Hi, my name is Yulia. I am Russian. I’ve established Sip of Europe® in May of 2015. I like how my vision is described in this Yelp blog https://www.yelpblog.com/2017/06/small-biz-spotlight-sip-europe-portland/.
I’ve always liked the atmosphere of different cafes where I would go to drink a cup of coffee or tea and just enjoy myself. A long time ago I was thinking that all those establishments were impossible to create without proper experience / financial base of a rich person/ savvy restaurateur background. It turned out to require a lot of planning, creating, adapting, problem solving, keeping myself focused, motivated, dedicated, and very long hours of hard work up to 17-19 a day.
Here is my story
When I came to the USA as a Work & Travel student, in order to get some extra money for traveling inside of the US and for bringing money back to home country I decided on taking extra jobs. As a Work&Travel student I’ve worked for Subway®, for a coffee shop, for two morning cafes and for the Italian restaurant. I noticed that I liked all the smiles and positive energy from my customers who would come in, make the order, get the food they liked and a good service and enjoy the experience.
As i was looking forward to moving to the USA and waiting for my visa (that was a lengthy process taking a year and a half), I was thinking of acquiring some skills that could potentially help me in having/ operating food business. I started working as an overnight shift barista at the local coffee shop chain. There I learned how to make espresso drinks, how to decorate the desserts, how to arrange the work time efficiently. During a spare time of my night shifts I would read the managers’ know-how books, the lists of inventory, look at the position of equipment and the ways the space was used for the maximum efficiency.
I was not sure about getting the managerial or high skilled intellectual work in the USA so I wanted to try my luck with a coffee business in it’s simple form as a coffee cart. After a few unsuccessful inquiries about the available spaces I got the recommendation to contact the owner of the square located in front of Old Orchard Beach’s Pier. That is the main tourist center over there. Price seemed affordable and I decided to rent that cart for a summer season. Right in front of my cart I had a Belarusian guy selling crepes at his crepe cart. When asked about his background he said that the Internet was his only cook-book. Well, that assured me that with the proper recipe I could have a basic product which could turn from sweet to savory with the additions of a variety of ingredients.
By the end of the tourist season i decided that I would start looking for a permanent location in the foodie capital of Maine, Portland. I got lucky and found the place for lease almost immediately! Because the coffee margin would not be enough to cover the rent, I decided to go with the crepes as a perfect addition to any beverage. My cultural heritage (I am from Russia) has a special place for crepes – they are a long-time national dish, just called in a different way – blini. Knowing that my mother makes amazing crepes, i asked her for the recipe, she eagerly gave it to me. Practice began after that and with a slight modification of the main recipe, i was ready to open the crêperie and have it as my home away from home =)!
The community welcomed me in a very nice way and my café became a popular place for the locals.
Now I am even happier to go beyond 2.5 years milestone with the rating of my café averaging 4.9+ in Portland, city with a highly competitive scene of food establishment. This year I got a commercial bakery license for my crepe cakes which gave me the opportunity to be able to share the goodness with more Mainers and residents of Massachusetts! Around the same time Sip of Europe was awarded with a title from “The Portland Phoenix” as “best crepes In Portland”. That award carries an incredible value, as Portland was recently named the Best Food City in America by “Bon Appetit” magazine. When you consider the very tough competition between the other amazing food establishments and mobile vendors in this VERY “foodie” city, it is incredibly humbling to be bestowed with such an honor.
I love traveling which means learning more about people, languages and places, trying to understand other cultures. My favorite activities are sightseeing, trying local food and meeting interesting and fun people. I also own the website about beautiful Russian city St. Petersburg, it is www.glad-to-meet-you.com. Welcome there as well!
Here are the articles that would help you get a picture of me and my café Sip of Europe®.
- Blog “A Happy Tummy, A raised heart rate and beauty in the everyday” By Katrina V. 04/02/2016 http://fallenforfood.weebly.com/blog/comely-carbs
- Portland Press Herald, 04/06/2016 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/04/06/a-look-at-the-springsummer-crop-of-restaurants-coming-to-portland/
- Maine Today http://mainetoday.com/maine-travel/things-to-do-in-portland-maine-visitors-guide-tourist/
- Portland Magazine 04/28/2016 www.portlandmonthly.com/portmag/2016/04/whats-new/
- Yelp’s Official Blog 10/26/16 https://www.yelpblog.com/2016/10/yelps-taste-savor-sip-europes-sip-europe-maine
- Pictures of the Event “Yelp’s Taste, Savor, and Sip of Europe” https://www.flickr.com/photos/yelp/sets/72157674310401372
- Yelp page of the Event https://www.yelp.com/biz/elite-event-yelps-taste-savor-and-sip-of-europe-portland
- Blog Visit Me in Maine 11/21/2016 https://visitmeinmaine.com/category/eat-drink-me/
- Up Portland (pages 12-13) February 2017 https://issuu.com/ivanhoward/docs/up_portland_february_2017_
- Up Portland (pages 12-13, while talking about Ramen Suzukia) https://issuu.com/ivanhoward/docs/up_portland_may_2017
- Maine Today http://mainetoday.com/eat-drink/eat-and-run/make-sure-get-bite-crepe-sip-europe/
- Yelp blog https://www.yelpblog.com/2017/06/small-biz-spotlight-sip-europe-portland/
- Yum Yum A Pittsburger’s Blog http://www.yumyumpgh.com/2017/10/sip-of-europe.html
- The Portland Phoenix Awards https://www.conwaydailysun.com/portland_phoenix/news/features/portland-phoenix-the-th-annual-phoenix-best-of-portland-readers/article_1ef6e2bc-5237-11e8-a9d5-af6c5b977645.html