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International grocery store best kept café secret

International grocery store best kept café secret

A cafe chef at Blansh International Wholesale Foods cooks up a few of the store's locally famous kebabs.


POSTED December 24, 2012 4:12 p.m.

Name of business: Blansh International Wholesale Foods

Type of business: Grocery store / café

Location: 2340 W. Monte Vista Ave.

Hours of operation: Grocery from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays. Café open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Contact info: 250-1237, www.blanshfoods.com

History of business: Originally just a small grocery store, focusing on international foods, Blansh International has grown to offer an in-house café with some of the best food in Turlock.

“We always like to say we’re the best kept secret in town,” said store manager Serafina Eddy.

Blansh International first opened in December 2009.

In part, the grocery store was seen as a venue to sell owner Atoor Eliasnia’s line of Middle Eastern foods, marketed under the brand name Zarrin. But the store also sells a full range of traditional grocery goods, as well as some European-specialty items.

Blansh International still sells those groceries, from specialty teas to bulk dry foods, and does so at lower prices because it is family owned, Eddy said.

The store expanded in 2011, adding produce and – most importantly – a kitchen offering kebab lunches.

Business specialty: Those kebabs have now become a driver for Blansh International’s business, with scores of Turlockers coming in daily for lunch or a taste of the specially marinated skewers.

“It makes it really juicy,” said Blansh International manager Diana Lachin.

The kebabs are made using a family recipe, with chicken kebabs or beef lula kebabs available. The lula kebabs use high quality beef, ground in-house by cooks at Blansh International.

“They’re the best kebabs in town,” Eddy said.

A plate comes with a grilled tomato and either a chicken kebab, two beef kebabs, or one of each, atop a heaping pile of rice.

Perhaps most impressive are the prices, Eddy and Lachin say. Kebab plates start at just $5.

For those not interested in kebabs, the café also sells freshly made meat and vegetarian dolmas, kashk e bademjan eggplant dip, and hummus.

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