The Balkan Grill is no more, but the Balkan Kitchen is very much a reality.
A little less than five months after Eldin Husic and his wife, Adnela Halebic-Husic, were forced to walk away from the first location for their restaurant due to zoning issues, the couple from Bosnia and Herzegovina have found a new location at 27 Cookstown Rd., formerly home to the Epicurean Kitchen.
“After the problems we faced on Boncloddy Street this summer, where we initially had tried to open our business, we were very fearful about starting the process anew,” Husic says. “Fortunately, we were lucky enough to have some amazing people by our side.”
He singles out his realtor, lawyer and staff at the Business Development Bank of Canada, but says the biggest help came from the community.
“Complete strangers helped us with such uncommon problems we faced, since we had no previous experience with things people here take for granted,” he says.
“For example, we didn’t know where to park, what to do with recycling, where to get certain supplies, what regulations were in place for various equipment, what people should be consulted for what work and a million other things.”
Husic, who spent the latter half of 2017 in Korea, where he was finishing a teaching contract at a university, says that while the system and tools that exist to help people get a new business off the ground are effective, there’s room for improvement to make the process easier.
“We believe that we need to create a system that will fully support our budding entrepreneurs from start to finish,” he says. “As it is now, even the locals have trouble getting their ideas into fruition, let alone the newcomers who might play an important part in diversifying the city’s economical and cultural prospects.”
Work is well underway to renovate the Balkan Kitchen, and Husic hopes to celebrate the grand opening in mid-February.