Brazilian fast casual from Missoula, Montana, with a name that sounds like a Central City roulette strategy? That's Five on Black, which opened its first Colorado location in Boulder in late April and is set to debut in Denver at 1617 California Street (in the former Planet Sub location) this summer. The eatery is the brainchild of University of Montana graduate Tom Snyder, who won a small-business grant from his school and used it to explore the food of Brazil before opening his first restaurant in 2013.
Five on Black is named for the five-step process to building a food bowl, as well as the black beans that play a substantial role on the menu. Although the menu looks small, the company's website notes that there are 70,560 combinations of ingredient choices, which would take 193 years to sample if you ate at Five on Black every day.
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Starting with a base of white rice, brown rice or salad greens, customers choose from five primary toppings (beef, chicken tilapia, roasted veggies or a Brazilian stew called feijoada). From there, sides of sweet potato, collard greens or black beans are added, along with a choice of three sauces (green herb, mango BBQ or spicy coconut) and additional toppings like spicy chimichurri or a crunchy sprinkle of farofa, made from toasted cassava flour.
The other Brazilian specialty, available singly or by the baker's dozen, is pao de queijo, a type of traditional cheesy bun made from yuca flour.
The Boulder eatery, at 1805 29th Street, is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and the downtown Denver location will follow suit once the doors open.