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LUDLOW — The Monster Den had a ribbon cutting ceremony on Jan. 7 to officially open its doors at 135 East St. and introduce its Brazilian cuisine to the community.

The family-owned business will be run by the Gianei family with parents Rogerio and Simone being the owners and running the kitchen. Their daughter Scarlett Gianei will be the general manager.

The idea to open the restaurant started after the family was looking to make money during the coronavirus pandemic.

Scarlett Gianei said, “The idea first started to sell my dad’s sandwich. We ran out of a job. We used to own a cleaning company and we were quarantined, we needed money and my dad started selling his homemade sandwiches in house so our church members and our friends would buy it.”

When the peak of COVID-19 ended, Scarlett Gianei said that people were still asking for the sandwiches, making the family realize they could open their own shop.

Rogerio Gianei is originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Scarlett Gianei said this restaurant in Ludlow is the closest place to get Brazilian cuisine.

“We finally found a place in Ludlow and when we decided to open it, it was mainly for the sandwich but we know of a huge community of Brazilians and it’s really hard to find Brazilian cuisine around. You would have to travel 45 minutes to Hartford or Framingham so then my mom decided to start baking a little bit of the cuisine to bring a little bit of home to the Brazilian community,” she added.

Scarlett Gianei said you can buy different types of sandwiches like a cheeseburger, chicken, beef or steak sandwich but the reason for the name of the restaurant comes from their house special which includes a steak, chicken or kielbasa sandwich served on a baguette.

“They feed about three to four servings of people so it’s a pretty big monster of a sandwich,” she added.

Right now, the restaurant is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. serving different pastries and sandwiches.

“The breakfast menu is a little bit different. Around 12 [p.m.] we start selling more sandwiches, but we do have pastels which is very common in Brazil. It can be either filled with either sweet or salty flavors like ground beef with cheese, chicken, hearts of palm or sweet ones like banana Nutella,” Scarlett Gianei said.

The Monster Den has its menu, featuring various Brazilian dishes, available on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

Scarlett Gianei said she hopes everyone gets the chance to stop in to try their food and experience the Brazilian culture.

She added, “I hope that people get to try our cuisine and flavors. It’s very similar to Portuguese cuisine so I also want to bring that out for them to have the experience of trying not just the Portuguese community, which is really high in Ludlow, but also for Americans. They have such a hard time finding the Brazilian culture here, especially the cuisine so I hope everyone can try it.”

State Sen. Jake Oliveira (D-Ludlow), state Rep. Aaron Saunders (D-Belchertown) and some members of the Board of Selectmen were present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Scarlett Gianei added, “It was great. I am absolutely very grateful for everybody in the community. They have welcomed us with opened arms, and they just keep on surprising us.”

Since opening their shop, Scarlett Gianei said business has been going better than the family could have expected.

“We completed our first weekend. It was amazing. We pretty much exceeded every expectation we had. They sold us out I think on the third day. They sold us on every single thing, so we had to restock because we were not expecting it, but they have been super supportive on social media,” Scarlett Gianei said.

She added, “I have also talked to a lot of locals and they are very excited about having a little bit of a unique and versatile taste coming in instead of just fast food restaurants so it is excited to see that.”

tgarnet@thereminder.com | + posts