Sunday, December 5, 2021
Dec. 5, 2021

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Bosnian restaurant planned for downtown Vancouver

7 Restaurant owner hopes to open this year

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A pedestrian strolls past a future Bosnian restaurant called 7 Restaurant, which is in the former Oriental Fast Bowl at 950 Main St. in downtown Vancouver.
A pedestrian strolls past a future Bosnian restaurant called 7 Restaurant, which is in the former Oriental Fast Bowl at 950 Main St. in downtown Vancouver. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Dana Deronjic plans on opening a Bosnian restaurant called 7 Restaurant in downtown Vancouver next to Elements Restaurant later this year.

“I want to offer traditional Bosnian food to introduce people in Portland and Vancouver to our culture,” she said. She also seeks to create a space for Bosnians to gather. “There’s a big Bosnian community here and in Portland, but there’s nowhere for us to eat,” Deronjic said.

Her father, Mujo Deronjic, opened a Bosnian restaurant 20 years ago near Andresen Road and Fourth Plain Boulevard when the family moved to Vancouver. He sold it to another owner, but he kept all his family’s recipes.

To create a menu for 7 Restaurant, Dana Deronjic and her mother, Belma, are sorting through their favorite recipes. Cevapi, small grilled minced meat sausages, were a favorite at her father’s restaurant and will definitely be on the menu. Burek, a baked pastry filled with meat as well as kabobs, sausages, steaks, burgers, crepes and baklava may all be on the final menu.

The dishes will come in large portions and will be served family style. Bosnian meals traditionally come meat-heavy, but Deronjic believes that some vegetarian or vegan options are necessary to meet the needs of the local population. The meal will end with traditional Turkish coffee service.

Wine and beer will be available, but traditional spirits like rakia won’t be stocked.

Deronjic is interested in creating a fresh take on Bosnian dining. In this vein, the space at 950 Main St. has been completely renovated with new decor, fixtures and flooring to create a modern European feel with a vintage twist to represent her parents’ homeland.

To start her business, Deronjic has relied on her family and the Bosnian community. Deronjic noted that hiring staff has been difficult, but she’s been able to enlist her cousins to work at her restaurant for now. She hired members of the Bosnian community to work on her renovation project and they’ve consistently shown up.

Deronjic’s career so far has been in marketing. She still holds a position as a lead business account executive at Gift Tree. She’s never owned a restaurant, but her cousins in Chicago owned restaurants in Europe. They’ve weighed in regularly regarding the restaurant.

“I have a lot of family,” she said, “it’s like ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding.’ ”

The family’s lucky number determined the name for the restaurant. Deronjic’s father’s number when he played for the Bosnia soccer team was seven. Her parents married in July (the seventh month) and Deronjic was born in July.

Once that name was chosen, everything else seemed to fall into place. Deronjic and her father were having lunch in downtown Vancouver and happened to see that the space was available. The owner had just posted the for lease sign in the window. She’s also found her new neighbor, Miguel Sosa of Elements Restaurant, to be endlessly helpful. Deronjic hopes this good luck continues so she can open her restaurant by the holidays.

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