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Looking to add more European flavor, family opens first Bosnian restaurant in Dubuque

Before Ado's opened, the nearest Bosnian restaurant was 90 miles away.
Published: Dec. 8, 2020 at 10:03 PM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - The white, blue, and yellow brightening the walls at the new Ado’s Taste of Europe restaurant in Dubuque have a special meaning: they represent the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s flag and the owners’ heritage.

Selma Durakovic said opening a Bosnian restaurant in Dubuque has been a long time coming.

“We thought about it, but we never just pushed the idea through,” Durakovic said. “The closest Bosnian restaurant is about 90 miles away, so we do not have anything really in Dubuque area. So we decided to offer something new to Dubuque and Dubuque community.”

That, and the hope for a broader appeal, is what pushed them to start both a Bosnian restaurant and a grocery store in the same building.

”Obviously there is a risk; we do not have a big Bosnian community here in Dubuque area, but Bosnian food is well-known,” Durakovic mentioned. “It is really good food, we have a lot of dishes and it is really delicious.”

Durakovic said her mother’s talented hands are in charge of most of the traditional European cuisine, which includes cevapi, Bosnia’s national dish, linked sausage, Bosnian crepes, and the European hamburger.

”Our expectations were exceeded,” Durakovic said. “We almost ran out of cevapi, so that is really good, and we received really good feedback.”

The other side of the business is a grocery store, where they sell Bosnian coffee, juice, and sweets.

Durakovic said opening Dubuque’s first Bosnian restaurant and welcoming customers in, even if it is just for a cup of Bosnian coffee, has been a treat.

”It means a lot to me and my family,” Durakovic said. “Just being able to offer something new to the area and, at the end of the day, when you receive positive feedback, it just makes us very happy and it is really satisfying.”

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