Nov. 19 2014 12:00 AM

Restaurant Mediteran

After 10 years of business, downtown Lansing’s Restaurant Mediteran will close in February. Owner Igor Jurkovic said that his parents, who both operate the restaurant, wanted to retire and it would be impossible to hire replacements for them.

“They’re the heart of Mediteran, and without them, it just wouldn’t be the same,” Jurkovic said. “We’re not closing because of lack of business, it’s just run its course.”

Jurkovic said the building’s lease will be up March 31, and he decided not to renew it. Jurkovic is also co-owner of both Leaf Salad Bar locations, in East Lansing and Okemos, and is kitchen manager for Omar’s Show Bar and the Exchange. He said that without Mediteran to tend to, he’ll be able to focus on his other ventures. Although Mediteran wasn’t a true farm-to-table experience, he tried to incorporate as many Michigan products as possible.

“I drive down to Eastern Market in Detroit every Sunday, and that’s tough,” Jurkovic said. “In 10 years, I think I only missed two weeks. Going that route was a little more expensive, and it’s difficult explaining to people why you have to charge a little more. When you’re buying a quality product, the costs get higher and the profit gets lower.”

Mediteran opened in March 2004, a curious addition to the then-fledgling downtown dining scene. Its fusion of Eastern and Western European cooking styles seemed an odd pairing until you heard the story: Patriarch Mirko Jurkovic, a trained hotelier, fled Bosnia with his family during hostilities in the ‘90s and set up shop in Germany. Then when an opportunity opened in the U.S., both parents, Igor and his brother came to Lansing.

After five successful years, Mediteran expanded into the space next door in 2010 and opened a fast-casual deli counter, complete with rotisserie. Building owner Scott Gillepsie spent $30,000 to $40,000 in infrastructure costs to update the 1,200-square-foot space, and the Jurkovics spent another $30,000 on new equipment, furniture and signage. But that equipment won’t go to waste.

“I’m considering opening up something small that could use some of Mediteran’s recipes, maybe just focusing on the German side of the menu,” Jurkovic said. “I’d also like to maybe open another (Leaf location) somewhere near Detroit.”

But regardless of his parents’ plans, Jurkovic said Lansing is his home now.

“I love Lansing and I appreciate how much the city supported us for all these years,” Jurkovic said. “It’s been great watching downtown grow, and it’s going to be a little sad leaving. But I’ll still be around.”

Restaurant Mediteran
333 S. Washington Square, Lansing 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Monday– Friday; 4:30–8:30 p.m. Monday–Saturday; closed Sunday. (517) 372-1072,

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