Kiosk Balkan Street Food ghosts the old ways of cooking

Nemanja Milunovic became a chef because he didn’t like his mother’s cooking.

“I just wanted to be better,” he says. “Growing up, her food was not that good. She was working all the time. She cared, but not really. She was always cooking fast. She didn’t have passion.”

Operating out of an Avondale ghost kitchen, Milunovic is the solo chef behind Kiosk Balkan Street Food. He developed his own passion after taking over his mother’s kitchen in Belgrade, Serbia, where he grew up. She gave him some general guidance and he did get better than his mom (she agrees), mastering moussaka, stuffed cabbage, and goulash with the mushrooms his grandmother foraged. And he moved on to other kitchens, namely Art Smith’s Table Fifty-Two when he first moved to Chicago in 2012, then on the opening team at Nico Osteria, followed by River Roast, and then Prime & Provisions. Along the way he’s staged at touchstones like Alinea and Manresa, and graduated from the French Pastry School. He’d been the head baker at the Little Goat for three months when the pandemic struck, so he left for Las Vegas, where he completed an internship at Amaury Guichon’s Pastry Academy.

What all this continuing education has added up to at Kiosk is a menu of formidable sandwiches on an extraordinary version of somun bread, a catalog of traditional and tweaked spreadable mezze that span the Balkans, and audacious improvements on sacred, canonical dishes.

Kiosk Balkan Street Food ghosts the old ways of cooking

Trisha Anderson

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