If you've ever wondered what it's like to enter the door of an ethnic restaurant, store or coffee shop in Sioux Falls, here's the challenge I issue to you: take the plunge and discover a whole new culture that is now a part of the diverse tapestry of our city.

Recently I met Jasmin Sumic, who welcomed me to JZ Coffee Bar & Grill at 313 N. Main.

Honestly I had never noticed the store before.  From this point forward, I'll be driving by and looking to see if JZ is open for my next cup of coffee, a meal or some candy for my kids.

If you're ready to experiment cooking with grocery items unique to Bosnia, you'll find it on the shelves at JZ.  Sometimes walking into an ethnic store can be intimidating, but the staff is welcoming and ready to answer questions.

Jasmin can answer your questions about the menu and can cook your food to order, varying the amount of spices and heat.  The freshly made grilled pita bread was an amazing compliment to the cevapi beef sausages, pickles, and tomato/bell pepper sauce.  Meal prices range from $8.00 to $10.00.

During my meal, I heard the fascinating story of Jasmin's journey.  Before he left Bosnia, Jasmin was a civil engineer, relocating first to Germany, looking for a life of peace after the unrest in his home country.  He came to the United States in 2000 and joined the national guard in 2001.

Until arriving on U.S. soil, the only English Jasmin knew was from John Wayne movies.  He quickly immersed himself in second language programs, often staying after class to ask more questions until instructors kindly reminded him that it was time to lock up the classroom.  Now Jasmin is an interpreter for those who were once where he walked, needing help navigating the language and culture.  He has coached many school and private soccer teams in the Sioux Falls area.

Somehow I was able to make room for Tiramisu and espresso for dessert.  Most definitely I'll be back.


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