It’s easy to figure out why Tim Wiechmann’s forthcoming fast-casual bakery and cafe is called Playska. That’s the name of the menu’s signature sandwich. But many locals may wonder: “What exactly is a playska?”
It’s the type of question Wiechmann looks forward to answering often as he whips up Balkan cuisine at the Inman Square spot. “I think the food from the Balkans is awesome. It’s not really popular or known about in the States,” says the chef/owner of Bronwyn and T.W. Food. “I’ve been there a bunch of times and thought, ‘This food is so awesome. How do I work this out to bring it here?’ ”
For the record, a playska is derived from a pljeskavica, a Balkan street-food patty made with ground lamb, pork, beef or veal, served here on a housemade pogacha roll with flecks of bacon and topped with a red-pepper sauce and a cream cheese.
That sandwich is far from the only food that Wiechmann is psyched to serve at his new spot, slated to open in late fall. He’ll also be showcasing ground meat in cevapcici, little finger sausages made in Bosnia that will be served on pita bread with a yogurt sauce. And there will be Balkan pies, made from hand-stretched phyllo dough and stuffed with savory seasonal fillings such as feta with sausage or kale.
“It’s halfway between a spanakopita and a strudel,” Wiechmann says of the pies. “They’re very particular about them when you go there. I’m hoping to uphold their level of quality.”
That quality is expected to carry over to the pastries and breads, such as challah, and the coffee from Karma, a boutique roaster in Sudbury. Such fare will be available for take-out and sit-down service from breakfast to dinner in the 16-seat space, located in the former home of Rosie’s Bakery and decorated with plenty of memorabilia from the Balkans.
In addition to helping to educate Bostonians about Balkan cuisine, Wiechmann is looking forward to doing a little bit of learning himself. “One of the things that’s awesome is I’m going to essentially own a bakery. I’ve studied a little bit of baking, and in all of my restaurants we do our own breads, but this is me full-on figuring out how to be a baker, too,” he says. “I’m really excited about bringing a unique cuisine to Boston again, and doing something that’s accessible and not fine dining. It’s just unique.”
Playska 243 Hampshire St., Cambridge. playska.com