Owner Edson Munekata, a native of Brazil, said Sunday that he hopes to open the restaurant in October.
The massive space, which has seating for more than 350, will have a “humongous” salad bar, Munekata said, in one section of the downstairs dining room.
“The way this concept works is it’s all-you-can-eat,” he said. The salad bar will have perhaps as many as 50 different items and six hot items, all self-serve.
Then there’s the meat: 16 different cuts of beef, chicken, pork and lamb, roasted on long skewers.
“We place red and green coasters at each table. Once you flip it to green, they start bringing you different cuts of meats,” he said. “You need to take a break, you flip it to red. As long as you keep it green, they keep it coming. That’s how you control the pace of the meats ... until you’re about ready to die.”
The full menu will be about $40 per person; just the salad bar will be about $25, Munekata said. The upstairs bar will feature a tapas version, with small portions for a reduced price.
Munekata said he opened the first Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse in Columbia, S.C., and now has one in Charleston, another in Hilton Head and another in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The Lexington restaurant will keep the decor that made Coba Cocina unique, including the giant jellyfish tank. But he isn’t sure it will have jellyfish in it. It seems that the jellyfish weren’t especially well-suited to that environment. So the person who took care of the tank is working on other possibilities.
“I thought about putting in piranha and letting guests feed them fresh meat but it didn’t go over well with the owner, so I guess I’ll do something else,” Munekata joked.
The building is still owned by the Greer Companies, who opened Coba Cocina in March 2013 for more than $5.7 million. It served Latin-inspired food in an atmosphere with Vegas-style flair, including elaborate architecture and a golden dome over the main feature, the 18-foot jellyfish tank. The restaurant closed in April 2016.