Did you know that Ljubljana has the 40th best pizzeria in Europe?
It’s called Pop’s Place and it’s at Breg 2 , in the center of Old Ljubljana. Did you know that the co-owner is an American with Croatian-Slovenian roots, who goes by the name Greg Yurkovich ? Well, now you know.
Have you ever eaten a pizza with the name Paid killer, in Mexican translation ” sicario “?
Me neither, so I ordered it. That’s why I watched two parts of the film of the same name, where Emily plays the main roles Blunt , Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin . Mexican crime is probably the most widespread and cruel in the world, which is why Hitman is especially satisfying for fans of high-octane action. Because it was very successful, three years later they filmed the second part, and the action is only even more violent.
The pizza with this name is very peaceful and conquers in a different way. The dough, like all from this pizzeria, is sour made with yeast, which further emphasizes the elegance of the dish, and instead of cheese, the dough is topped with real Italian fior di latte from Agerola , carnitas ( slow -cooked and shredded Mexican bacon), sweet Italian tropea onions , jalapeno chilies and smoked ricotta .
A varied composition, which is masterfully arranged so that the harmony of the dish is truly excellent. There are not too many chilies either, but you can feel them nicely, they are not too hot. Our team immediately gave this pizza five points. This is not just a pizzeria, by the way, this is serious business!
Grega, I think you were selected for the second time this year in this company of the best?
It’s true. Last year we were 43rd, but this year we were three places higher. That means we were being watched all the time. It’s a grand jury looking at it. In fact, it is a nomination – it can be pizzerias themselves, suppliers of certain quality ingredients or drinks. All pizzerias have to follow some standards – in this case, it’s the Neapolitan pizza style. They consider service, friendliness, follow what’s happening online, how we influence the market.
Who are the assessors?
These are journalists and bloggers . Of course, there are also sponsors (flour, cheese, tomatoes).
How many years has this been going on?
As I thought about it, that’s longer than ten years.
But there are no Italian pizzas here?
They have their own scale. We must know that there are a lot of pizzerias in the world and now they are geographically divided. American ones are special, South American ones are special and so on. The owners are mainly Italians.
How many Slovenian pizzerias did they inspect?
I do not know. But we are the only ones who made it to the list .
Is it a book or a web portal?
How do you come up with recipe ideas?
We are moving forward slowly, but we are trying many things, because now things have become very serious. First of all, we wanted to be an influential pizzeria for the region. We wanted to develop our interpretation of Neapolitan pizza. At the same time, we want to influence other recipes with our tastes.
Where did you learn to bake pizza, since the recipes are mainly yours?
After the burger project ( Pop’s Place ), I decided to start another pizzeria, so I went to Naples for two years to study. I also went to special courses on dough fermentation and slowly honed my skills. Of course I worked in many pizzerias in Naples. I put all these ideas together and came up with our authentic story.
So who is your partner in these deals?
The reputation comes from the family inn AS after Svetozar Raspopović – Pop and his son Sebastjan, and I added my visions of burgers and pizza.
What about your future plans?
I am thinking a bit about Mexican food, because what is offered as Mexican food in Slovenia is far from what it should really be. Maybe it will be that, maybe something else. But for now, he has a lot of work in these two bars and I use a lot of energy here. I spend most of my time in the pizzeria, preparing the dough I’m working on. It’s easier with burgers , but with pizzas, the work is really precise and handcrafted. All pizzas must be made to a high standard.
How many regular customers do you have?
About 80 percent of the customers are locals, and recently many are also from Zagreb, which surprises us. I’m really interested in how it will be with foreigners during the tourist season.
Do influencers “wire” you for free meals?
Also – and I accommodate them, because I think that if they go away angry, it’s a shame for us. Our customers are different – from Ana Roš to other chefs, through teenagers and pensioners.
How many pizzas do you sell per day?
Around 600 per day. We are limited by one oven and three pizza ovens.
Have you been making yeast dough from the start?
Yes. I learned this in Italy and realized that in this case, if I add wine must from my uncle’s green wine in Kutijevo to the dough . He is Vladimir Krauthaker .
The greatest Croatian winemaker?
Yes. I have great respect for him because he makes exceptional wines.
What do you think about the competition in Ljubljana? There is another pizzeria that swears by Neapolitan pizzas.
They are good and unfortunately not on the best list.
How many times a week do you eat pizza?
Once – that’s enough for me. To somehow follow the path of our pizzeria.
When the prison was due to covid – how did you survive?
Hard, but we survived. We baked pizzas constantly and people supported us. We have never closed or fired anyone. We worked hard and then the pizzas were delivered by the delivery guys. Those were hard times.
When you go on vacation – who works here?
There is no one person; there are more of them. One or two work on the dough, three bake. This is done by good people with competence and will. We concentrate on the human content and then create a good worker. Staff is the biggest problem. It is also necessary to know how to work together; how to choose a team that will be able to work in a team.
How do you cooperate with the Raspopović family?
Very good. I like to take constructive criticism and both Pope and Sebastjan are very good here. The team I have is made up of all of Slovenia and the surrounding area. At the beginning, we had exclusively Italians, who are different from Slovenians. The biggest problem with strangers is the fact that you can never rely on them 100%. However, I found that the Turks, for example, are extremely reliable.
What about some more eastern countries?
Yes, I have Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshi people at Pop’s Place . It’s a shame because I can’t get good and trustworthy Slovenians. But refugees are much more reliable.
How about some crazy pizza combinations that one can only get at your place?
I created a pizza with Italian salami, chillies and honey. She is known for Sicario with Mexican flavors and, for example, Amore Mi , which consists of eggplant friolato , Italian artichoke, 14-month-aged parmesan, and organic pelatas from Apulia.
We also tried this pizza next to Sicario and were impressed. In fact, Grega tried to use all the typical Italian ingredients when assembling the pizzas and the team adheres to this in the preparation. That’s why the flavors of these pizzas are so unique and almost unrepeatable. That’s why Pop’s Pizza landed in a high 40th place among pizzerias in Europe.