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Portuguese Restaurateur Opens Brazilian Bar & Grille In Jersey City

Michael Casalinho is bringing Tamborim to the space formerly occupied by Atlas Public House on Newark Avenue.
Michael Casalinho is bringing Tamborim to the space formerly occupied by Atlas Public House on Newark Avenue. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Michael Casalinho

A local restaurateur with Portuguese roots is bringing a Brazilian bar and grill to downtown Jersey City.

Michael Casalinho -- the owner of Broa Cafe -- is opening Tamborim in the space formerly occupied by Atlas Public House on Newark Avenue.

While Casalinho himself is not from Brazil, his parents moved to a largely Brazilian neighborhood in the Ironbound section of Newark from Portugal nearly 40 years ago.

There, he said, he developed a good understanding of Brazilian culture.

Sometime last year, Casalinho began "testing the water" of Brazilian food with pop-up nights at Broa, which he opened in 2012. He changed the decor, played Brazilian music and introduced some traditional dishes. After a few months, he felt confident enough to open a Brazilian restaurant of his own, he said.

COVID-19 had other plans in store, though, and stopped Casalinho's Brazilian cafe in its tracks.

The restaurateur saw another opportunity for that a few months later, though, when Atlas closed. He got to work on Tamborim over the summer.

Casalinho described the restaurant as "colorful, vibrant and rich in Brazilian culture." The name itself means a small, round-frame Brazilian and African drum.

The menu will feature authentic Brazilian cuisine such as moqueca, a curried seafood dish, and feijoada, a black bean stew.

Casalinho is hoping for a soft opening in early November.

Tamborim, 130 Newark Ave., Jersey City.

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