By Mary Carroll, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Copacabana celebrated its 120th birthday last Friday. It was commemorated with a series of samba concerts on the beach in front of Copacabana Palace, with large LED screens displaying old and new photos of Copacabana to show the changes that have taken place in the famous neighborhood over the years.
One of the more noticeable changes are the number of new kiosks that have sprung up all along the beach in recent years. These sport underground kitchens and expanded covered seating areas, as well as sleek new circular designs.
Amongst them are new styles of kiosks with a modern touch such as Praia Skol 360° at Posto 4 which has went for a very high-end look and seemingly transforming the whole idea of a kiosk with it’s expanded design.
It has a full sized bar or restaurant feel to it, while offering a full menu and table service. It is a curious matter as to whether it could still be considered a kiosk or not.
There is a laidback atmosphere with the sound of live samba filling the air during the day, and some nights it seems like a nightclub. Only six months on the scene, it offers a surprisingly interesting menu, with a traditional bruschetta plate at R$14.90 for those looking for a light snack.
For something a little more filling Frutos Do Mar Á Proveçal is a salmon dish complimented by grilled vegetables and a teriyaki sauce which can be shared by two people for R$64.90 and the menu also offers a vegetarian version for R$39.90. The manager, Ricardo Ribeiro, recommends the hearty prime steak cut of the Picanha 500 Grelhada, which he says “goes down a treat.”
Further along the beach King Berry, across from Rio Othon Palace, has a slightly zen but playful ambiance to it which is characterized by the colorful beanbags available for submerging into while relaxing by the sea and sipping on a smoothie.
One of the servers there, Laís Nunes, explains that while “there are many types of kiosks here in Copacabana, we are the only kiosk that specializes in healthy food.”
The kiosks menu contains a range of juices and even whey protein fruit drinks to keep the fitness fanatics happy. However, if the juice needs company there is a delectable selection of sandwiches for R$15. For instance, the Peito De Peru, consists of salad and turkey breast.
Demonstrating how diverse and innovative the new kiosks are becoming, last November Banco do Brasil, in partnership with the Special Bureau for Economic Solidarity Development in Rio de Janeiro, set up a kiosk with the sole purpose of selling jewellery and accessories. The most interesting part is that the pieces are created by artisans from the different favela communities in Rio, in an attempt to make Brazil’s booming economy a more inclusive experience.
One of the artisans Miriam Fretas, who works at the Banco do Brasil kiosk, is delighted with the measures that have been taken to involve the communities directly in the profits made from Copacabana tourism. “The artisans make the jewellery in their own homes. They come from all over Rio, even far out in the countryside” she explained.
Not everyone prefers the new look and style of the Copacabana kiosks though, and there is definately some Carioca loyalty to older kiosks. Guaraviton kiosk employee Fernando Henrique Matos says that “cariocas prefer the older kiosks, it has more of a carioca feel, it is more like the old Rio. Some of the kiosks have been around for a long time, this kiosk has been here for twenty-three years.”