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Paulista: What’s in a Name

By March 9, 2017Behind the Scenes

For us, settling on a name for our to-be restaurant was a tricky process. Starting with a blank slate, Jesse and I complied words that embodied our goals of providing a family-friendly environment with great food and a fun vibe. We had everything from names of our favorite Brazilian cities to “Casa (pronounced ‘cah-za’, meaning ‘home’)” to “Terra (pronounced ‘te-ha’, meaning ‘Earth’)”. So how did we settle on Paulista?

First, Paulista means “a person from São Paulo, Brazil” which is in the southeast part of Brazil, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Paraná e Mato Grosso do Sul. I resonate with this personally, being from São Paulo and all.


Underneath the beautiful parks, stunning city life, and great gastronomy, São Paulo has an eccentric yet relaxed and friendly vibe that appeals to almost everyone that takes the time to get to know my home city. Everything about São Paulo, especially the people, has a chill atmosphere, and we realized, that’s exactly what we want our restaurant to have.

Another contributing factor in name-picking, was pronunciation. Since we dabbled in only Brazilian words, we had to factor in how people said each word. Since, Brazilian portuguese and Spanish are such similar languages, most people would pronounce the different options with a spanish accent and pronunciation instead of with portuguese influence. For example, our other choices were “Casa e Terra”, meaning “House and Earth”, “Bauru”, “Fortaleza” and “Bahia” which are all Brazilian cities. We decided to survey kids, since we all know they’re the most honest. We found that they liked Paulista the most. After conducting many surveys (with kids), we found that most people liked “Paulista” the most and it was also the word with the highest correct pronunciation.


To be more specific, Parati was one of our top choice, which is a historical city in Brazil on the coast, between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. It’s known for its gorgeous beaches and very relaxed, family friendly vibe; it’s also one of my family’s favorite spots to visit when traveling. The only thing holding us back from naming our restaurant Parati was pronunciation. During our informal pronunciation trials, we found that most people mispronounced Parati as “puh-rah-tee” instead of the correct “pa-ra-chi”; this was a challenge but eventually led us to Paulista.

So that was it: we found an easy to pronounce word that fully represents authentic Brazilian roots that we can’t wait to share with you and our community.

Alex Y.

Author Alex Y.

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