European culinary flare comes to Shelton’s downtown

Alfride Gjeloshi has brought a taste of Europe to downtown with her Balkana European Market.

Alfride Gjeloshi’s love of European cuisine is now a benefit to the Shelton community.

Gjeloshi, who spent more than 20 years as an office manager, has put that aside to make her dream of becoming a small business owner into a reality — even in these tough economic times. And in the process she is helping continue downtown’s revitalization with Balkana European Market & Eatery.

The new eatery, located at 507 Howe Avenue, offers an array of Albanian and European foods, from Qubapa (minced beef sausages, served with cabbage salad and warm bread) to the Balkan burger (pljeskavica patty made of beef and mized spices, fried egg and balkan toppings), gulash to cabbage salad to the ever-popular Burek. Patrons can finish the dining experience with some homemade desserts.

Gjeloshi’s new business has even caught the attention of Mayor Mark Lauretti, who will be on hand to welcome the new business during a grand opening Saturday, April 6.

“I’m very proud of opening my own business and doing it all on my own,” said Gjeloshi, adding that she received the lease for the space on New Year’s Eve.

She said she spent the next couple months preparing the shop, purchasing equipment and formulating the menu, all while working a 40-hour work week at her office manager job in upstate New York.

“It has all gone better than expected,” said Gjeloshi, who moved to Shelton two years ago with her husband, five daughters — Jennifer, Justina, Christina, Valentina and Rosemary — and her parents. “I’m really excited to bring the taste of Europe to Fairfield County.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com