Small Business Q&A: Botekim
East Cobb is home to a Brazilian bistro that serves only an a la carte menu.
Botekim is Portuguese for small bar and restaurant. A 35,000-square-foot, free-standing building at the busy intersection of Terrell Mill and Powers Ferry roads is not too small for Botekim Brazilian Bistro.
The painted floor of the front porch welcomes diners with a replica of the famous boardwalk along Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.
The black-and-white pattern primes the senses for the interior of the bistro, which is decorated with touches of Brazil, family and white linens.
Co-owners Romulo Costa and Alex DeGrossi are both sons of Rio de Janeiro.
Rio is a sister city of Atlanta, a formal relationship that began in 1972 at the request of Gov. Jimmy Carter.
Both Costa and DeGrossi studied English as Brazilian schoolboys. They said English is a common second language in Rio.
According to DeGrossi, Cobb County is home to the largest Brazilian community in greater Atlanta.
DeGrossi is Botekim's chef and takes care of the back of the house, buying food and setting the menu.
Costa is in charge of the front of the house, hiring and managing 15 full-time employees and overseeing and giving service to customers.
The partners share a decade of friendship and a desire to share Brazilian food with the community.
"In Brazil, we have a French-based culinary. There are touches of Portuguese, Italian and our original Indian in the cooking. The sauces are unique," DeGrossi says.
"We take an easy approach with regular foods that everyone will recognize and serve with traditional foods like braised yucca or a sauce made with passion fruit."
He says 99 percent of the menu uses family recipes.
Social media and traditional word-of-mouth are the only methods of marketing for the restaurant, which recently won the East Cobb Patch Readers' Choice award for best Latin American restaurant and earlier received a favorable review from Patch.
Q. What's the best thing about your job?
DeGrossi: To see people licking the plate. (Both laugh.)
Costa: To see a lot of people coming back. Seeing regulars really enjoying all their food.
Q. What is the best thing about East Cobb?
DeGrossi: The area has potential, and there are many family-oriented businesses.
Q. Why did you choose to open your business in East Cobb?
DeGrossi: We were familiar with the area and saw that it has great potential. And we saw that the community was missing a good and affordable family restaurant.
Costa: We both live here.
Q. Why did you pick this kind of business?
DeGrossi: The mission is to teach Americans what Brazilian foods are like, to show the community how Brazilians eat, to offer good and reasonably priced food. We are much more affordable than Brazilian steakhouses.
Q. How long have you been in business?
Costa: We opened July 2011.
Q. How did your business get started?
DeGrossi: This location was available, and it was time for a change. I moved to East Cobb with my wife and child from Brazil 10 years ago. I came to work in the computer industry. And I've always liked restaurants. I have been cooking since a small child; I started cooking with my grandmother.
Costa: I moved from Brazil to East Cobb five years ago, and last year was a good time to try something new.
Q. Do you have advice for anyone who'd like to start a small business in this area?
DeGrossi: Work harder than you can. Hard work pays off.