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February 2017

Awesome Paulista piece in Nosh

By Behind the Scenes No Comments

Two friends are teaming up to open Paulista in Oakland’s Glenview district

It’s taken almost six years, but this summer, a dream of two friends will finally come true. It will be in the form of Paulista, a Brazilian restaurant and craft beer bar, headed to the former Rumbo al Sur location in Oakland’s Glenview district.

But Paulista won’t be a Brazilian restaurant of the churrascaria steakhouse sort; instead, it will focus on home-style comfort food drawn from the wide range of native and immigrant cooking in the South American country.


Co-owners Jesse Madway and Alex Yamamoto met as parents of kindergarteners at Glenview Elementary in 2011. The two immediately hit it off and began talking about their passions — Madway is a longtime home brewer and self-described craft beer nerd and Yamamoto, who was born in Brazil, is a lifelong cook and Brazilian “food enthusiast.” During these discussions, they came up with a vision for a craft beer taproom that serves Brazilian cuisine, the kind of food that locals eat on a daily basis. They believed such a restaurant, bolstered by a hyper-local beer list, could be a real community draw in their neighborhood.


Yamamoto told Madway that there are plenty such places in his hometown of São Paulo, but for whatever reason, the trend hasn’t yet caught on in the states.

The partners started drawing up plans for their restaurant, but life continued to intervene. It took until last summer for the idea to truly take hold. And as it happens a new restaurant space, perfect for their vision, had become available. The old Rumbo al Sol, with its large bar and 160-seat dining area, was open.

It’s right down the street from both Madway’s and Yamamoto’s homes and will offer patrons plenty of space to bring their families and friends.

“There are so many young families here,” said Yamamoto. “Paulista will be opening in this little strip of businesses that are all really small. It’s challenging for them to accommodate families. … We want to make Paulista a place where our kids can come and have fun too.”


Added Madway: “Paulista … is going to be a gathering place with great food and great beer, an anchor for the community where they can meet for food and drinks at all hours. … Our neighborhood doesn’t currently have that.”

The partners have already involved families in their planning process. They knew they wanted the restaurant to have a Brazilian name, but Portuguese tends to be challenging for Americans to pronounce. So they enrolled a group of kids to test out over a dozen different restaurant name options to see what what easiest to say. The answer was Paulista, which translates to “a person from São Paulo.”

Madway and Yamamoto intend for Paulista to be open all day long, from around 7 a.m. until at 10 p.m., and later on the weekends. It’ll serve its menu in phases, starting with healthier breakfast options like acai bowls and smoothies, and moving towards heartier fare, in both individual and sharable sizes, as the day progresses. Yamamoto will run the kitchen and Madway will be “the beer guy,” he said.

Yamamoto, who ran a similar restaurant called Yes Brazil in Hiroshima, Japan in the 1990s, is drawing on a range of influences for the menu. Its highlights include coxinhas, Brazilian croquettes with chicken and cheese or vegetable filling; feijoada, a rich, soulful stew of sausages, collards, oranges and black beans; moqueca, a Northeastern Brazilian stew made with fish and coconut milk; and esfihas, flatbreads of Arabic origin with a range of flavorful toppings. Much of the menu, especially at dinner, will be structured around shareable small plates.

paulista_coxa“The menu will be Brazilian fusion because the country is such a melting pot,” said Yamamoto. “There’s African and Arabic influence, and there is even Italian influence in some dishes.”

What there won’t be are servers walking around with grilled meat on sticks.

“It’s been a challenge for me to find traditional Brazilian homestyle food here in the states,” said Yamamoto. “Most of what we see here are steak houses, which are delicious, but that’s not what we eat every day.”

For his part, Madway hopes to celebrate the growing cadre of beer makers in the East Bay to populate the restaurant’s 30 taps. “We’ll have a hyper-local craft beer focus,” he said. “We want to take advantage of all the beer being made here and highlight all of the new brewers we have.”

His local tap list will, he said, be a natural extension of the restaurant’s community focus. “We may have some beers not from the immediate area, but the focus will be on the best, the freshest beers we can get.”

Paulista will also serve wine, but will not have a full bar.

Madway and Yamamoto are currently in the process of applying for a new conditional use permit to operate the restaurant all day long. (Its current permit is only for evening hours.) Once the permit has gone through — “We’re feeling good about it,” said Madway — they will begin construction.

Madway said he hopes to be up and running by July 1.



Nosh on This!

By Behind the Scenes One Comment

It’s been a big week for us. As we continued to inch our way through our 17-day posting of our change of hours to our conditional use permit, we posted our 30-day Type-41 Beer and Wine application notice. All the while, we continue to prepare for our initial health department visit, get ready for our build-out, make final decisions on our floor-plan, our signs, our tabletops, our glassware, and it goes on, and on, and on. Oh, and work at our day jobs (yes, we both still have those).

