2016-04-20 / Front Page

Playing The Berimbau To A Different Tune In NYC.

The last think crossing Mario Espindola’s mind when he was growing up in Rio de Janeiro in the 8o’s was moving to America and open a restaurant  with an authentic Brazilian menu in New York City. Like millions of Brazilians, soccer was his favorite pastime.  Mr. Espindola used to go every Sunday to Maracana stadium to watch his favorite team play. He is a fanatic fan for Flamengo, the most popular soccer team in Brazil. Soccer, Brazilian Rock & Roll, and Rio’s famous beaches (in this order) were the triumvirate in his young years. When was time for his college education he chose law. He did not want to go into the family business. His dad own a famous bakery in Rio.

Fifteen years ago he dropped college, and left all that. Like any other immigrant who arrive without much knowledge of the America, he toiled in different restaurants learning the trade and how restaurants operate in the big apple while also improving his English skills. After working long hours and save money he decide to dig his hands in the tough restaurant business in NYC. The city could not be pleaser.

Seven years ago the restaurant Berimbau was opened the in Manhattan. The name means a famous percussion instrument brought by Africans to the Brazilian shore during the slave trade and was used by former slaves to play while a martial dance called capoeira was presented. Capoeira was used by slaves to fight off the Portuguese slave masters. For many decades Brazilian government banned this martial art.

Brazil has a very rich and diverse culture where aspects of indigenous, African and European created what is called today Brazilian culture. Mr. Espindola’s family represents this diversity. His father is of Portuguese descent while his mother has African roots.

It was with this diversity in his mind that Mario created a unique Brazilian menu with dishes from different regions of the vast country. Any day of the week you can try the national Brazilian dish called feijoada, beans stew with different parts of pork served with rice, collard greens orange and yucca flower, or you can try the famous “churrasco” a Brazilian style barbecue. At Berimbau you can also savor the Brazilian signature drink called caipirinha, made with the traditional Brazilian rum mixed with dice lemon and sugar.

Not all is business with Mr. Espindola. Recently he got involved with “Nueva Power”, a national social movement using music as a tool to empower disenfranchised minorities with Latino and African roots developed by Professor Daniela Medina.

You can know more about “Nueva Power” and its fundraiser and help spread the world at:

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