A Bosnian restaurant has opened on Dorchester Road, proving once again that this North Charleston corridor is the place to find a teensy bit of ethnic diversity around here.
Proprietor Slobodan Mijic says he hasn't found any other Bosnians — yet. But he's hoping they will slowly congregate at Café Europa, the restaurant he and his wife Maribel opened on Monday. The couple moved here in June from Houston, where Slobodan co-owned a restaurant called Café Pita that introduced Texans to his native cuisine. He also benefited from a much larger Bosnian community.
"Bosnian cuisine is kind of like Mediterranean, Greek," says Slobodan. "Bosnia was under the Turkish people, so we got flavors from them, from Greek. It's similar to their food, but with not as many spices."
Guy Fieri did a segment on Café Pita for Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives last year, which cemented their popularity in Houston.
Slobodan says the signature dishes on the menu are the cevap and the pljeskavice, both of which use a spiced ground meat mixture. For the cevap, the meat is formed into small breakfast-style sausages, which are then cooked on the grill and served inside lepinja bread, a kind of fluffy pita that they make fresh every day. It's served with a side of kajmak, a dipping sauce made with sour cream, feta, cream cheese, and butter.
The pljeskavice is what Slobodan calls a Bosnian hamburger. It takes the same ground meat mixture and stuffs it with mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, and crushed red peppers, for a bit of heat. Then it gets grilled and served in the lepinja bread.
Other items on the menu include a braised lamb shank (pirjan) served with potatoes, basmati rice, and bread for a mere $9.99. There are also shish kebabs, stuffed peppers, stuffed cabbages, and flatbread pizzas. The Bosnian one comes with tomato sauce, mozzarella, soujuk (a dried fermented sausage), pastrami, mushrooms, and onions for $8.99.
Slobodan says they chose their location because of its proximity to the military base. "They all know about Bosnia and the food because of the war," says Slobodan, who hopes the same thing that happened in Houston will happen here. Word of mouth will spread and people will discover the appeal of his food. "It will take a little while for people to find out."
It didn't take us long to get a report about the food. Jennifer and Rick Lowe out at the Beaded Venus in Mt. Pleasant are avid foodies, who love to discover the ethnic flavors of Dorchester Road. As soon as Jennifer tried Café Europa, she sent us a report:
"The food is sooo good (and cheap). They are very friendly as well.... So worth the trip up Dorchester Road. We plan on going back soon. Hope you get a chance to try it out and find it as cool as we did."
Café Europa is located at 6585 Dorchester Road and is open daily for lunch and dinner. Prices range from $5-$10. (843) 552-2227.