Balkan Bistro and Bar emerges
Balkan Bistro and Bar, formerly the Balkan Bakery in the space demolished to make way for the Waterhouse project on Water Street, celebrated a grand opening in the former Under the Roof furniture store at 1003 West Main Street on Monday, June 21.
In 2006, at the Charlottesville City Market, Anja Cetic and her family began offering traditional pastries, pies, and breads from their Balkan Peninsula homeland. Originally from Bosnia, the Cetics also lived in Croatia and Serbia, moving around as they endured the brutal conflict known as the Bosnian War (1992-1995), which claimed over 100,000 lives and created over a million refugees like the Cetics.
Following the war, they relocated to the United States with the help of the local International Rescue Committee. In early 2009, they opened the Balkan Bakery on Water Street, serving up things like traditional Meat Pie (Burek) and Cevapcici, a kind of grilled minced-meat sandwich, and, of course, baklava. Another treat: Bosnian coffee, prepared by boiling finely ground coffee in a small, pear-shaped pot.
"We are going to be a full bar and restaurant now," says matriarch Anja Cetic, "offering American and European cuisine– what I like to call food from the heart with an accent."
The bakery items will be the same, says Cetic, like the baklava, Mascarpone cake, and cookies and baked walnut bread. But now they'll be serving lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday, brunch and dinner on Saturday, and brunch on Sunday. In addition to homemade sausages, kielbasa, panini sandwiches, and salads, Cetic says they will also be offering beer from Croatia, Slovenia, and Russia.
"We're the only restaurant in Charlottesville serving these beers," says Cetic, "and the only one making their own kielbasa, hamburger patties, and sausages in-house."