Try Eurofoods, 3006 N. Main Street
By Tom Fleming
By Tom Fleming
Real Rockford #2
3006 N. Main Street
Once upon a time, if you wanted to eat Vietnamese (or Thai) or Serbian
food you had to go to Southeast Asia or Yugoslavia, but thanks to the
Vietnam War, Rockfordians can enjoy Asian cuisine. It was only a matter of
time before refugees from the Balkan Wars began sharing their rich culinary
heritage with the victims of fast food, unripened tomatoes, and what
supermarkets jokingly call ³bread.²
Chicago and Milwaukee both have fine Serbian restaurants and grocery stores,
and although Rockford has yet to have a Serbian or Croatian restaurant, the
great cuisine of the Balkans can now be sampled at Eurofoods, located next
to Calvanese¹s Italian delicatessen (also worth a visit).
The Balkans is not a place known for sissy food, and Rockford¹s carnivorous
males will be happy to learn that Eurofoods specializes in meat: smoked
sausages made from pork or beef, rich bacons, and the fresh-made
sausagesperfect for grillingcalled cevapi (or cevapcici) and pljeskavica
(which looks like a hamburger but tastes a thousand times better).
Eurofoods also sells a wide variety of European cheeses (including the
famous fresh-cream cheese called kajmak), spices, and prepared foodsit¹s
worth a visit just to buy the fruit juices. But the real masterpieces of
the store are the barbecued lamb and pork. Sasha Radic, the proprietor,
cooks 20-35 pound whole pigs and lambs to perfection, and on weekends you
can buy the cooked meat by the pound ($6.00) or put in an order anytime for
a whole pig or lamb. A suckling pig served on a platterwith or without
the apple in the mouthis the perfect main course for party.
Sasha was born in Zenica in Bosnia, but he fled his war-torn homeland just
after finishing high school. Arriving as a refugee in Seattle, he spent
additional time in school learning his almost perfect English and moved to
Chicago, where there is a large Bosnian and Serbian community. In Chicago,
he met his wife Ljiljana, a Serbian American with roots in Montenegro.
Working for an engineering firm, he accepted a transfer to Rockford, where
he made plans (with help from Chicago relatives who have a similar business)
to open Eurofoods, and when the transfer fell through, he decided to stick
with the store and with Rockford. ³The pace of life is quieter here,² he
says, ³and running his own business gives him the chance to advance as far
as hard work and dedication will take him.
Eurofoods opened at the end of January, and by now the word has spread far
beyond the community of Serbs and Bosnian Muslims who already appreciate
this hearty cuisine. Half his customers are American, many of them from
Polish and Ukrainian extraction, but Italian and Swedish Americans have also
discovered the joys of roast lamb and spicy smoked sausage. His cookies and
candies are becoming a favorite for many young working women, who appreciate
the natural ingredients, fresh flavors, and lower calories of Balkan sweets.
Before too long, Eurofoods will be selling Ljiljana¹s fresh-baked bread, and
their dream someday is to open up a restaurant.
The Bosnian wars are over, and although there are still troubles in the old
country, all ethnic and religious groups are welcome at Eurofoods. If you
are a stranger to the region (which I have come to know and love from many
trips over the past 10 years), Sasha and Ljiljana are happy to give you