I was born on April 15, 1965 in Dubrovnik, and I spent most of my childhood with my mother Tereza and father Ivan on Lopud and partly on Korčula, in Čara, where my late father is from. I spent part of my childhood in Zagreb as well, where I attended ‘Silvije Strahimir Kranjčević’ school, and then ‘Ruđer Bošković’ school. Later I returned to Dubrovnik, to become a student of the Maritime School.
In 1989 I went to America, and in 1991 I opened my own construction company in New York. Then, in 2013, I opened the restaurant Dubrovnik and realized a successful hospitality story. It is the first real Croatian restaurant in New York where everything is Croatian, from food, wine, oil, and of course there are Croatian chefs and waiters.
I am proud of my children, Ivan, Željko, Izabela and Robert, who help in the restaurant and who will continue to promote Croatian food and NONA’s (Grandmother’s) recipes. Their Hungarian mother Ildiko Kaszas also helps in our family restaurant.
At heart, I am still a true guy from Lopud, Dubrovnik and a proud Croat, and my restaurant Dubrovnik has become a cult gathering place for many Croats in New York and many Croatian organizations. The Dubrovnik restaurant is a real little Dubrovnik, a real little Croatia, where many Croatian parties, charity dinners, St. Blaise Festivals, National Day are organized, and I selflessly help in wherever needed in our Croatian community in New York. At the very beginning of the Covid pandemic, which first affected New Rochelle, where the Dubrovnik restaurant is located, I donated food to those who were on the front lines, namely hospitals, firefighters and police and for my humanitarian work and help, I received a certificate of thanks from the city of New York. Dubrovnik restaurant is also very popular among Americans who enjoy Croatian cuisine not only in New York, but is known all over America as one of the best Croatian restaurants. For my contribution in promoting Croatian cuisine and humanitarian work, I received recognition from the American Croatian Congress, of which I am a member.
My message to future generations is that there is no success without persistence and will.