It was the wish of Ana Santos-Vitelo and her husband Mario Vitelo to introduce diners to the rich, savory and sizzling flavors of Brazil without breaking the bank.

That wish came true as the Vitelos proudly presided over the June 29 grand opening celebration of their second culinary venture: Nossa! Brazilian Grill in Downers Grove. The grill, which opened to the public recently, is Illinois’s first fast-casual Brazilian eatery where diners try sizzling Churrasco flavors by creating their own meals from the various meats, vegetables and sauces. The Vitelos are the owners of Brazil Express Churrasco Grill in Schaumburg.

“Nossa means ‘wow’ and we want to wow people with our Brazilian food,” said Ana Santos-Vitelo during the restaurant’s ribbon cutting ceremony. “People need something different so why not have Brazilian food. There’s so many other fast casual restaurants that offer Japanese and Mediterranean food and pizza but nothing Brazilian so now we have Nossa! We want to make Brazilian food popular and affordable for every day and not for just special occasions.”

Surrounded by local officials and guests, Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully congratulated Nossa! for choosing the village as its home.

“We couldn’t be happier to have you join our business community and bringing flavor and spice to our already very tasty community,” he says. “We are deeply grateful that you chose Downers Grove as we look forward to you being longstanding members of our community and stakeholders.”

Guests stopped in to welcome the couple, dance with Brazilian dancers and taste dishes of beef, grilled chicken, black beans and rice, various salads, cheese and meat croquettes and the eatery’s famous cheese bread.

Aurora resident Maria Ramos, social media consultant and blogger at, liked the atmosphere, concept and open lounge seating.

“The food is delicious and at a great price point,” she says. “My family and I have gone to a couple of Churrasco restaurants before and I love the fact that Nossa! is convenient and that you can get more of a meal versus having to go and starve yourself to eat a bigger meal with the various meats, the salad buffet and sides that is offered at larger Brazilian restaurants. Our whole family enjoyed the food selections that were offered.”

Industry News, NextGen Casual