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Blame It On Rio

South America rises again.

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This story appears in the March 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Catch that bossa nova beat. If the recent wave of Brazilian-themed restaurants, recordings and assorted other products is any indication, South America's biggest country is hotter than ever here in the United States. Brazilian cuisine, in particular, is gaining in both profile and popularity.

Which isn't news to Ivan Utrera, co-founder and president of Rodizio Restaurants International Inc., a Littleton, Colorado-based chain of Brazilian eateries. "For many years, there was a total lack of knowledge of what Brazilian cuisine is," explains the 37-year-old entrepreneur, who launched the first of six Rodizio Grills in 1996. "Brazil has never done a good job of marketing its cuisine."

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