By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – While Rio’s much adored botecos (bars) are known as great places to gather over chopps (draft beer) and snacks, they are not often on the culinary map, especially when they are located in one of the many favela communities across the city. Yet Bar do David, in Morro Chapéu-Mangueira in Zona Sul (South Zone), set behind Leme, was recently named as the Best Buteco in Brazil.
It was the petisco, or “snack” called Ressurgência (Resurgence) on offer by Bar do David, that combines seafood and a vinaigrette with black-eyed beans served on red cabbage leaves, which was the champion of the national phase of the Comida di Buteco.
The owner of the boteco, David Bispo, 44, was already recognized for bringing the first favela community bar to participate in the contest in 2011. Now with this award, he also becomes the champion of the first national edition, which competed with nineteen other bars in Brazil.
“Today I can say that I have one of the best bars in Brazil, which receives people from all over the world.” Bispo told a government news source, “I am a representative of Rio’s favelas and bring more needed [positive attention] to my community and the rest of Rio.”
Bispo learned to cook at home, in Chapéu-Mangueira, with his mother as a child. The first time the boteco participated in the Comida di Buteco, Bar do David won third place with the Tropeiro Carioca dish, a recipe inspired by feijoada.
In the same year, he was chosen as Destaque do Ano (Highlight of the Year) in the culinary category of UPPs, Rio Show Award. Since then, the eatery has excelled in culinary contests. He explained “When I started to participate in the Comida di Buteco, we got in several culinary guides. Residents of Rio and tourists began to go into communities and experience the good services.”
Since 2000, the Comida di Buteco elects the best botecos in twenty cities. This year, more than five hundred locations across the country participated in the competition.