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Nina’s Pantry. Courtesy photo.




Nina’s Pantry International Specialties

Where: 80 N. Main St., Concord
When: Open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
Call: 715-5922
Visit: Find Nina’s Pantry page on Facebook.




Mediterranean downtown
Local restaurateur opens specialty market

02/05/15



Nina’s Pantry, Concord’s newest specialty food store, feels like what a Mediterranean pantry might look like. The narrow shop is filled with shelves packed with olive oils, wine, pasta sauces, chocolates and desserts, plus two packed refrigerated cases of cheeses, meats and Mediterranean vegetables. It might seem familiar to Concord foodies — Nina is Nina Mujakovic, co-owner and chef of Old Europe Mediterranean Fine Dining, which is located next door to the pantry.

The store opened just before Christmas.
“I wanted to provide a specialty shop downtown,” she said, noting that she’s not at all looking to compete with Wellington’s Marketplace, which opened last summer across from the Statehouse. “I wanted to fill the gap. That’s what it is all about is [having a] choice.”
Both the space and many of the recipes come straight from Mujakovic’s former restaurant, Bistro Rustica. The bistro was a small sit-in restaurant with about six tables that sold sandwiches, entrees and salads. Mujakovic and her husband decided to close Bistro Rustica after opening Old Europe.
“Since 2011, basically it’s been closed,” she said. “I have my following of people coming in and asking [about the bistro].”
That following won’t find sandwiches at Nina’s Pantry, but there are plenty of other familiar dishes, including grape leaves, sauces, cheeses and soups.
“The idea is grab and go … [and] still have a good quality meal on a budget,” she said. “I’m still adding inventory. … I just wanted to see what people are looking for.”
Customers can stop in and pick up cheeses or prepared dishes, or call ahead to order specials like goulash soup or stuffed peppers. There are also salamis, prosciuttos, cheeses and artisan breads as well as antipasti. 
“Most of the meals people know,” Mujakovic said. 
The grape leaves, made with beef, ground sirloin and rice, are particularly popular.
“They’re very legendary,” Mujakovic said. “They are really a very special item.”
The homemade tomato sauce is too, she said. Mujakovic prepares it herself, another helpful grab-and-go item for anyone who wants homemade taste without all the time it takes to make homemade. 
“Instead of three or four hours making sauce, it’s 15 minutes until it gets to the table,” she said.
Customers can also sample the cheeses, and, Mujakovic said, hear the stories behind the cheese, the region it’s from, and the techniques the farmer used to make it. 
 
As seen in the February 5, 2015 issue of the Hippo.





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