From left; Cesar Lossley, business developer, Claudia Lossley, owner and CEO, and Daniela Eppley, manager, in front of Fogo Caliente in Clovis. Photo by Edward Smith.
If you’re a fan of meat, a new steakhouse in Clovis may be just for you.
Fogo Caliente, just south of Old Town Clovis, will have its soft opening Friday, Oct. 12.
Fogo’s business developer, Cesar Lossley, said his vision for the business at 843 Pollaksy Ave. was to offer “exotic” Guatemalan, Argentinian and Brazilian-style dishes that no other local restaurant serves.
“I decided to open up my own restaurant especially for me, so I can go to my own restaurant and have my own food how I want it,” he said.
Lossley is a self-proclaimed steak lover, who didn’t care for the quality of steaks at other local restaurants.
“The meat for example is already old,” he said of some steakhouses. “One of the reasons they have dim lights is they don’t want you to see the quality of the meat. If you’re not a good steak lover, you’re not going to pick up the taste of it.”
Juicy, tender steaks were what Lossly wanted to bring to the restaurant he runs with his wife, Claudia, who serves as the business’ owner and CEO.
To ensure Fogo Caliente serves premium steaks, the Lossleys are sourcing grass-fed beef from Brazil, Argentina, Guatemala and — of course — the U.S., Cesar Lossley said. “I’m going to bring these four countries into one restaurant.”
From Brazil, the restaurant will serve picanha steak, served on a skewer. It’s cut so that the fat of the steak sits atop the lightly-salted meat while it’s cooked over the “fogo” – the Portuguese word for “flame” – from which the restaurant gets its name. The fat can be easily separated from the steak, but not before soaking into the meat. And when eaten, the two flavors combine, Lossley explained.
Then there’s puyazo, a seasoned steak that comes from a softer, interior cut of beef. In fact, it’s so tender that Lossley said it doesn’t need a knife to cut it.
“When you hear about puyazo steak, automatically, you know it’s Guatemalan steak,” he said. “No matter if you’re from Honduras or Brazil, if they have puyazo on the menu, automatically, it’s Guatemalan.”
Other dishes include pepian, a chicken dish covered in an almond sauce, and cocido, a South American or Spanish stew.
All of the dishes will be served with black beans and guacamole.
As for the price of a meal at Fogo Caliente, Lossley said he wants to offer reasonable prices, so customers can expect to spend between $18 to $24 on a steak. Many dishes will come with samples of other food before the meal is served.
“This way, they go, ‘What is this?’ And next time, they’re going to order the entree,” Lossley said.
This isn’t the first restaurant Lossley has started. He has a “four-star” restaurant in Guatemala that he didn’t expect to do so well because of the income of the neighborhood it is in.
Because of this, Lossley said he feels he has the management experience now to get into the restaurant business here.
“I have all the right people,” he said. He brought over two chefs to head up the cooking, one is a caterer and another came from Cattleman’s Restaurant in Selma. Each has more than 20 years of professional cooking experience, Lossley added.
He’ll have ten people working for him when the restaurant opens, but Lossley said he worries that might not be enough, so he plans to hire a few more.
Fogo Caliente will be open for lunch and dinner daily between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Though he’s passionate about being in the restaurant industry, Lossley is keeping his regular job as owner of Ixtus Insurance, not 200 yards from his restaurant.
“I have a very successful business, so I’m pouring a lot of money into the restaurant.”
Because of that, Lossley said he and his wife can make five-star restaurant experiences from the food and even the dishes its served on in Clovis.
Eventually, his goal is to franchise the Fogo Caliente name.
“I know the kind of food we are providing,” and customers will come back, he said. “They are going to make our restaurant their number-one choice.”