chef and owner Alex Roberts grew up in Southwest and knows the area well. When the company wanted to open a third location, it sent out an informal poll to its social media followers asking where to go. The overwhelming response was South Minneapolis, Roberts said, with a preference for Southwest.
Brasa secured a lease at the former Studio 2 space in January and was planning to open in June, but COVID-19 forced the company to delay.
“We stopped everything and had to reassess,” Roberts said.
He wanted to see how well the takeout side of the business would do and evaluate the strength of the company before opening a new venture. By the end of summer, he felt comfortable committing to the Southwest location.
Before COVID, takeout and catering accounted for about 35% of Brasa’s business, Roberts said. Now that figure has doubled.
With dishes heavy on braised meats, rice and beans, and cooked vegetables like yams and collard greens, the fare is well suited to travel and reheat.
“It’s the perfect food for takeout and catering,” Roberts said.
The menus at the Northeast and St. Paul locations used to have small differences, but COVID has pushed Brasa toward unifying what’s on offer at each shop.
The Southwest location is open for takeout orders that can be placed online or at the counter. There will be seating for 45 people inside eventually, but for now there are just a few tables on the sidewalk patio for those wishing to dine at the restaurant. The plan is to continue with a counter-service model even if COVID conditions improve.
Influenced by food from the American South, Latin America and the Caribbean, Roberts said he likes to think of the fare as American Creole in the sense of being a mixture of all the nation’s cuisines.
“I truly believe Brasa is the most American food there is,” he said.
Roberts is hoping to use the adjacent, smaller space as a satellite location of sorts for his other restaurant, Restaurant Alma. He said he would offer a few menu items and also sell some organic bath and body products made by his wife.
812 W. 46th St.