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Feb 13, 2010 11:51 AM

Burek meat/spinach/cheese pie, Troy, MI

In my Pho wanderings yesterday I came across Gabriel Imports/Bob Berry Halal meats at 18 & Dequinder, Troy, MI. They cut their own beef, lamb and chicken (1/4s in the case waiting to be cut to order) but they were baking burek meat and/or spinach pies and the aroma was alluring. I had not seen one of this style. It was a coiled tube (looks like a rope of italian sausage but made with phyllo and meat stuffing) about 6x9 and heavy. It's a grocery/butcher so it's all take away and for $2.99 I had to try the meat one. Wow! It was well seasoned lamb and very, very hardy. The owner (Bob) said it was Lebanese style burek.

I have had Drago's burek (4150 15 Mile, St. Heights) and it's a family run sit down restaurant. Try the goulash if it's available. The burek style is much different in that Drago's is a slice of pie while Bob's is a 6x9 loaf of its own.

If you like meat pies I recommend them both but if you need a take home snack Bob's is a real treat. Next time I'm going for the spinach.

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  1. There are a few places I know of that do the coiled tube style burek:

    Max's (a grocery, next door to Drago's)
    4160 15 Mile Rd
    Sterling Heights, MI 48310
    (586) 978-1121

    Te Mergimtari (Albanian, also next door to Drago's)
    4104 15 Mile Road
    Sterling Heights, MI 48310

    Family Donut Shop
    11300 Conant St
    Hamtramck, MI 48212
    (313) 368-9214

    Of these three, Te Mergimtari is by far superior. Their burek is not at all greasy, unlike at the other two places and Drago's. Te Merg. is a very new restaurant, only open a bit more than a month. Excellent Albanian sausages and burek!

    There's also a place in Farmington, though I've never tried. They're Turkish, so I suspect theirs will be the coiled style rather than the Drago's pie style.

    Cafe Even House of Borek
    23303 Orchard Lake Rd
    Farmington, MI 48336
    (248) 471-3698

    6 Replies
    1. re: jjspw

      I went to Cafe Even three weeks ago. Very, very friendly people. The Borek there is a casserole type cut into a square portion but they heated on a panini press and it was very crusty with plenty of beef and onion filling. I also had some of the bean dishes and they made me a (can't remember the name but it's pizza shaped) with lamb and onions as well. I went the weekend after No Reservations was in Istambul and the owners said they had been very busy following the show. I will report on the others when I give them a try. Thanks for the leads.

      1. re: goatgolfer

        Sounds like this (from Cafe Even's website):

        Lahmacun 'Turkish Pizza' : Mix of ground beef, crushed tomatoes, green pepper, parsley, garlic with spices is brushed on a thin circular dough rolled by hand and baked in a hot oven.

      2. re: jjspw

        I've been eye-ing Te Merg for a few weeks. What must I order when I go in for the first time, in addition to the burek? (on my way out, maybe I'll grab a Bob's burek for the next day's lunch)

        1. re: vtombrown

          @ vtombrown --

          Te Merg's menu is really short. There are two bureks (meat or cheese, each $3), goulash, a bean soup, three salads, and three meat dishes. The meat dishes are
          -- suxhuk (sujuk in other languages, dried smoked spiced sausage)
          -- qofte (like Lebanese kafta)
          -- qebapa (kebapi or cevapi, found at other Balkan restos)

          My favorites are the qebapa and suxhuk, but the suxhuk has a bit more pop/flavor. I'd recommend either of those dishes. Never tried the goulash, soup, or salads, so can't comment there. If you like the qebapa, try the Bosnian version of the dish (cevapi) at Bosnia Specialties in Hamtramck. I think their version is even better.

          1. re: jjspw

            Right on jjspw.
            I went tonight and got the $12 combo plate. This includes all three kinds of the sausages, cucumber salad and fresh baked bread. (To say the suxhuk "has a bit more pop," is an understatement). Of course, I also had to try their meat burek. Everything in the combination was extremely simple, like street food, but reasonably tasty. The burek was more refined, particularly the pastry. The place was pretty austere and a bit (cigarette) smoky, but I’ll have to admit that I’m interested to go back to try the goulash. The middle aged woman (member of ownership family, surely) was very nice, in every sense of the word, and very proud to be serving Albanian food.
            Anyway, I appreciate the tip.

            1. re: vtombrown

              Glad you enjoyed it, vtombrown! I had forgotten that they offer that combo plate--definitely the best way to go to get a taste of everything! Definitely agree that the burek is more "refined"--it's just lighter, flakier, not as tough/heavy/greasy as other bureks.

      3. The Polish market in Troy sells cheese and meat burek (the square type). They also sell a lot products from Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia (i.e. Avjar, Eurocrem, Kras sweets, Cockta...).

        1. I also recently tried the Burek at Gabriel Imports/ Bob Berry Halal meats. It is actually at 19 & Dequinder, Troy, MI. I bought 4 different Bureks: cheese, cheese & spinach, lamb and cabbage. They were all very good, not too greasy, great seasoning on the lamb one and generous amounts of stuffing. My fave was the cheese & spinach. For only $2.99 it is a steal.

          I talked to the owner (Jamil, a very nice guy) about the Burek and he told me that they are traditional Burek made from scratch by a Bosnian woman in house daily. He even took me in the back where they are made and baked them fresh for me. It was worth the wait.

          I have had Drago's, max's and Te Mergimtari Burek. I prefer the coiled Burek over the pie style Burek it is easier to eat and just tastes better. Out of the 4 places Gabriel's is the best.

          1. Just thought it worth mentioning here -- Te Mergimtari appears to be closed. Drove by today and saw a dark, empty restaurant with big "For Lease" sign in window.