World Bites Kafe invites customers to travel the world — one bite at a time.
Traveling is the perfect way to meet new people, absorb new cultures and perhaps most enjoyably, try new foods. But it’s not always that simple. Pesky obstacles like jobs, family obligations and “financial resources” are always finding a way to stand between would-be globetrotters and their destinations.
So in case your #wanderlust isn’t in-line with your #wallet, Peter Miletich is offering a much more affordable way to experience the world: World Bites Kafe, his new Indian Beach Plaza eatery, which serves a sampling of his favorite street foods from around the world. The Serbian-born restaurateur spent much of his life absorbing different cultures and foods, and he says he hopes to use his experiences to broaden Sarasota’s collective palate.
I moved to Sarasota in 2005 to do real estate. The market crashed, and I ended up selling mortgages. I grew up in Serbia, and I’ve lived in different places around Europe, and I’ve always loved food. One day, half joking, I told my coworker I’d probably be happier making crepes at the food truck around the corner than I would be sitting in this cubicle for another day. It was just a joke, but the idea grew from there.
I come from a family of great cooks. My grandmother is like the Austrian Julia Childs. Every week, we’d have these huge five-course Sunday lunches, and I just absorbed a lot of her technique from growing up in that environment. I’d worked in restaurants when I was younger, so I had some experience in the industry. I started working on a business plan to incorporate those foods I grew up with.
I started serving food at farmers markets and doing lunch delivery services and catering, and people really connected with it. My concept is fun street food and peasant dishes from around the world. I always wanted to work from a food truck, but this area isn’t very conducive to that, so I thought I could bring that same experience to a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
I serve a lot of crepes, both sweet and savory, tacos that incorporate different flavor profiles, like Asian, Mediterranean or Carribean and different sandwiches. I also serve Turkish coffee and a whole different variety of lemonades that are always a big hit.
I think food is fun, and I want people to have fun with it. I like to say that when you come to my restaurant, you can travel the world in a few bites. I want to help influence the food culture here. I think Sarasota has a lot of options for things that are on either end of the spectrum, either fast food or very fancy. There’s a lot of great foods out there from different cultures, and I also want to promote that café-style dining that’s popular in other countries.
I like street food because it’s authentic. It’s not pretentious. I’m not a huge fan of fancy foods. This is a simplified culinary process, but there’s still a level of sophistication to it. It’s a perfect bite-size portion, so you can sample a variety of things.
I try to combine different ingredients and flavor profiles from one region into one thing. You can sort of encapsulate a region in one dish.
With World Bites Kafe, I wanted to create a world in which I wanted to live. I want to surround myself with interesting foods, people and culture of any kind. I turned my long wall into a gallery wall to display local art, which I’ll rotate bimonthly. When people walk through my door, I want it to be like they’re stepping into someplace completely different.