CLIFTON, N.J. – When two sisters from the former Yugoslavia who came to the United States as refugees want a taste of home, they know exactly where to go: Café Bubamara in Clifton.
“This reminds me of my mom’s cooking. You feel at home,” Garfield resident Adisa Feratovic said of the cafe's Balkan food.
“When you miss it, you know where to come. Here,” said her sister, Alisa Mackic.
The sisters, who came to the United States as children, were sitting at a wooden table packed with homemade burek -- a baked, stuffed pie made of flakey phyllo dough. The pies were each filled with fresh food, like meat, spinach, cheese and zucchini.
“I have a lady from Montenegro, and every morning she is making them from scratch,” Snezana Milic, who owns the restaurant with her husband Alex, said of the pies.
They also serve food like savory crepes, omelets, calzones, French toast, sandwiches, and paninis as well as a variety of desserts and coffees.
The Garfield sisters are far from the only ones who go to the café to feel closer to home. Yelp is filled with reviews with similar sentiments.
“If you are from Southeast Europe like me and long for the atmosphere, food, music, and people, then this is your place,” one reviewer wrote. “Even if you are not from this region, you will still fall in love.”
The Milics came to the United States from the former Yugoslavia in 1997, following war, Alex said. Before moving to the United States, he ran a restaurant in Montenegro with his mother and brother, he said.
Alex told Daily Voice he is thankful for the opportunities he has in this United States.
“I like this country. I don’t like it, I love it,” he said. “You have a chance to do something for you and your family and make a life.”
The couple named their restaurant Cafe Bubamara as an ode to Alex’s stepfather, who had planned to run the spot with them before he died, Alex said. Bubamara was his stepfather’s nickname for their daughter, he said.
“America is the dream and dreams sometimes come true,” he said.