Some years back, Valley artist Richard Burhans and his wife Sallie explored the timeless art and scenery of Europe.
Now, the artistic visions that Burhans brought back from Italy, Austria and Germany have a new purpose, enlivening Sinacia Yovanovich’s Euro Lounge Cafe and crepe restaurant in downtown North Bend.
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. Now a Fall City resident, the cafe that he opened in 2011 is his dream come true.
He met Burhans, whose paintings are just one of his many projects to support local business and the Valley. Yovanovich was thrilled with how Burhans made this happen so quickly.
“People are really loving it,” he said. “This is how I pictured things in here. This is what I had in mind.”
Burhans broke out his watercolors for some new original pieces, flexing his talent in the different medium.
The new works were based on Burhans’ artistic exploration of Europe with his wife, Sallie.
“Sal and I do a lot of travel in Europe,” said Burhans. “We used to take ballroom dancing lessons.”
Just learning the Vienna waltz, the couple wanted to dance it where it originated. So, for their 25th wedding anniversary, they made a trip to Vienna, Austria, to waltz at the Rathaus, the city hall of Vienna, during the ball season.
The Rathaus holds a thousand people with an orchestra on each end of the building. Dances are led off by the local youth, young people in fancy dress.
“Sallie and I go out to start the ball, and they start to play a swing! Benny Goodman!”Burhans says. “The next one is a cha-cha.” Eventually, they did the hometown dances, and Richard and Sallie got to waltz. It was a stunning experience, they recalled.
“If you want to see the art in Europe, you go to Vienna,” said Burhans. Austria’s Habsburg rulers patronized and collected heavily over the centuries. “There’s every artist in the world there. That art is beautifully taken care of.”
Exploring Europe, the Burhanses had cookies with a countess in an Italian palace, and listened to the music playing from tourist-friendly barges on a Bavarian lake.
“We tried to hit old palaces in old places,” says Dick.
Dick Burhans was most impressed by the craft and the respect for art that he found in Europe.
“Those people put generations, lifetimes of effort in,” he said. “People have dedicated their whole lives to it.”
Yovanovich and Burhans will keep the watercolors up at Euro Lounge as long as they’re popular. They’re for sale.
The art has made a difference, Yovanovich says. Customers feel more comfortable and stay longer. He’s made changes to the cafe since opening, bringing in a 19th-century wine bar and adding savory and sweet crepes and beverages.
Euro Lounge Cafe is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends.
You can follow the cafe on Facebook and Yelp.
San Giorgio, Venice
Athena Pallada Statue
Kunsthistorisches Museum lion
Market Street, Italy