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Fogo de Chao: A Meat-Lover’s Paradise

The classic gauchos serve some of the best meats in Atlanta. Photo: Eater Denver

For those who love beef, Fogo de Chao is a meat eater’s paradise. With roots deep in Brazil, this all-you-can-eat restaurant sits on prime real estate, located in the heart of Buckhead at 3101 Piedmont Rd.

Compared to other high-end restaurant steakhouses such as Chops or Bones, Fogo de Chao has some of the best quality and variety of meats in Atlanta. This family friendly restaurant is perfect for people of all ages, and is an excellent place for family dinners or romantic dates. The dark wood decor and low light atmosphere is comfortable but upscale, so I would suggest a nice shirt and tie for men. This is perhaps my favorite restaurant in Atlanta

Fogo de Chao is not your typical American steakhouse. It embraces its heritage of the classic Brazilian grilling style and takes it up a notch. The founding members of Fogo de Chao grew up on a Southern Brazilian ranch in Rio Grande do Sul, where they learned the classic churrasco grilling style passed down through families over generations.

In 1975, employees received formal churrasqueiro training in Sao Paulo, as they refined their skills and developed the idea of the gaucho. Soon after the first Fogo de Chao opened in 1979, the restaurant quickly became famous, gaining a reputation of excellence. Soon the restaurant made landfall in America, opening its premiere restaurant in Dallas, Texas.

Since then, Fogo de Chao has exploded in the U.S., opening 29 restaurants between 1997 and 2013, with a three-story flagship restaurant in New York City. Fogo’s success can be attributed to their unique serving styles and extreme dedication to their Brazilian-style grilling techniques.

Fogo de Chao employs an interesting take on all-you-can-eat. A squadron of gaucho servers cycle through the room constantly, each carrying a different type of meat on a skewer. Upon sitting down at the table, diners will see a circular card with a red side and a green side. This is used as an indicator for the hovering gauchos to identify who is in need of any meat. If your card is flipped to green, passing gauchos will offer you their different cuts of beef, chicken, pork, lamb and much more.

If you like what they offer, the gaucho will slice a piece off that is cooked to your satisfaction, so you receive a little more than a sample size for each kind of meat. Each of these meats have their own flavor profile, and are grilled using the churrasco style. The meats are accompanied by family style mashed potatoes and plantains.

For those who also prefer some foliage in their diet, do not fret because this prestigious establishment also includes an all-you-can-eat market table option. This salad bar includes much more than just your classic caesar, as it also incorporates Brazilian flavors such as cured meats and delicious aged cheeses. I would personally recommend a light trip to the salad bar, in order to save room for more meats.

I have never had a bad experience at Fogo de Chao after several years of loyalty to the restaurant. The staff are always polite and flexible, and although it’s a bit pricey, I would highly recommend everyone eat there at least once.