I did it, folks! I finally got a seat at Balkan Treat Box! I first tried on a Tuesday, but they’re closed that day—you might want to make note of that. My second attempt was on the first Saturday after their mid-February opening, when there was a 45 minute wait! Third time—BINGO!
Cyndy and I went on Thursday. By mid-afternoon the place was still crowded, but seats were available at the communal table. The dining area holds about 50 and orders are placed at a counter and brought to your table.
And, yes, all the hype is true. The menu is brief, (exactly 9 items), but packed with Old World goodness.
Edo’s wife, Loryn, has the culinary creds for the venture, having worked in a number of restaurants around the country, including Farmhaus, Frasiers, and Pappy’s Smokehouse in St. Louis.
Loryn learned to cook Balkan food from Edo’s relatives in St. Louis and abroad. (BTW, did you know that St. Louis has the largest Bosnian population next to the country of Bosnia?)
During a two month stay in the Balkans, she learned to cook regional dishes from anyone willing to teacher her. Since then she and Edo have turned their love and knowledge of Balkan food into unique, flavorful treats for St. Louis. When Balkan Treat Box first took to the streets as a food truck in December, 2016, they sold out within two hours!
This February there were long lines with the opening of their first brick and mortar restaurant in Webster Groves. Acclaim has come quickly from around the country with Balkan Treat Box being featured on Food Network, in Food & Wine, and Travel & Leisure.
I give this one three thumbs up. Put it at the top of your list.
Glossary of Terms
Knowing these terms will help you get a jump on the menu, while people are standing in line behind you waiting for you to make up your mind.
Somun: (so-mun)This is the pita like bread cooked in the wood-fired oven and the basis for most of the menu items.
Kajmak: (kazsh-mac) Creamy dairy product similar to clotted creamy used in Balkan countries. Usually served with bread or sausage.
Cevapi: (che-va-pee) grilled beef sausage served on somun along with Kajmak, onions and cabbage salad side.
Pidi: (PEE’-dae) The signature dish that comes in the canoe-shaped bread. Topped with cheese, ajvar, kajmak, herbs, cabbage salad side.
Ajvar: (eye-var) Condiment made from red bell peppers and oil.
Doner: (donor) A spit-roasted meat sandwich served on somun along with onion, cheese, cabbage, tomato, lettuce and house sauce.
Lahmacun: (lah’-mah’-juhn) A Turkish street food. A thin, crispy pizza, that can be served flat but is usually rolled at BTB. Includes beef, or tofu, parsley, lemon, onion, sumac salad, sauce and cabbage salad side.
Patlidzan: (pot-lee-jahn) an eggplant sandwich.
The Balkans: The southeast region of Europe, that usually includes Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, and portions of Greece and Turkey.
Balkan Treat Box. 18103 Big Bend in Webster Groves. Open: Wed-Thu 11a-till sold out, (closed Mon-Tue); Food Truck: Runs spring and summer. Owners: Loryn and Edo Nallic.