Marco and Grace Franca moved from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Lakeland in early 2014. They left Brazil due to political, economic and social uncertainties. Lakeland was selected due to proximity of Marco’s Mother; and proximity to two large international airports.
During the first year, Grace was living full time in Lakeland while Marco commuted to Sao Paulo on a bi-weekly basis. Grace became very active in the local community, and explored the region surrounding Lakeland in depth.
This led to the immediate conclusion that Lakeland had everything a charming Winter Park, FL or Healdsburg, CA had to offer – except great restaurants and shopping. In making new personal and business relationships in Lakeland and Polk County, they quickly learned that they were not the only ones that had reached the same conclusion – Lakeland needed an outstanding restaurant.
As the Franca’s are foodies, global travelers and entrepreneurs at heart, they decided to take into their own hands and bring an outstanding restaurant to Lakeland.
The Franca’s are American-Brazilian, and have lived a good part of their lives in Sao Paulo. Which led to an interesting conversation piece when meeting new and old friends, which always asked: “what is it that they missed from Brazil?” The answer was always the same – the cuisine.
Fortunately, Grace saved the dilemma by putting into practice what she always knew and began to cook Brazilian inspired dishes at home. Grace found a Brazilian grocery store in Orlando that gave her access to Brazilian spices, condiments, and meat that were needed on a day-to-day basis. As their new friends tried her dishes and Marco’s Brazilian cooking technique of churrasco (barbecue), they found the solution to their restaurant concept – bring Brazilian inspired cuisine to Lakeland
Inspired by the best restaurants in Brazil, the creation of Posto 9 brings the best of Brazilian cuisine and culture to the United States within a trendy ambience. Posto 9 is both a neighborhood restaurant and a dining destination.
Choosing downtown Lakeland as the home of their new concept Posto 9, the Franca’s purchased the historic building at 215 East Main Street built originally in 1908 – this masonry building has been home to everything from a residence; real estate, dental, professional offices; to a music store and most recently an entertainment venue. Deconstruction began in April, consisting of tearing out the old to make room for the new.
Posto 9 plans to keep and reuse most of the original material in the new building. That however is another story for another chapter, for another day.
Stay tuned on the first Friday of every month as we reveal a new chapter in the development of Lakeland’s next big cultural experience.