Brazilian Bread, a cafe that specializes in fresh authentic Brazilian cheese breads, opened for business in North Berkeley at 1707 Solano Ave.
Owner Delvira Rodrigues said she has missed Brazilian bread ever since she moved to the United States from Brazil, where it is a tradition to eat this special bread in the morning with coffee. She began making the bread at home for family and friends as a hobby on the weekends, but said she soon realized that her bread-making skills might have real business potential.
While traditional Brazilian bread is usually not flavored, Rodrigues has created authentic bread with new flavors. The cafe offers plain cheese, four-cheese, garlic, bacon and guava jelly bread, with two to three flavors available at any given time.
The cafe also makes a number of crepes and sandwiches using bread made from tapioca flour, as well as yucca-based foods and acai bowls, according to the menu. Fresh Brazilian coffee is also served.
“I felt it was an interesting business idea to bring some real flavor from Brazil,” Rodrigues said.
When Rodrigues first began making this bread in the United States, she used ingredients directly from Brazil, but they “made costs high.” She said she knew she would have to reduce the cost of producing the bread if she wanted to start a legitimate business, so she began experimenting with new recipes using less expensive local ingredients. It took two to three years of tinkering with the ingredients before Rodrigues was satisfied with her new bread recipe.
With her new recipe, Rodrigues started a catering business about 2.5 years ago, focusing mostly on street festivals, but kept an eye on starting a storefront. When a friend of the previous owner of the Solano location invited her to come check out the building, she said she knew the location was perfect.
“I didn’t think twice. I liked the street, walking people everywhere. It feels like a small town — people are very respectful and interesting,” Rodrigues said about the neighborhood surrounding Brazilian Bread.
The manager of the neighboring The Xocolate Bar, Frances Fernandez, said the chocolate store is rooting for the success of the new Brazilian cafe. The Xocolate Bar is also owned and run by women, and the owners want to support fellow female business owners.
“We want them to succeed, to raise each other up,” Fernandez said.
The two businesses are hoping to show how local businesses can work together to support one another. The Xocolate Bar may be planning on collaborating with Brazilian Bread in some way for its grand opening, according to Fernandez.
Brazilian Bread had its soft opening Feb. 14 and plans to hold its grand opening in late March.