Ottertail Country

Ottertail Country
Ottertail South

June 24, 2009

A trip to Ilija's Place.....


While in Milwaukee last week, we visited a new-to-us dining establishment. It is called Ilija's Place, in Cudahy. Sister Liz' husband, Dennis Pavlovic, has a Serbian heritage and his father was a high ranking official in Serbia.... but that's a story I hope Dennis will be telling us soon...
Here Peggy and Lucy are ready to enter.

So we have visited a couple other Serbian restaurants in the area, but Ilija's is the best we have been to. I believe Ilija said he came to the U.S. in 1978? He and his family run this place and it is very Serbian oriented in decor and food. As you can see, it is in a very residental area, lots of homes, trees.... pleasant surroundings.

The interior was nicely done, with an old world look (I guess that's what you would call it).

One recurring motif was the inclusion of musical instruments. This serving area was near our table and had a couple of guitars on it. I'm guessing they get used once in a while.

Music again part of the theme, and there were many pictures hanging on the walls.

Just inside the main entrance was this display of traditional Serbian clothing. At the left edge of the photo, and about half way up, you can see what looks like a poster on the door. It was telling of a woman who would be at Ilija's in the near future, playing accordian for a celebration they were having. Turns out Liz and Dennis attended this. Maybe I'll get an update on how it was.

Another view of the bar area. It was fun just to try to look at everything there. I did not have any of the traditional plum brandy, but Dennis tells us that it is very common in the Serb community.

Our table was next to a doorway leading to an outdoor patio area. This was a grill that Ilija told us about. It used heat both below and above whatever you were cooking. He said it worked really well with the dual heat.

There were half a dozen tables out there and one could eat outside if they wished. Very pleasant atmosphere.

In the background you can see the larger cooking area made of brick. It is large enough to roast a whole pig or lamb. If I have this right, they usually cook something out here each Saturday during the summer, begining at noon with the food ready later in the day. Sounds good, and I'm sure we will be visiting a roasting session if we are in town during the summer......

Lucy and Peggy look pretty intent on making a food descision. Some things sounded familiar, some were a mystery. I realized later that I did not get a photo of our server, one of Ilija's sons. He helped us with the menu and made us feel very welcome and at ease. One of the best dining experiences we've had.

Bryn and a friend of hers from work joined us for this evening of good food, gracious hosts and a good family visit. Notice the two giant swords hanging on the wall behind the table, and on the extreme left is the doorway to the patio....

Here's a look at the menu (you will have to double click to enlarge it). We had the Sarma, Stuffed peppers, Veal Paprikash, Venison Goulash and Kobasica.

This image of the menu was pulled off Ilija's website, and it looks just like the pages out of the menus we used. Just another nice touch..... Click the link above to get a better look at Ilija's Place.

Hey, I just took another look at their website and I think this photo is of the young man that served our table. Lots to look at on their pages.
We called Liz and Dennis to let them know we were at this restaurant, and seeing as though they only live a mile away, they rode their bicycles to come and join us. Dennis and I had some STONG Serbian coffee, and it turns out they know some of the same people that Ilija and his family know. Dennis had a great time there as he is very interested in his own heritage and this place fits right in.

We visited and laughed with Ilija for quite a while before we left, and we talked him into coming outside for a photo as we were leaving. It was a great evening and we left feeling as though we had just found some long lost relatives!! Better hosts one could not find.....



Anonymous said...

This blog issue is great. The pictures, inside and out, are wonderful. We surely had a good time there that evening.


yram said...

nice review. am going to have to check out this place next time in the city