Small Bites is an occasional series visiting new and established restaurants.
On my first visit to Yapi Mediterranean Subs and Sandwiches, I ordered cevapi. A few weeks later, when I spoke with owner Lisa Grozdanic by phone, I asked which Yapi dish she’d suggest to a first-time diner.
SOURCE: St. Louis Post Dispatch
The cevapi, she said. Or the burger.
Burgers are everywhere. Get the cevapi. Yapi’s take on the traditional Bosnian dish is a snappy, juicy sausage with a strong beef flavor crackling with grill char and spice.
(For the cevapi newcomer: 1) Sausage is an imperfect term. Cevpai are skinless, and you could also describe them as a kind of kebab. 2) Cevapi are small, roughly the size of an average adult’s thumb. 3) As is customary, Yapi serves you several of these small cevapi sandwiched between halves of the large, airy flatbread called lepinja. On the side is sour cream and raw red onion.)
Grozdanic and her husband, Armin, opened Yapi last fall on South Kingshighway in Southampton. Armin, a Bosnian native, is the chef.
“My husband’s family is well known for cooking,” Grozdanic told me. “My mother-in-law is an amazing cook.”
Grozdanic also works for the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis, and in that role she works with refugees. During Ramadan last year, Armin would cook iftar, the meal that breaks each day’s fast, for groups of refugees. One of the donors who was helping to feed the refugees told Armin he should open a restaurant.
After Armin was laid off from his full-time job, the Grozdanics did just that.
Lisa calls Yapi Bosnian-American rather than Bosnian. The menu includes the aforementioned burger, a sub with fried chicken and another sub with buffalo-style chicken. I ordered the buffalo-chicken on another visit, and if it’s unlikely to replace cevapi as my go-to here, its tender, tangy meat with provolone and ranch dressing provides one more reason to return.
Yapi Mediterranean Subs and Sandwiches; 5005 South Kingshighway; 314-354-8333