As in every trip to a distant destination that you visit for the first time – the first step was not easy, and the final point, covered in mist, seemed somehow uncertain and far. It was the mornig fog, not as thick as pea soup, but more like cloth cut into strips, it covered the street of Nikola Pašić in the center of Niš and hugged the old Stambolijski’s house. It seemed the perfect scenery for our first entry into the facility, one and a half century old, not in an enviable condition, somewhat dilapidated, like an old man with a cane on the wooden bench sitting in front of it and watching passers-by on the street. It was exactly the man we expected to see in front of it, Todor Stanković Stambolija, in a white shirt of coarse fabric with colorful wide belt around his waist, pulling the watch on a chain from his pocket vest and wondering if it is time for the morning coffee.
Instead of him we found his old backyard full of old wooden planks and old chairs, his house in cobwebs and dust, his fireplace extinguished.
We looked at it, turned around and made a promise, not only to ourselves, but loud and clear – that the next year at this time everything will shine with its old splendour, noise and banging of pots and cutlery will be heard again, the meat roasted in a traditional way will smell again as well as delicacies from the kitchen, something will boil in a kettle over the fire, people will sit and enjoy the garden, you will hear the laughter and music of violin and tambura. We promised loud and clear – so Todor could hear us. And the works started in a couple of days.
We gathered a team that shared our vision with us, their own creative solutions and energy crossed with ours, from a top experienced architect, through masters and journeymen of all trades, to proven marketing magicians. There was no compromise, top world standards in the hospitality industry had to find the perfect harmony with traditional motifs in the interior, we wanted a modern story that keeps the spirit of past times. Every day the team drew, devised, planned, calculated, was annoyed by obstacles, and rejoiced when they jumped over them successfully. With the common aim to make the old Todor Stambolijski feel proud and peaceful that his home was handed over to hands of the real host.
The result of our joint vision you can see and enjoy from today. In the next one and a half century.
“A mission (in business terminology) is the main task and function of a legal entity, a short description of its objectives. Every organized operation should have a defined mission and purpose, both in operational and social context.”
The Stambolijski restaurant has a twofold mission: in the traditional and modernist context.
The first one is to promote the return of real values of the old middle-class Serbia through its customs, culture and enjoying life through the prism of traditional local cuisine enriched with some ingredients that are only ours. Close your eyes, listen to old love songs with ethno notes, launch your palates into so far unexperienced Balkan adventure of taste, smell the aroma of the top homemade brandy, touch glasses of mulled wine through the precious smell of smoke of barbecue specialities…
The second one is the adoption of real values of the new urban Serbia through approaching global trends, the cultural pattern of the new millennium, hedonistic enjoyment of life, through the prism of modern cuisine enriched with some of our creative ingredients. Open your eyes, listen to light chill-lounge- jazz notes, launch your palates into so far unexperienced adventure explosion of Mediterranean taste, smell the bouquet of fine wine, touch glasses of cognac and bourbon older than you through the noble smoke of Cuban cigars…
Amet Memedović, Turkish, began the house construction back in 1875. The famous merchant from Niš, Todor Stanković Stambolija bought the still unfinished house from Memetović on 1 August 1878 for 25 gold liras. That same year, the construction of the house was coming to an end. The house was considered one of the houses of the rich, and the owner and his family were respected as honorable people and good hosts. It was the nickname of Todor Stanković that gave the house its name and since then it became known in Niš as the house of Stambolijski.
The building preserves all the features of the Serbian-Balkan style of the old city architecture and is the only preserved one in the whole Niš, so it was declared a cultural monument, and on 28 July 1949, was placed under the law protection.