Carla Batista and Gustavo Nogueira, the owners of Batuqui (12706 Larchmere Blvd., 216-801-0227), are approaching the finish line on their Brazilian-themed market Ipanema (12602 Larchmere Blvd., 216-465-1422, ipanemamarket.com), which will specialize in Latin food products. Located immediately next door to Big Al’s Diner, the shop recently welcomed customers during a “preview day” and will be opening for good this month.
“We’re pretty close to getting started,” says manger Matt Quinn.
The market, which caters to the large and growing Brazilian community in Northeast Ohio, is the only one of its kind in the region.
“I think a lot of the stuff in here is unique to the city,” Quinn adds. “The nearest places that sell most of it is Columbus.”
The idea for the market developed organically, say the owners. Down the road at the restaurant, customers are always asking where they can purchase the mix for the cheese bread, passion fruit juice, good Brazilian coffee or palm oil for cooking. With Ipanema, they have a convenient location that sells them all in one place.
In addition to the packaged goods like flours, mixes, oils, preserves and coffees, there is a selection of meats and cheeses and frozen heat-and-eat items.
While the days and hours of operation are still being worked out, the owners say that it makes sense to be open during and after dinner service at Batuqui.
“That way we can cross-pollinate,” says Quinn. “So when people are done eating down there they can come here and shop.”