Adam Gomes knows once you’re in the family restaurant biz, you never really get out. Born in Brooklyn, he worked in his family’s restaurants from the age of 13, and even though he studied and worked in graphic design, he never really got out. “When you start in that industry, you tend to stick with it,” he says.
In 2008, he expanded his family’s business—which includes Churrascaria Plataforma in Manhattan, considered tops among the country’s Brazilian steakhouses—by opening Via Brasil in Las Vegas. This weekend, for the second time, Gomes brings another chunk of his family’s food culture to town with the Brazilian Outdoor Festival. Live music and dancers, lots of food and a carnival-style atmosphere will take over the steakhouse’s parking lot, at the southwest corner of Charleston and Rampart boulevards.
“The focus is the celebration of Brazilian Independence Day on September 7, so in New York we have this huge party every Labor Day Weekend,” Gomes says. “It’s a million-plus people, with people coming from all over just for this one day. We wanted to bring a piece of that to Las Vegas.”
Samba dancers, fire-breathers, stilt-walkers and capoeira performers (martial arts and acrobatics meets dance) will entertain while we feast on all the grilled goodness Via Brasil has to offer, and then some—off-menu street-food snacks like Brazilian kibbi will be available, too. The event benefits Opportunity Village, and there’ll be more entertainment inside the restaurant, which is open for dinner as usual starting at 3 p.m.
The last festival, in 2013, attracted 4,000 people, so plan to come early. Las Vegas’ Brazilian community may not be as massive as New York City’s, but as Gomes says, “word travels fast.”
Brazilian Outdoor Festival September 20, 4 p.m., $12. Via Brasil Steakhouse, 1225 S. Fort Apache Road, 702-804-1400.