ROMEO & JULIETTE SERVES UP HEARTY BRAZILIAN FARE
By Tory Germann
Named after Shakespeare’s famous star-crossed lovers with hopes that diners would be just as passionate about their food, Romeo and Juliette Café sprang up in downtown in Lowell 11 years ago, serving the wave of Brazilian immigrants coming to America looking for work.
Times have changed, and as a booming Brazil economy leads expats back home, this cozy cafe with a cheery yellow exterior on South Street keeps the tradition of Brazilian street food alive and well in Mill City, and late into the night, feeding hungry post bar crowds from of all nationalities until 3 a.m. on weekends.
Comfort food and a cozy neighborhood vibe. Photos by Tory Germann.
Patrons breeze in and out of the neighbrohood café that seats a dozen or so counterside. On any given lunch break, you’ll find a crowd chatting in Portuguese and lingering to watch Brazilian TV before leaving with homemade empanadas and coxinhas — a Latin version of chicken croquettes that takes street food to a whole new level of deep-fried deliciousness.
If a heartier meal is what you’re after, you can always pull up a stool and order the Steak with Rice and Beans for $10.36.
Consider this the cornerstone of Brazilian comfort food — marinated steak tips served on a bed of rice and homemade beans that have cooked for hours with DeSouzas traditional sauce that includes sausage and bacon. I will go out on a limb here and state this is not a dish you bring to your next vegan potluck. Served with French fries and salad, you’ll feel like you hit a buffet line twice even though you can’t remember ever leaving your chair.
Sweets are also part of the story. Brigadeiros, small chocolate truffles named after Brazilian Brigadier Eduardo Gomes, tempt you along with a magnificent Strawberry Peach whipped cream cake that’s lighter than air and can easily be shared, although you may not want to, $4.10.
Pizza, subs and salads are also on the menu but the king of all sandwiches here is the Ex Tudo. Translation? Extra everything. Think of it as a hamburger shacking up with your refrigerator — cheese, bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato, corn, peas and stick potatoes manage to share the same roof with a hamburger for $7.
Popular with the late night bar crowds, this sandwich has the food pyramid covered. Wash it down with iced sugar cane juice and you may just bypass your hangover altogether. It’s certainly worth a try.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Romeo and Juliette Café, Brazilian food and bakery.
WHERE: 16 South Street, Lowell.
INFO: Hours are Monday through Thursday, 5:30 a.m. to midnight; Friday and Saturday, 5:30 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m. to midnight. Business phone, 978.453.9468.