Oak Parkers with an appetite for Brazilian cuisine lost a favorite local restaurant last week, not because sales were low but over a lease dispute, according to the owners Cristiane Pereira and Andre Otero.
Taste of Brasil, 906 S. Oak Park Ave., opened in late 2009 and has gained a dedicated following, but Pereira and Otero said they were forced to close on Aug. 19 because they missed the deadline to renew the lease by four days.
Otero said their first 3-year lease included two options to renew. The couple said they told the landlord they planned to renew, but that verbal agreement was rendered invalid — the contract required a written notice — when ownership of the building changed hands.
“This has been a good lesson in making sure you read your contract and really understand what it is,” Otero said.
Pereira, Taste of Brasil’s chef, said they’ve looked to relocate in Oak Park, but the competition for restaurant space has grown since they launched the business.
“It’s become a lot more expensive than when we opened,” according to Otero.
They’re putting the restaurant search on hold, but Taste of Brasil fans might not have to wait too long before they can start ordering Pereira’s dishes again. She hinted that she already is looking into other cooking opportunities but declined to elaborate.
If Taste of Brasil does relocate, Pereira said she’s ready to up her game.
“This chapter of Taste of Brasil is important to my life, but if we reopen, then I’ll probably rethink the concept of our Brazilian menu, even though we’ll continue to be authentic,” she said.
Otero said the two will miss their customers, some of whom have been with Taste of Brasil from the very beginning.
“At the end of the day, we are all going to go away from this Earth, and what is there if not connecting to people?” he said.