The tea tray is silver, and the cups Sinacia Yovanovich is delicately settling on it are worthy of the service. True, they’re not porcelain, but they’re not paper, either. In mismatched but sturdy ceramic cups, the first coffee drinks of the day are getting their perfection review from Yovanovich, at the Eurolounge Café in downtown North Bend.
It’s a narrow shop with a green marble floor, dark wood, an exposed ceiling and a classic coffeehouse feel, and it’s a dream come true for Yovanovich.
“I’ve worked in the café industry at Nordstrom’s, when I was 15 and a half,” he said. He was always around the industry, and had friends who owned their own shops.
“I’ve always wanted to open my own café,” he said.
Yovanovich was born in Romania, emigrated with his parents to an Arizona refugee camp at age 7, and grew up in the Puget Sound area. He now lives in Fall City, close to his North Bend parents, and he never really pursued his dream. It didn’t seem financially possible, he said, until last this past year, when things started coming together, almost in spite of him.
He was operating the Eurolounge rental hall, hosting events for up to 147 people, and clients began asking for a kitchen. The venue was not up to King County Health Department requirements for serving food, though, and would require significant renovation. He put it off, but more people asked for kitchen facilities, and it soon became obvious that he needed to do the work.
“I thought, come on, is my dream really coming true and I’m just too dumb to notice it?” he laughed. “So I basically sold everything I had,” to get started he said.
He did most of the work himself, painting the walls from a blend of some 30 leftover paints, refinishing the floor and crown moldings, building furniture and fixtures from reclaimed wood, and so on. He bought a refurbished espresso machine and other appliances, reused existing furniture — “that table is about 100 years old,” he points — and generally worked hard to be environment-conscious, as well as cost-conscious.
Eurolounge Café has been open for about a month, and will operate alongside the rental hall. In addition to mountain-grown South American coffee, Yovanovich has begun serving both sweet and savory crepes made from an old recipe that came from both his family, and his Serbian-born wife Cristina’s.
“For at least the last 110 years, we’ve used it in my family,” he said.
The crepes are made fresh every day, and are topped with as many fresh, local ingredients as he can find, because “I’m all about trying to get as much as I can from the locals.”
Eurolounge Café is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day but Tuesday. The hours may change to suit his clientele, but Yovanovich, fueled by happiness, has no problem handling the workload, mainly by himself. He and Cristina are expecting their first child together this winter, and he’s fulfilled his lifelong dream.
“I always knew in the back of my mind that some day I would do a nice coffee shop,” he said. “Something simple, but good. The time just happened to be now.”