“Back in Bosnia, there’s a cevapi place on every corner,” says Dino Mehic, proprietor of the new Euro Grill & Café on Central Avenue in east Charlotte. “It’s the traditional, No. 1 Bosnian food.”
What’s cevapi (say it “chay-VOP-ee”)? A half-dozen chubby little sausages are nestled into warm lepinje, a fluffier cousin of pita bread. Add chopped onions or a dab of sour cream if you like.
“McDonald’s tried for years to go into Bosnia, but people like cevapi better,” chuckles Dino.
Refugees from war in the former Yugoslavia, Dino and his wife, Amela, started Bosna Market on Central Avenue in 2003. Amela worked long hours in a warehouse job. Running the store gave Dino family time.
“Better to spend more time with the kids than more money,” he says.
Today, son Mehmed and daughter Minela are in their early teens. They help customers find specialties like fig jam, cherry compote, smoked sausages and frozen burek, the meat-and-phyllo dish that is a Bosnian mainstay.
When Bosna Market moved to larger quarters recently, the Mehics added the tiny eatery. Slip through the side door of the grocery and you are in the cafe, where burek and a variety of other traditional dishes are on the extensive menu alongside the cevapi.
Friends help out on busy weekends. Lole Jelkic, who trained as a chef back in Bosnia, now works for a Charlotte caterer. But Sunday afternoons find him behind the counter at Euro Grill & Café.
“This is for our community,” he says simply.
Tom Hanchett is staff historian at Levine Museum of the New South: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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