Gus Rezende of Social Entertainment Talks About Entrepreneurship, Life in the U. S.

Gus Rezende’s life has been shaped by chance meetings with people who compliment his talents and bring about successful outcomes. A partner in Social Entertainment, Gus is a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and came to the United States in 1999 on a tennis scholarship at Georgia Southwestern State University.

While teaching at a summer tennis camp in New York, Gus struck up a friendship with Chad Hebert, a Lafayette native. Chad encouraged him to travel to Lafayette to teach tennis in 2002 which led Gus to gain permanent employment at the City Club of River Ranch. He spent seven years working at the City Club overseeing events and marketing endeavors. The experience would prove to be valuable as he considered his career options.

Today, Gus Rezende is a partner with BJ Crist in Social Entertainment and they co-own CENTRAL Pizza & Bar, four Tropical Smoothie Café locations, and Dix “Almost Famous Daiquiris. They were also co-owners of Jefferson Street Pub which has recently been sold.

B. J. Crist and Gus met, by chance, at the first Tropical Smoothie Café that Gus opened in River Ranch. While that location did not turn out to be a successful site, the two men became friend and partners. They learned together what restaurant concepts work through trial and error. (The team behind CENTRAL Pizza & Bar includes Collin Cormier of Pop’s Po’boys, Michael Delcambre of The Greenroom, and John Peterson of Swamp Pop Soda.)

Gus’s newest restaurant, Tula Tacos + Amigos, is scheduled to open in downtown Lafayette in June 2019. Located two doors down from Central Pizza, at the old “Frankie’s Burger,” it’s a concept from the heart that celebrates bringing people together to enjoy tacos and each other in an authentic Mexico City style. The restaurant is intended to feel like Coastal California while the patrons enjoy true Mexican authentic fare.

Social Entertainment is known for its skill in coordinating events such as Uncle Sam’s Jam, Concerts at Couret Farms, and the Acadiana Po-boy Festival, as well as Bubbles and Brunch on May 18 at Sugar Mill Pond and the Mother’s Day Drag Brunch at Jefferson Street Pub.

In 2016, Social Entertainment was honored as the Start-Up Business of the Year, and this year, Gus was named the 2019 Rising Young Business Leader, both awards being given at the Junior Achievement’s annual Business Halls of Fame. For more information, visit

In 2018, Gus Rezende became a U. S. Citizen. As many other immigrants in the U. S. experience, Gus came here legally yet found it a challenge to keep his status legal. He is grateful for the gift of citizenship and stays actively engaged in civic endeavors and in working to see downtown Lafayette reinvigorated.

This podcast is worth a listen to hear Gus speak of learning from failure, the importance of community involvement at the local level, and the many reasons that a downtown core is important to the region’s successful development.