Q: When I attended a small gathering at Grbic Restaurant, the chuck roast steak with mushroom gravy was outstanding, tender chunks of melt-in-your-mouth beef packed with flavor. I would love to have the recipe. — Carol Ogrodnik, Town and Country
A: When butcher Sulejman Grbic was courting his now-wife, Ermina, who was then a chef in Bosnia, he entreatied, “I know how to pick the best meat. You know how to cook it. We should get together.”
It was a good gambit, Grbic Restaurant & Banquet Center opened in 2002 in the former Bailey Farm Dairy building in south St. Louis. “The building was in horrific shape; it took four years to rebuild,” even with the help of fellow Bosnian immigrants with construction skills, says Sulejman Grbic. The restaurant’s brick walls are studded with stones collected across the U.S. when Sulejman was driving a truck. Hand-painted murals depict scenes from the Grbics’ homeland. The attached banquet hall seats 400.
Grbic’s (the Anglicized pronunciation is Gur-biks) is a family-run restaurant, where everything is made from scratch and seasonings are imported from Europe. Sulejman still selects the meat for the restaurant; Ermina makes all the pastries. The couple’s three U.S.-born grown children run the day-to-day operations. Daughter Senada has a degree from Le Cordon Bleu and heads the kitchen; son Ermin studied restaurant management and culinary arts at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park; and daughter Erna runs the banquet business. The third generation is in training; 8-year-old Ayla tells the family that she is already a “manager.”
The restaurant serves what Senada Grbic calls “eclectic eastern European” fare with a few Bosnian specialties worked in. For St. Louisans, Grbic’s cabbage rolls are a favorite. Customers always tell us, says Senada, “These taste just like my grandma’s cabbage rolls.”
The Chuck Roast Steak isn’t on the restaurant’s menu but is a favorite that regulars know to ask for. For this dish, Sulejman Grbic says, “The meat must be fresh, never frozen. Ask the butcher for a nice thick cut, at least two or three inches thick.” To brown and slowly cook the meat, use a heavy-bottomed pan such as a Dutch oven. “My mom made this all the time for family gatherings,” says Senada Grbic. “It turns out so juicy and tender but does take patience.”
Find the recipe here.
Grbic Restaurant & Banquet Center
4071 Keokuk Street, St. Louis
To request a restaurant recipe • Send the name and location of the restaurant and a description of the dish to RecipeRequest@post-dispatch.com. Restaurants featured in this column must be in the St. Louis area. Include your name and daytime phone number.