Thirteen years after opening a small grocery stocked with piroshkies and strudel for shoppers to warm up at home, Euro Foods’ owners Maka Aptsiaur and Sasha Pavlichenko are creating a café with a menu of specialties from the region bounded by the Black and Baltic seas.
“We’re going to bring something new for the community and mix Eastern European cuisine with Southern hospitality,” Aptsiauri says.
The Aptsiauris plan by August to have completed their store’s relocation from the corner of Ashley River and Wappoo roads to a strip mall at 1664 Old Towne Road. But Aptsiauri says the 20-seat café housed within it won’t open until later in the year.
“We want to make sure we get all of the recipes worked out,” says Aptsiauri, who for eight years served as executive chef at the Capriccio’s in Mount Pleasant. The popular Italian restaurant closed in 2011. “We’re not going to have a second chance for a first impression.”
Although Aptsiauri hasn’t finalized her menu, she guarantees pierogis, goulash and baked goods representing the entirety of Eastern Europe.
“People are asking for traditional home-cooked meals,” she says. “Everybody is so excited.”
According to Aptsiauri, Euro Foods since opening has experienced a “tremendous” increase in customers, thanks both to a growing population of European immigrants and U.S.-born eaters from places with longstanding Eastern European communities.
She says, “We have surprisingly lots of American customers,” noting that Euro Foods’ sales have climbed every year. Still, she hasn’t given up on attracting still more patrons with the café: “We’re going to introduce new people to our cuisine.”