Kennewick restaurant is small, specialized

By Loretto J. Hulse, Herald food writerSeptember 7, 2012 

If you're craving a new ethnic restaurant or yearning for an afternoon chocolate fix, there's one place to satisfy both appetites -- the Euro Bistro & Chocolate Cafe in historic downtown Kennewick.

Business partners Melissa Smith and Mirsad Durakovic have combined her chocolatier talents and his Bosnian background into one restaurant and shop. They'll celebrate their grand opening at 10 a.m. Sept. 14.

Durakovic is a general contractor who immigrated to the Tri-Cities 12 years ago from Bosnia.

"He loves to cook and told me once he's always wanted to open a restaurant," Smith said.

Smith is also his office manager and frequently accompanies Durakovic when he goes to bid jobs.

"His accent's pretty thick. I translate his English," she said.

They began talking about food and somehow the idea of actually opening a small restaurant evolved into reality last month when they signed the lease at 308 W. Kennewick Ave.

"It's small -- it only seats 20 to 50. But that's what we wanted, something small and specialized. Why try to do what everybody else is doing? We do just a few things but do them really, really well. All our food is fresh and made from scratch," Smith said.

Durakovic taught Smith about 20 traditional Bosnian entrees and desserts. She brought her expertise in handmade chocolates, baking and cooking.

The menu is an eclectic mix of American and Bosnian foods, including grilled lamb and goat. But they do not serve any pork products.

"There's a good sized Bosnian population in the Tri-Cities and they've already found us. I apologized to them, saying that the food probably isn't what they remember from Bosnia. One man said stop apologizing, 'I want you to always cook for me.' It's a compliment when a Bosnian says he likes my cooking," Smith said.

But you don't need to be Bosnian to appreciate the ethnic dishes on the menu.

Brooke Rodriguez, co-owner of the House of Style salon in Kennewick, stopped in Wednesday for more goulash. Her husband had bought some earlier and set it aside to eat later. He never got a chance; Rodriguez ate it first.

"It's delicious. So I thought I'd better get him some to replace what I ate," Rodriguez said.

Selecting several chocolatey treats for dessert, she said, "I'm going to tell all my friends about this place."

Smith learned to make handmade chocolates from the owners of Choc-Alot in Tucson. She went to work for them when she was 18 and when she turned 21, she bought the business.

"I had it 10 years and then sold it when I married and my husband's job brought him to the Tri-Cities," she said.

That was more than a decade ago, but Smith kept her hands in chocolate, making treats for family and friends at Christmas.

"I'm always experimenting. Two weeks ago I created lemon bark, raspberry bark, orange cream bark and, for fall, an apple-cinnamon bark," she said.

Be sure to ask for samples of the candies and, if you're unsure of what you're ordering, the Bosnian foods.

"I'd rather people know what they're getting and be happy than disappointed," she said.

All their foods can be packaged for take out and they will deliver to Kennewick addresses for a $3 delivery fee. Smith also does special orders for her chocolates and has a variety of molds including a footballs, wine bottles and roses.

Call 585-1100. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service