West County Man Brings a Piece of Brazil to Clayton
Brazilian steak house's are nothing like what you've seen before.
Sam Barakat, a native St. Louisian, opened his first Brazilian steak house, Gaucho's Brazilian Steakhouse, in Valparaiso, Indiana in 2005 after falling in love with the concept.
“Ten years ago my wife took me to a Brazilian steak house in Chicago. I didn’t have any clue what it was about. There’s Brazilian restaurants, then there’s Brazilian steak houses,” he said. He was blown away by the concept—gorgeous hunks of meat, lightly seasoned and grilled to perfection over a mesquite wood fire. The meat is brought straight from the grill to your plate by servers who roam the restaurant with fresh skewers of steak, pork or chicken.
Barakat said that each bite should be just as hot and sizzling as the next.
He wanted to move back to St. Louis to be closer to his dad, who was battling cancer.
“Dad was sick, and going back and forth to visit was too much. Things fell into place—we have this awesome spot,” he said. He found the perfect location for his second restaurant in nearby Clayton last April. The restaurant, named Brazikat, opened in December.
Barakat wanted to be within walking distance to his restaurant, so Clayton was a perfect choice. His family found a home within four blocks and he said the school district is great for his children, who are seven and four.
“They have to come here and have dinner three or four times a week,” Barakat said of his family. He loves having the kids around, but because of their young age, doesn’t allow to visit the restaurant during peak dinner hours when he needs to spend time with his customers.
Barakat hired 37 new staff for his Clayton restaurant—only two employees are from his Indiana location, which he still keeps tabs on through the internet and phone. He took everyone out to a park for training with Brazika’s portable grills while they waited for the restaurant’s kitchen to be finished and pass inspection.
Brazikat signature dish is the all-you-can-eat feast, where servers keep your plate full with hot off the grill chunks of meat. The Feast includes twelve different meats, like top sirloin, chicken wrapped in bacon, lamb, and pork Parmesan. The menu also includes standard steakhouse fair and a 21-foot gourmet salad bar.
Brazikat can cater events from a dozen people to several hundred with their portable grills. They also have private dining nooks in the restaurants, and a party room and cocktail lounge that you can rent.