'It doesn't make sense': Brasa Brazilian Steakhouse closed for good against owner's wishes

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ByCindy Bae via WTVD logo
Thursday, August 4, 2022
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The flames are out at Brasa Brazilian Steakhouse, a restaurant decked with two stone towers and burning torches at a corner at Brier Creek Commons.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The flames are out at Brasa Brazilian Steakhouse, a restaurant decked with two stone towers and burning torches at a corner at Brier Creek Commons.

The Triangle's only authentic Brazilian steakhouse featured a variety of grilled meats served at the table and buffets where people can eat side dishes from the "hot bar," or salads and appetizers.

But it was empty on Thursday.

That's because people looking for lunch at Brier Creek now have one less eatery to choose from.

"It is sad," Raleigh resident Julius Bankole said. "I wonder why they closed."

The mainstay ended a 16-year run in Brier Creek, citing the inability to renew their lease after refusing to change their restaurant concept.

"I said 'No, why would I want to do that?'" owner Payman Bazooband said. "I already have a successful restaurant. I have followers. I have an established business. Why would I want to close that and start up another concept, which I don't know if it's going to make it or not?"

Bazooband said they were nearing the end of the lease as the landlord searched for a "different concept," which Bazooband took as a different look and different food for the shopping center. Bazooband was offered short term leases, but didn't want to remain as an option until they found something to replace the restaurant with.

"I don't know what they were looking for," Bazooband said. "But they did not offer me a lease. This part of it still doesn't make sense to many people in the industry."

The restaurant's ongoing success included making $4 million last year, the best year to date. Plus, Bazooband said they were on track to beat that record this year.

"It doesn't make sense," Bazooband said. "How could you not renew a successful restaurant?"

American Asset Corporation, which is based in Charlotte, owns Brier Creek Commons. ABC11 reached out to AAC for a comment.

"It was really busy," former Brasa employee Caroline Moore said. "On Friday, Saturday nights, we would see 300-400 people."

Moore, who was a server and hostess, ended up finding another job.

"It was actually pretty easy, but everybody wasn't able to do that, so I'd imagine it's been kind of hard for everybody else," Moore said.

Moore's one of 80 employees Bazooband had to let go.

"Laying off 80 people -- a lot of longtime people -- that hurt, and also, a lot of loyal customers. It was the only one in the city, in the Triangle, of this concept," Bazooband said. "And it was hard, it was heartbreaking."