And who knew that you have to notify all neighbors within a 500-foot radius on your liquor license application via U.S. Mail? And no, you can’t hand deliver the notification – we’re talking post office. How do you even figure out who to deliver these to? A combination of walking and the internet, as it turns out, is the answer. In the end, we learned that there are about 200 addresses within 500 feet of us – that’s a lot of stamps! It’s also, obviously, a lot of potential Paulista customers, so ultimately, this is a good thing.

But the best part of our week was getting our first non-social media press via Berkeleyside Nosh. Big thanks to Kate Williams for the really well-written piece! I’ve been a part of quite a few newspaper and internet write-ups over the years, and this is honestly the first time where a reporter has gotten it all 100% right! We will be fans of hers for life.

Thanks for reading!

Mount Paulista

By Beer World 3 Comments

In honor of SF Beer Week, this bit of beer geekery appeared in the Chronicle this past weekend, asking some of their writers what they thought were the 4 most iconic beers ever made in the Bay Area. The “Mount Rushmore” of Bay Area beers.

Paulista’s list looks like this:

Anchor Steam – That’s an easy one. No Anchor Steam, no craft beer, no Paulista.

Lagunitas IPA – For years this was THE IPA in the Bay Area. In fact people would walk into a bar, and just order an “IPA” because they thought that there was only one.

Pliny The Younger – If people camp out overnight in the rain for a beer, it gets to be on Mount Rushmore.

Bombay By Boat IPA – Our top 3 picks are rather obvious, but here’s our underground pick. Moonlight Brewing started making this beer back in 1992! One of the first IPAs made in the U.S. And you can still get it today.

Okay future and fellow Paulista beer nerds, what’s on your Mount Rushmore of Bay Area beers?


Paulista Team

Paulista: The Road Back Home

By Behind the Scenes 38 Comments

Welcome to the very first Paulista blog entry!

Right here, in this very space, at least a couple of times a week, we will update you on the latest craziness involved in opening our restaurant and taproom. We hope it proves a bit therapeutic for us, and at the very least, informative and entertaining for you.

So normally our entries will be about what’s happened in the last couple of days as we move towards opening up, but for this first one we’re going to have to go back a ways – way back to the fall of 2011.

That’s when Alex and I met – as parents of kindergarteners in Mr. Witte’s class at Glenview Elementary. My daughter Ellis and Alex’s daughter Mimi became fast friends, and soon were referring to each other as best friends; Alex’s wife, Kimi, and I realized that her best friend from her days at Oakland’s McChesney Junior High (now Edna Brewer MS!) was my best friend’s wife; and Alex and I began to talk about our two passions in life – for Alex, Brazilian food and culture, and for me, beer. Before long, we had come up with this crazy idea of starting a craft beer taproom that featured authentic Brazilian food. And this isn’t a crazy concept, Alex told me. In São Paulo, there are these beer focused restaurants that do exactly what we want to do. “We can do it here, I know we can,” he’d say.

So we talked, and we talked, and we talked about this great idea, and about how our neighborhood and the neighborhoods surrounding it had completely missed the memo about this whole craft beer revolution, not to mention knowing nothing of the wonders of real Brazilian food. By 2013 or 2014, we even started to have some official meetings, and work on a business plan. But you know how it goes, we were both working full time, we both had young kids, and like so many other people’s great ideas, they just kind of fell by the wayside. Alex and I would see each other, but we stopped talking about the whole Brazilian taproom thing.

Fast forward to the summer of 2016, and one us, I actually don’t remember which one of us it was, brought it up again. We need to do this, we agreed. So the business plan came back out, we scheduled some regular meetings, and before you knew it, we were standing in an available space in Montclair speaking to a real estate agent about building out a kitchen.

And that brings us back to today, as we get ready to open our dream restaurant – a Brazilian craft beer taproom. And more than that, a Brazilian craft beer taproom in Glenview, our very own neighborhood. We couldn’t be more excited.

So today, as our first blog entry posts, we also post our 17-day notice of the change of hours on the conditional use permit for our space. Because Paulista will be, more than anything, a gathering place for the community, it needs to be open from morning until night, so that no matter what time of day it is, the neighborhood knows that we will be open. That they can have a meal, or a beer, or meet a friend; whether it’s 7am or 8pm, we will be open.

So that’s about it for now. Again, we are super excited for what is to come, and we’ll keep you up to date every couple of days as we get all of our permitting done, complete our renovations, and open for business this summer. Thanks for reading!