guest post by Ashley Glasco
I had the pleasure of meeting Emir, father of two children and owner of Balkan, located at 8905 Patterson Ave, Henrico, VA 23229 in the Maybeury South Shopping Center. His venture in the restaurant business began in 2000 when he escaped Bosnia during the war. Starting a new life in U.S with no family or foundation here, he began working at Pasta Luna as a waiter, then manager and continued to move up in the restaurant. Eventually, he went to work for the U.S Food Service as a salesman followed by Disco Food Service. He worked there until 2009 and in August of 2010, made the decision to make his dream a reality and opened Balkan.
Working 10 years in the restaurant business really helped him learn everything he knows and gave him the confidence and experience to open his own restaurant. But this is not where his love for cooking began. He grew up learning to love food through his grandmother and father. He developed a palate for authentic European food at a young age and strives to bring this in all of his dishes. All of the food at the restaurant is family inspired recipes and his passion for cooking transpires though the food he makes. Emir aims to create an authentic atmosphere as well as food so that he can share with others his culture and background. His loyal customers rave that the restaurant makes them feel “at home.”
Emir takes pride in that all of the dishes are made in house, with freshness being of top priority. The food preparation is time consuming, with many dishes taking several hours to cook, but it makes it worth it to see the smiling faces on customers each day. Aside from the restaurant, Balkan also has a food truck service that runs Monday through Thursday during lunch hours and appears at local breweries throughout the week. They also offer catering for special events. Emir is active in the community and is passionate about giving back; he donates his time and services to local churches and communities throughout the year.
When my husband and I walked into the restaurant, we were welcomed and seated immediately. Our server was very hospitable and made sure we had everything we needed during our visit. Emir was able to sit and chat during our visit and offered us suggestions from the menu, which we gladly went with. We began with the burek which is a hand stretched puff pastry. They offer three choices for the filling and we went with spinach and cheese. I couldn’t help but get excited when I started cutting the pastry because it looked so appetizing. My first bite in and it was exactly as I was expecting. Very light; crisp and flaky on the outside and soft on the inside. Next up were the cevapi, Hungarian goulash and Balkan steak and cheese. The cevapi had very flavorful ground beef, sausage link style, served between two slices of fresh, homemade Lepinja bread and kajmak(a spread of mixed cheeses). This may have been my favorite dish! It was perfectly seasoned and very tasty. And I can’t say enough great things about the bread. It was clear that it was made that day and oh so fluffy! Watching your carbs? Throw that out the window during your visit, I promise, its worth it! Next was the Hungarian goulash. This classic dish had tender pieces of beef with vegetables and was served with very light and fluffy mashed potatoes and Lepinja bread. Everything paired so well together, was flavorful, and reminded me a bit of shepard’s pie. Last was the Balkan steak and cheese which had thin slices of grilled rib eye steak, provolone cheese, and served on the Lepinja bread. If you’re reluctant to try new things, then this dish is the way to go, because how can you go wrong with a steak and cheese? The meat was tender, but what made this dish so tasty was the Lepinja bread. Can you tell I really enjoyed the bread?
We ended with a couple of small samples from the dessert menu. The Bosnian Baklava rolls, which consisted of crushed walnuts and raisins rolled inside fill dough, were so well balanced. Sweet, but not too sweet, with the walnuts adding a nice texture and flavor. And last, the baked apple rolls. This dessert is one of the most famous treats in the Bosnian tradition and is perfect for those who love fruity desserts. Overall, the food is pleasant, the prices are very reasonable and the owner and staff are super friendly! Below you find more information on Balkan.
Monday - closed
Open for lunch
Tuesday - Friday 11:00 am to 2:30 pm
Tuesday - Thursday 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Friday 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm
Saturday 11:00 am to 9:30 pm
Sunday 11:00 am to 8:00 pm
*Please note: They NO longer sell alcohol at the Balkan Restaurant. However, BYOB WINE is available.**
Learn more about Balkan and view their full menu here: http://balkanrichmond.com/
Hello there! My name is Ashley and I am a wedding and portrait photographer based in Richmond, Virginia. I am also a wife and mother and LOVE event planning! I enjoy discovering new restaurants, visiting local breweries and exploring RVA while hosting monthly Girls Night Out events. You can usually catch me with my laptop and a cup of coffee!