New home on South Main for a shop with European flavor

University students and city residence have plenty of unique options when it comes to eating. The Naslada Bistro, which serves authentic European foods as well as some traditional American dishes, is no exception.

The bistro opened in November of 2003, previously located in the Woodland Mall. Mariana Mitova, part owner of the bistro, believes the restaurant’s new location will increase customer awareness.

“We opened just a few months ago [at the downtown location] and we’ve already seen a difference with more people and a lot better response than in the mall,” Mitova said.

Now with a new location, Mitova is hoping for more success.

“We’ve been trying to move out of the mall. We were looking at spots in Perrysburg as well as Bowling Green,” Mitova said.

Mitova however, was happy about being able to stay within the Bowling Green community.

“The regulars were happy to see us stay [in Bowling Green]. Plus, the Bowling Green community already knew about us,” said Mitova who, along with her husband and co-owner, Boyko Mitov, had made many efforts to spread the word about their food.

“We want customers to become acquainted with the food because Bulgarian food is not very well known,” Mitova said.

The restaurant itself was a life long dream of Mitov, who has worked in food service since a teenager.

Mitov was lucky enough to win a green card from a lottery in Bulgaria eight years ago. His family then relocated here to Bowling Green, Ohio where he had a cousin living.

“[His cousin] helped us settle and become accustom to life here,” Mitova said.

Naslada Bistro specializes mostly in food from the Mitov’s home country of Bulgaria.

“We’ve tried to pick the most famous recipes from Bulgaria. We’ve changed them a bit though to suit the needs and tastes of people here,” Mitova said.

However, the bistro menu includes other foods as well.

“We included a few recipes from other countries in Europe to serve a wider range of customers as opposed to narrower customer base,” Mitova said.

Jim Longley, a cook at the bistro feels this is one of the most important aspects of the restaurant.

“The menu is very diverse. That’s what makes it so special. Anyone can find something they like here,” Longley said.

The gourmet dishes are from traditional Bulgarian recipes that the owners have brought with them to the United States, according to Longley.

What Mitova is most proud of is that the food is entirely homemade.

“The most important thing about our menu is that it is homemade and that’s what customers appreciate most about our restaurant,” Mitova said.

Some of the ingredients, such as the feta cheese, are even imported from Bulgaria, Longley said.

“Anything with the feta cheese is amazing. Some of the ingredients are just so exotic and wonderful,” he adds.

Longley prepares mostly the soup, salads, and sandwiches at the bistro and said his favorite dish so far is the portabella panini.

Mitova also considers the restaurant relatively cheap so it is affordable for many people, including college students.

“We’d rather have people come in more often and be able to spend less money than have high prices where people can only visit seldom,” Mitova said.

The menu is also very accommodating for vegetarians and children. The bistro is even open for breakfast to accommodate those needs.

Some of the more unique foods include the Arabic dish moussaka, the dessert baklava and pork kavarma.

According to server Erin Weathern, who also spends time in the kitchen cooking the food, “All of the food that I’ve tried is delicious.”

The bistro is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. from 7:30 p.m. and is located at 182 South Main St., close to Grounds For Thoughts.