Over the weekend, the Triangle’s only Brazilian steakhouse closed for good.
Ending a 16-year run in Brier Creek, Brasa Brazilian Steakhouse announced the closing on its social media accounts. Owner Payman Bazooband said the restaurant remained successful, but a long-term lease wasn’t offered.
“It’s very heartbreaking,” Bazooband said in a phone interview. “(Brier Creek) wanted change. They would not renew my option, because they said they want a different look for the shopping center and a different style of food.”
Bazooband has been a prolific restaurateur in the Triangle for nearly 30 years and opened the area’s first Brazilian steakhouse, Rio Churrascaria, in 2004. He also owns CrazyFire Mongolian Grill and previously owned Red Monkey Tavern in Crabtree Valley Mall.
Brasa opened in 2006 in the newly built Brier Creek Commons, offering all-you-can-eat grilled steak carved tableside from skewers. Bazooband said the restaurant remained successful through its nearly two-decade run, making $4 million last year.
But Brasa’s lease ended 18 months ago and has been operating on short-term extensions since. Bazooband said he was offered an option to keep the space if he changed the restaurant concept.
“Why would I want a different style of restaurant, something else, and not the concept I had?” Bazooband said. “You don’t walk away from a $4 million business.”
Brier Creek Commons is owned by Charlotte-based American Asset Corporation. A call to the Brier Creek owner requesting comment was not returned Tuesday.
Instead of signing another short-term lease extension for Brasa, Bazooband elected to close the restaurant abruptly. He announced the closing on the restaurant’s Facebook page, with an image of the front door and the message, “(Brasa) is permanently closing due to inability to renew our lease attributable to the landlord not liking the Brazilian concept in ther (sic) shopping center. We will miss you!!!”
The post revealed an enormous and passionate following of Brasa fans, collecting more than 2,600 shares and comments, including some calling it the best restaurant in Brier Creek.
“We have a lot of followers and loyal customers,” Bazooband said. “I wanted to explain to them what happened and why we closed. It’s very heartbreaking.”
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