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Inspiring Conversations with Josi Jahic of J’s Pitaria

Today we’d like to introduce you to Josi Jahic.

Hi Josi, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
It has been quite the journey getting to where we are today. As a young child, my family moved from Bosnia to Germany because of the Bosnian War in 1992. We left everything we had behind except for the clothes on our backs and a few suitcases. None of us knew the language or the culture, but my sisters and I still had to go to school and our parents had to get new jobs. Just as we were getting settled in, we had to do it all over again by moving to the U.S. I was a senior in high school, learning another new language and culture, along with my sisters and parents who had to find new jobs again. Starting from the ground up once is hard enough; imagine doing it twice as a young girl in two completely foreign lands. But those experiences shaped me into who I have become today, and ultimately I am grateful for them.

Once in the U.S., we moved to St. Louis, and now proudly call the U.S. our home. I’m very grateful to live in this amazing land filled with opportunity. Here in St. Louis, I got into business and earned my Master’s degree in Human Resources Management. I also met my husband, Zamir.

Zamir had a longtime dream to open his very own Mediterranean restaurant, which was a large part of what inspired me to become a restauranteur. He has always been my biggest supporter and even put his career on hold when I went back to school to earn my MBA degree. After he supported me in everything I had been able to accomplish at the time, it was his turn. With my business education and his passion for nourishing others through time-honored family recipes, we decided to open J’s Pitaria.

J’s was a concept that my husband and I had in the back of our minds for a long time. We’ve been lucky enough to travel the world and experience authentic, healthy Mediterranean dishes throughout our lives. When we landed in St. Louis, however, they were impossible to find. Before opening, it was our mission to perfect the recipes our menu would include, while upholding the tradition surrounding each item.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We have certainly gone through our fair share of struggles along the way, but have learned to see them as opportunities for learning and growth.

Recently, it has been an incredibly difficult time in the world with the ongoing pandemic, particularly for the restaurant industry. We have dealt with closures, restrictions, and mask mandates, all while continuing to serve our community healthy, sustaining meals and supporting our team and families.

I think what has gotten us through is our resiliency, teamwork, and innovation. We’ve been through war, moving here, learning a new culture and a new language. Having gone through that really helped us stay calm and not go into panic mode, but into a mode where we buckled down and searched for solutions and ways to improve our businesses.

The pandemic has forced us to get creative in order to sustain our business. We have developed a line of frozen items that are currently available in-store, and have plans to expand to grocery stores, first in the St. Louis area and ultimately nationwide.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about J’s Pitaria?
After experiencing our own health scares, my husband and I made it our mission to serve our community the best way we knew how – by providing healthy, delectable, authentic Mediterranean cuisine. We both work hard each day to create handmade, from-scratch Mediterranean food and artisan Somun bread, drawing in regulars and changing their health for the better.

We know that good food is the medicine we need to live our best lives, which is why we make everything from scratch using fresh, organic, premium ingredients. We take the time to hand-craft our own dishes using traditional recipes. When it comes to meat, we hand-make our own cones and cut/stack them properly instead of using the pre-made stuff. It is a painstaking process that involves a great deal of effort to create each day for our customers. That’s how you really make a dish with love! Our customers come in, place their order, and patiently wait as we craft their meal right then and there for them. The wait is absolutely worth it because you’re experiencing a healthy, decadent, unforgettable Mediterranean dish. That’s what sets us apart from other restaurants.

Right now, we’re working to educate our community on how important it is to change negative eating habits. This is especially important in light of the global pandemic. People need to know that good food is not boring; it tastes wonderful, makes you feel better overall, and helps you stay strong and healthy.

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
Online ordering is available at Follow @jspitaria on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. For business inquiries, please reach out to us at

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Image Credits

Kevin Zimarik at Think Tank

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