I learned a while back that if you want to experience some good, old-fashioned hospitality, you should spend time with a Bosnian family. I attended a college graduation party in Twin Falls and my buddy's Bosnian parents treated me like a treasured guest, from the moment I walked in door. Take a step inside Fairview Avenue's Europe Delicious, a bakery/deli/grocery with an adjacent restaurant/sports bar/banquet hall, and you'll get a taste of the treatment I received at the May soiree.
Sead Gracanin and his family run the place, and despite staying unbelievably busy at times running both the store and eatery, he smiles unendingly when he talks. He provides a modest menu, all of which, I was assured, any traditional Bosnian chef would be familiar with, but he covers his bases well. The eight-item entree list ranges from traditional Euro-American favorites like shish kebabs and goulash to Bosnian classics like sirnica (much like a cinnamon roll-styled cheesy dinner pastry) and cevapi (an oversized roll sandwich stuffed with sausage). I'd had sirnica and burek (basically sirnica with meat amid the cheese) before, so the Twin Falls buddy I'd brought along insisted I taste the cevapi.
He also ordered our food and drinks from Gracanin in his native tongue, and they exchanged pleasantries and talked for a few minutes about their families. I could've done it myself--Gracanin's English is good, despite a thick accent (he's been in this country via Germany since 1997), and the menu is in both Bosnian and English--but the buddy made sure to order the food he wanted me to taste and a couple of different drinks.
As we waited for the entrees, we sipped Jupi (a brand of orange soda) and Cockta (a cola), both exported from Slovenia, and glanced around the premises. The decor is a mesh of '50s diner, European cafeteria and sports bar. There is a huge back room full of folding tables and chairs designed especially to host parties and receptions, and in the front room, there are Happy Days-esque diner seats upholstered in red leather. A red felt pool table is the centerpiece of the main dining room, overlooked by two hanging televisions and one 50-inch giant screen TV in the corner. They show a lot of soccer games there, among other sports, and often times crank up albums by popular bands of their homeland like Crvena Jabuka and Bijelo Dugme.
Before the food arrived, my buddy warned me that it wasn't going to look American (Thank the heavens!). Although you can order french fries or ketchup on the side, they aren't on the menu, and they don't come standard. The quite large cevapi (more than I could ultimately handle) arrived with a scoopful of ajvar (a red pepper relish), a green olive, an onion slice and a pickled pepper. The doughy bread the sausage pieces rested on was absolutely delicious, and both the meat and side sauce were tasty.
"Nothing here is bought; it's all homemade," my buddy assured me. I could tell that at first bite, anyway.
Gracanin and company clearly know how to serve up delectable cuisine. And everything was reasonable there--the dishes ranged between a ridiculously inexpensive $3.99 and $5.99. But, honestly, those still aren't the primary reasons to rave about such a place. It's the feeling you get when you talk to Gracanin. See for yourself. Go grab a Bosnian buddy of your own and see. Don't have one? Make one. Still no luck? Go by yourself. You'll get good food served up by a good person.
--Travis Estvold gets by with a little help from his friends