SOUTH STREET SEAPORT — A taste of Brazil is on its way to the South Street Seaport.
Cafe Patoro, a cozy bakery dedicated to pão de queijo — a small, gluten-free Brazilian bread, usually made with cheese — is readying to open at 223 Front St. in about two weeks, co-owner Eugene Oh said.
The crunchy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside roll, made from tapioca flour, is a popular breakfast and snack food in Brazil — "kind of like Brazil's version of the bagel," said Oh, 36.
But at Cafe Patoro, Oh and his wife, Ah La Ko — a Brazilian-born baker — have put their own spin on the traditional little bread, cooking up a variety of flavorful rolls, which they call "PDQ", for short. Their versions of the chewy breads include maple bacon, roasted garlic and jalapeño.
For the past couple of years, Oh and Ko — a graduate of Wharton business school who decided to pursue her passion for baking — have been selling their PDQs at several food markets, like the LIC Flea and Hester Street Fair, while hoping to open a brick-and-mortar location.
The couple, who've lived in Lower Manhattan for several years, recently moved to the Seaport area, and Oh said they quickly fell in love with neighborhood.
"The Seaport has always had a lot of charm, and it's a neighborhood that's still growing, and is still rebuilding after Sandy," Oh said. "The space was a great opportunity for us to be part of a place that's still up-and-coming."
Their location on Front Street was a former hair salon, but the space has sat empty since Hurricane Sandy shuttered many of the businesses in the area.
Along with the pão de queijo, the cafe will serve up a variety of Brazilian sweets and cakes, as well as a selection of sandwiches.
Oh said they are still working out the full menu — but their focus will remain the little PDQs, something creatively reflected in their cafe's name.
Patoro, in Portuguese, means "golden duck," Oh said. "Pão de queijo are like these little golden eggs, so it's sort of a play on that concept."