I bought some things at a few Mlinar locations my last couple of times in Croatia. There's quite a few of them in Zagreb and right downtown especially, an easy and quick accessible option and choice for fresh good quality eats on the go, or to stay or even packaged to finish off at home fresh out of the oven. Although it started out primarily as just a bakery and baked goods shop at first back in 1903, for quite some time many other related items have become part of the Mlinar menu choices...traditional meat and cheese filled items, desserts, pastries, cakes, salads, pizza slices and various sausage rolls, meat and vegetable sandwiches/wraps etc. It's actually much more than just a bakery now, it's sort of like a pastries/krispy kreme donut-baked goods-coffees-coffee shop-pizza slices-subway sandwiches-stuffed-baked goods-cafe hybrid shop, but with a Croatian flavour, meats and ingredients naturally. (and with the all important bakery/breads section also of course, for those who specifically just want to buy the breads.....because it's a bakery also)
The way I see it, there's a heckuva lot worse things that can open up shop in your neighbourhood these days, better a Mlinar caffee bakery than some subversive organization, shady illegal fast food front business, a terrorism network cell or other worse subversive things. It's also good to know that some Croatian food choices are now available in these countries/cities with the new shops. A person with Croatian background can now proudly walk by one of these newer Mlinar shops in the other countries and exclaim..."Gladan sam kao vuk čovječe, trebam burek, kolače i kavu odma!", with their heads held high knowing that it's contributing to civilization, progress and good tasting quality fresh healthy food and snack choices. And I'm telling you it even smells so good just walking by because they bake it fresh right there on-site throughout the day. (see television spot at the bottom)
Y'know, I hope down the road they expand some of their menu choices to include some of the other hot foods, various Croatian stews, meats and even seafood maybe, why not? Heck, even sarma (cabbage rolls), punjene paprike (stuffed peppers), štrukli (cheese filled pastry), škampi na buzaru (shrimp in sauce) and various smoked and roasted pork and lamb pečenka etc, call me crazy but I would eat a sauced shrimp, pašticada, cabbage rolls or stuffed peppers in a fresh bun without any problem whatsoever.
(Interestingly, since on the topic of food, you'll notice pizza slices are available at Mlinar also, along with whatever each individual Mlinar location may add to the menu. These days around here pizza slices are available at lots of places also, and actually hardly ever even run by an Italian anymore, usually Middle Eastern people do the pizza shop thing. But anyway, like I briefly mentioned previously at this post mentioning the oldest pizzeria in the city of Split and all of Croatia, did you know that pizza actually started out way back as a last resort poor people's food? Yep, you see, many centuries ago when there was hardly any usual food around, the people would grab whatever leftover scraps of meat were laying around or any vegetable and cheese that may be going bad soon, and simply throw them on some flattened dough with some oil and into the oven so as to not throw it away, this long before even tomatoes or tomato sauce. And like I said at the post, although not a primary food, we were eating pizza slices in Croatia long before other countries and way before Little Caesars, Domino's, Pizza Hut or Chicago style pizza came along. Yep, it's pretty interesting actually)
Coincidentally, just the other day I had to walk to the local Walmart because I had to get a new shaving brush (see related shaving post HERE from the other day), and I looked at a store on the way and immediately thought..."Geeez, I really wish that was a Mlinar" because I had the munchies for some of their stuff. (It was actually a dental office though, true story)
Anyway, much more information about this Croatian baked goods/caffee company and what's available if you ever see or visit one of their newer locations at their official website www.mlinar.hr or at www.facebook.com/Mlinar.Hrvatska.
The oldest Croatian bakery chain founded in the town of Križevci in 1903, Mlinar Bakeries, has over 200 bakeries in Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary. Germany and Australia and have recently opened their first store in the Swiss city of Emmenbrückeu near Lucerne. The bakery in Switzerland, branded Mlinar caffe, is set out exactly the same as the Croatia stores and offers the same freshly made products. The store is operated by franchise partners Agram.
Mlinar has been expanding its retail network to foreign markets for quite a long time. Last year it opened its first outlet in Germany, in the city centre of Munich, while in May of this year it opened its very first outlet in Australia. In Germany, the plan is to open around 150 locations across the country, while in Hungary and Slovenia they already have 32 outlets and a developed brand distribution network.
Mlinar employs more than 1,700 workers in Croatia alone. The production is organized in four modern large bakery facilities – in Poreč, Zagreb, and two factories in Osijek.
Most of them are equipped with the most modern bakery plant technology in Central Europe, and Miller's facility in Osijek is one of the technologically most sophisticated bakery production complexes in the world.
The production department currently employs about 500 people, while the rest are employed in the retail network, logistics and administration.
Mlinar have expanded at a rapid rate over the last 24 months, opening stores with partners in Munich and Sydney. Mlinar say that they plan to open a further 150 bakeries in Germany over the next 5 years. Mlinar manage over 200 bakeries from their headquarters in the capital city of Zagreb.
And like I said earlier, the popular traditional meat, cheese and vegetable filled bureks and other baked goods are baked fresh right there on-site throughout the day, which is why it smells nice even just walking by.