Incorporating the four elements of nature to enhance to an elegant dining experience

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Throughout the United States, Brazilian churrascarias—steakhouses based on the Brazilian cowboy culture—are fun, high-energy restaurants. But Paul Berlin had a different vision for the churrascaria he wanted to build in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. After working with our experience design team to conduct a Competition Audit of churrascarias throughout the Midwest, he determined he could set his restaurant apart by offering an understated and elegant experience. Guests would feel comfortable coming dressed casually or in evening clothes to experience a fabulous meal with excellent but unobtrusive service in a serene environment inspired by the four natural elements: earth, air, fire, and water.

Berlin’s vision for his restaurant is physically expressed by the elegant use of bronze doors featuring a handle shaped like a lariat, a symbol repeated on the waitstaff’s simple uniforms. Dramatic wood beams and warm earth tones enhance the three dining rooms. Fire appears not at the grill, which can be seen from the dining room, but also on the red walls throughout. Water is represented by a water wall that separates the entry from the main dining area. And air is expressed by the high ceilings and ethereal lighting fixtures overhead. The elegant experience is shaped most powerfully by the personality and attitude of Sabor’s staff. Berlin considers his guests to be “guests in my home,” and so when he hires new employees he looks for a spirit of hospitality and a happy personality. The rest, he says, he can teach. The high level of service he expects from the people who work at Sabor is as integral a part of the dining experience as is the wonderful Brazilian steaks and the elegant surroundings. They all work together to embody his unique take on churrascaria design.

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“Kahler Slater wanted this to be a beautiful project as much as I did and had a true passion for the project.” Paul Berlin

Project Awards

  • “Silver Award,” Wisconsin Chapter American Society of Interior Design (ASID), 2006

Retail & Mixed-Use Portfolio