balkan bakery - 4Erin and I grudgingly decided to try The Balkan Bakery for lunch because it’s new and we’re trying to peel ourselves away from such downtown mall casual staples as Revolutionary Soup, Christian’s Pizza, and Baggby’s. When you’re hungry it’s hard to resist the old faithful stand-bys. How silly of us it was to grudge.

Upon walking in you are greeted by an unassuming décor and by Josef, an enthusiastic and friendly baker who eagerly describes the Balkan fare. He goes into remarkable detail and is quick to emphasize how fresh, healthy, and not-too-sweet everything is. Certain special ingredients come from Europe but most are plucked out of our very own Farmer’s Market each week.

We ordered the Kabob Sandwich and a hefty slab of baklava.balkan bakery - 5 Though there was some confusion about what is and is not on the sandwich — the menu is a little confusing — the result was quite tasty, with real turkey and fresh vegetables enhanced by a special Balkan flatbread that was as fresh as Josef said it was.

The baklava brick came out looking heavy and foreboding, but the flavors were perfect. It was indeed not too sweet, with a hint of spice, cooled down by the citrusy tang of a lemon slice laid on top. It was still thick and dense, but the delicacy of flavors struck just the right note.

You won’t come here for the ambiance, though the umbrella-shaded tables out front are pleasant enough. It’s the bread, desserts, and service that will bring you back.

Erin says: “The guy at Balkan Bakery was super cute!”

award_star_gold_3 16 Rating: Erin: Jed:

thumb_up 16 Pros: Fresh and delicious food, outdoor seating, one-hour parking behind the bakery, friendly service.

thumb_down 16 Cons: Mediocre ambiance inside.

money_dollar 16 Price: $5-7 for a huge sandwich (the picture above depicts two quarters of one sandwich).

car famfam 16 Parking: There are a few one-hour spots for customers behind the bakery and a few lots just down the street.

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