Co-owner Edin Saracevic behind the register at MezeHub in Rockville Credit: Deb Lindsey

Chasing down a hot tip, I went to MezeHub to check out the burek—flaky, spiral-shaped Balkan pastries stuffed with savory fillings. I got much more than I bargained for.

Baker Nena Djokic makes the burek from scratch in an open kitchen in the middle of this market and cafe specializing in (mostly) Balkan products that opened in Rockville’s Randolph Hills Shopping Center a year ago. After buying one of each burek ($7.99) available that day—beef; mashed potato; cheese; spinach and mushroom—I can attest to their excellence. The dough is extra thin, airy and delicate, the exterior crispy, even after reheating at home. (The meat-filled one didn’t make it out of the parking lot.)

Cheese and spinach (top) and cheese burek (right) at MezeHub Credit: Deb Lindsey

But that’s just the beginning. The market is filled with treasures imported from all over the Balkan region, plus some from Europe. Look for more than 50 kinds of ajvar (pronounced eye-bar, a Serbian roasted red pepper and eggplant spread); somun (flatbread); dairy products such as kefir, labneh, feta cheese and kajmak, a luscious product that is the intersection of fresh cream, cream cheese and butter; chocolates; cevapi (sausage) and salamis from various regions; jellies and jams; wafers; canned fish (sardines, tuna, etc.); baklava; beans, rices, pastas and bulgur grains; and fruit juices. A special section is devoted to products (including cookies, chocolate and jams) from women-owned businesses supported by a pilot program of the U.S. Agency for International Development. MezeHub also has a superlative selection of wines from Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Georgia, Montenegro and Romania, most ranging from $15 to $30. 

There’s more. Co-owners Doug Wheeler and Edin Saracevic, who started their importing and distribution business in 2019 (the warehouse is a block away from the market), just opened a cafe and bar in the 5,000-square-foot space, which seats 26 inside and 16 outside. There, with the help of a Marra Forni pizza oven, Israeli-born chef Sagi Levinsky makes pide (boat-shaped Turkish pizzas), Turkish flatbread wraps called lahmacuns (pronounced lama-joon), and other Balkan eats, among them burek, burgers (made from Bosnian beef), cevapi sandwiches, meze platters and baklava. Most items are $13.99 to $16.99. Don’t miss the pide with artichokes, pesto, mozzarella and arugula and the “classic” lahmacun filled with spicy beef spread, sumac onion salad, red peppers, tomatoes and parsley.

MezeHub, 11508 Schuylkill Road, Rockville; 301-246-0517;

This story appears in the September/October issue of Bethesda Magazine.