Ethnic Markets: Beograd Meat Market and Café
By Lisa Shames in Food on Apr 17, 2007 7:03PM
Three minutes after we walked into Beograd Meat Market, we figured out that it’s a place that attracts a lot of regulars. How did we decide so quickly? That’s exactly the amount of time it took for Dusan Pavlovic to come over and ask if we needed any help. It’s this kind of customer service — Beograd is family owned, and it shows — coupled with a genuine passion for the Eastern European products they sell that had us smitten on our first visit.
Dusan, whose uncle owns Beograd, was happy to give us the scoop on this Irving Park store, which functions as a market, butcher, bakery, deli and café, all in a relatively small space. He proudly showed us the bulletin board with articles on Beograd from various publications — hey, we never said we were the first to discover this cool spot, but we know a good thing when we see it — as he led us to the café for one of their European-style cappuccinos.
The market, opened since 1986, stocks products from Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Macedonia, Dusan told us. The café, which opened last year, serves authentic Serbian food, including pastries — Dusan says their tiramisu is the best — meatballs in tomato sauce, stuffed cabbage and hearty soups. (Look for a lighter menu in the summer, featuring crepes and Serbian salads, which will be a nice fit for their patio when it opens.) By far their most popular dish is their burek (pictured above), a flaky dough pie filled with meat or feta cheese. Dusan recommends pairing it with a glass of their housemade yogurt drink.
Back on the market side, Dusan showed us the five made-on-the-premises breads and the deli case stocked with a variety of meats, including smoked sausages and a prosciutto-style ham. The cans of pate and smoked fish would be a perfect addition for a picnic, as would a jar of ajvar, a spread made from red bell peppers, eggplant and garlic which adds zip to sandwiches and grilled meat. Better yet, ask for one of their bureks to go from the heated display case by the cash register. The nine-inch pie can be cut into four to eight pieces, says Dusan, but with $5.50 price tag, we just might keep this one all for ourselves.
Beograd Meat Market and Cafe is located at 2937 W. Irving Park Road, 773-478-7575.