About Brasa Roja
Jorge 's Dad taught him how to cook and create some of the great dishes on the menu. Jeannette Gacharna and her husband Jorge, a native of Bogota, Colombia, shared his dream of having his own restaurant with her. "My husband was a butcher in a shop and I worked in a bank. We were well off, but my husband's dream was to have his own restaurant," said the entrepreneur who has three children. Jeannette and Jorge Gacharna claim to have made very good team for business. She is dedicated to the administrative side and Jorge is the creative side in the kitchen. The result are three restaurants in 21 years, El Llano, which is owned by third generation of the family, is located at 4011 N Elston Ave, Brasa Roja, which is at 3120 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL and Brasa Roja at 3556 N. Pulaski Rd., Chicago, IL 60641.The specialty in each establishment is the Colombian food and we later added to our menu rotisserie chicken. According Jeannette Gacharna has no competition in the city. One Saturday we sold 270 chickens. Success is in the marinade prepared Jorge and it’s a closely guarded family recipe. Currently the two restaurants employ nine people, per Jeannette Gacharna. I believe it is essential to have a positive attitude towards life. "I dedicate 9 to 10 hours daily at the restaurant. As a business owner, you must work harder so that everything goes well, you must know your business a hundred percent, the know-how of all business functions. In my case I care, waitress and help in the kitchen to make sure everything works out well and provide great service to the customers, "always with a smile, even if when someone is upset. To manage three restaurants , patience is needed to maintain them and stay very positive, All is possible as a couple and as business partners.
From the Press
Rotisserie Chicken at Brasa Roja
By Steve Dolinsky Hungry Hound Channel 7 on May 17, 2011
A few weeks ago, I listed my Top 5 roasted chickens in Chicago. I think at the time, I was limiting my options to chickens that were actually roasted in ovens – sealed in their warm cocoons, juices dripping, skin crisping – and left off any rotisserie birds since they don’t really spend much time in an oven, per se. But one look at the operation at Brasa Roja on the Northwest Side, and you quickly realize the Colombians also know a thing or two about transforming chicken into utter deliciousness, even if they don’t seal it into an airtight box.
With a handful of locations in the city (also known as El Llano), the owners have mastered the art of deep marination, slow, circular roasting and then quick-finishing directly over the charcoals, just to crisp up the skin. It’s almost hypnotizing watching the birds rotate ever-so-gently on the custom-made rotisserie, but when you bite into the smoky, juicy bird, you quickly realize this isn’t a dream.
THE BEST CHICKEN IN CHICAGO: BRASA ROJA
AUGUST 19, 2015
Hands down, the BEST chicken I have ever eaten in this city.
This Colombian eatery used to be located near my office. I would walk over at lunch now and then for a lunch special that included a ¼ chicken with rice, plantains and some delicious chimichurri-like green sauce. When I found the doors closed one hungry day, I was depressed. The handwritten sign announced a new location quite far away and out of my neck of the woods.
It had been years since I sunk my teeth into that chicken when an outing to a new friend’s house brought us past the new location of Brasa Rojo at 3125 W. Montrose road. As we drove by I spied succulent chickens roasting over real wood charcoal. Moments later, the taunting aroma of the chargrilled birds wafted into our car.
Fate rewarded us just days later when we again found ourselves on the northwest side of town. Stuck in traffic with a few hungry kids in the car, we remembered the Colombian eatery and stopped in for dinner.The décor is extremely casual and spacious. We didn’t have to wait for a table, it was easy to haul two kids in, and out and they had capacity to seat very large groups. We ordered the whole chicken along with some steak and a few appetizers. Though all the food was delicious, the chicken was conversation-stopping. Mini Whipped ripped into her drumstick like Pebbles Flintstone. A few speechless minutes later, she presented a clean bone, messy fingers and a huge smile.
What's New Colombian Barbecue
Jorge and Jeannette Gacharna opened BRASA ROJA, an outpost of their excellent Lakeview churrascaria El Llano, this spring, and it has one major advantage over the original: pollo rostizado. Every morning the birds start spinning over hot coals in the window of the Albany Park storefront. Plump and round, with steadily browning skin, they almost beg to be tucked under the arm like a football and carried away for takeout. Right now Brasa Roja has a lock on the local rotisserie trade, but with the rumored arrival of the Mr. Pollo chain down the street, the neighborhood might soon be reaping the spoils of a South American chicken war. In the dining room the Gacharnas have disguised the ghosts of retail past, festooning the dropped ceiling and walls with folkloric gimcracks and posters of South American ranch life. Olfactory gusts of sizzling flesh precede the arrival of wooden boards laden with grilled steaks, short ribs, or rabbit, accompanied by a sharp salsa verde and the four starches of the apocalypse--rice, fried yuca, boiled potato, and arepa, a fat, fried corn tortilla. Milk- or water-based jugos like blackberry and mango are surpassed by a sweet but oddly peppery passionfruit flavor, and desserts include brevas con arequipe (caramel-filled figs). Doors open at 9 AM for calentado, the traditional Colombian breakfast featuring beans, arepas, potatoes, eggs, carne asada, and cheese-stuffed pastries called buenelos. Brasa Roja is at 3125 W. Montrose, 773-866-2252. --Mike Sula