Subscribe to "Escondido Business Insight" for more stories like this delivered monthly to your inbox.

Balkan Favorite Adds Flavor to Escondido

Escondido Small Business Grant Helps Popular Southeast European-Inspired Eatery Re-Open

Owner Bosko Kresovich in front of the Old World Meat Company

For the past 11 years,  Bosko and Laura Kresovich have been serving a well-loved Balkin favorite to locals and visitors alike. The couple, who are the owners of Old World Meat Company in Escondido, have whipped up much success over the years, from catering events to opening a brick and mortar restaurant for their in-demand Cevap sausages and meats.

Laura learned how to cook in her mother’s and grandmother’s kitchen, but her award-winning Cevap sausages and meats come from a recipe she came up with on her own. “I grew up cooking,” said Laura, who grew up in Los Angeles. “One day I just threw spices together to see what I would come up with and that was it.” 

Cevap or Cevapi are case-less pork and beef sausages or meat patties similar to kebab meat and are popular in Southeastern European countries such as Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Greece. Laura would make her cevap for family gatherings, church celebrations, and for friends. In 2008, a friend suggested that she enter her recipe in the Cevap Challenge. She did and she took home the People’s Choice award. 

“So from that point on, people started calling us to make our sausages,” she said, adding that the sausages have also been made into hot dogs and hamburgers. Soon, Laura and her husband Bosko were catering at churches and festivals from San Diego to Los Angeles.  This gained them a following for their unique flavors that remind many of the Cevap from the old country. 

“(Actor) Christian Bale drops in every Easter to eat our food,” said Laura.

While the restaurant and shop are popular, “90% of Old World Meat Company’s business is catering,” Bosko said. Much of their catering business has been in the surrounding area, including festivals and lunch services at Orange Glen High School and San Pasqual High School. When they started, they cooked their recipes in a commercial kitchen, only serving small orders to walk-in customers. 

It’s a family affair! From left, Nikola, Sofija, Laura, Maja, and Bosko

And their business is an all-family venture, as Basko and Laura have enlisted all three of their children to help. Their oldest daughter, Sofija, runs the social media and marketing while their son, Nikola, and youngest daughter, Maja, help out in the restaurant.  

In December 2019, they opened their brick-and-mortar restaurant on East Valley Parkway with a menu that included not only the cevap sausages, hot dogs, and hamburgers, but also delicious salads, sandwiches, and made-to-order deli items.

Savory sausage sandwich with butter/feta/cream cheese spread

Things were going great until COVID-19 put a halt on all in-service dining. Laura explained, “We were able to work because we’re an essential business, but the problem became lack of product.” Meat prices soared, and when COVID-19 spread in so many beef and pork factories, the supply chain became limited. 

“They limited us to 20 pounds of meat. I normally buy 500-600 pounds of meat,” she said, adding that lack of meat and limited dining options forced the couple to go back to pop-up catering.  Now that meat prices have finally come down again, Old World Meat Company has re-opened, but only on weekends for now.

In fact, the restaurant recently received an Escondido Small Business Grant to help them reopen and expand their kitchen to serve food to eat-in customers.  “Small business owners like Bosko and Laura are the heart of Escondido,” said Amber Tarrac, Deputy Director of Economic Development. “Old World Meat Company was given a grant because the city understands supporting businesses like this is what keeps our economy strong. As they grow and expand, more members of our community will be able to dine in and enjoy another great eatery in their own backyard.”

The husband-and-wife duo plans to use the grant money to improve the restaurant’s safety protocol, which will include partitions, outdoor dining equipment, and other social distancing items. They will also invest in improvements to their kitchen, including a new griddle system. 

Bosko and Laura feel the city and the community are big supporters of their business. “They've been there for us from day one,” said Bosko, who grew up in Escondido. “It’s been a positive place. It’s a good town and you feel good here.” He also said he wanted to open a business in Escondido because he has always felt the potential of the town and the support of its leaders, “they are all very approachable,” he said.

The Kresovich’s are also grateful for all the support they have from the community throughout the pandemic. “Thank you to everybody for the opportunity to let us serve you,” Laura said. The Kresovich’s hope to be up and running on the restaurant side in early 2021, but for now, Old World Meat Company is open on the weekends for orders and take out. 

As Bosko put it, “When we’re open, come down so we can feed the world!”

Old World Meat Company is open Saturday from 12-to-6 p.m. and Sunday from 12-to-5 p.m., and is located at 2201 East Valley Parkway, Ste. E. The restaurant can be reached at 760-532-8038.

Subscribe to "Escondido Business Insight" for more stories like this delivered monthly to your inbox.