The joke is that Chef Kelly Q. Dietrich will do anything for publicity. Four fire trucks showed up on Thursday, April 12, for the "soft opening" of his new Burlington restaurant, Souza's Brazilian Steakhouse. Eateries often opt to launch quietly - and without advertising -in order to "train the staff and work out all the kinks." Smart move.
"We ran into a pretty big kink," Dietrich declares. The smoky, traditional cooking method he employs was apparently too much for the ventilation system's motor to handle. "The kitchen filled up with smoke, so we opened the window," Dietrich reports. "And then . . . the whole building filled up with smoke." Dinner was officially over when the fire department arrived on the corner of St. Paul and Main streets.
"Over the weekend we put in a whole new exhaust system," says Dietrich. "It's actually overkill now. The fire marshal gave us his stamp of approval." The restaurant re-opened for dinner last Wednesday, and is now serving lunch, too.
Aside from the new digs, the restaurant added a couple of new features since it moved up Main Street. "We went ahead and built this giant salad bar that's got, like, 40 items on it; it's not just broccoli florets and carrot sticks," Dietrich says. Sounds like the new incarnation has more for those who don't eat carne.
Dietrich is also proud of the restaurant's fully stocked, mobile bar. It allows servers to make tableside drinks, such as the house special "Caipirinha." While the name might evoke flesh-eating Amazonian fish, it's actually a blend of Brazilian rum, fresh lime juice and sugar.