“What can I get nice people today?” This is Muhamed Mujcic-Mufko, owner of 4-4-2, a new Bosnian soccer bar that he’s opened up in his old Taste of Europe market space on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard. Mujcic-Mufko is a white-haired, cheery-eyed, consummate host—he looks a bit like a shorter, Bosnian Ted Danson—who is both genuine and genuinely shticky in his comforts. In his charismatic, heavily accented idiom, everyone is “nice,” the food is the “best in town,” and each couple consists of a “young lady” and a “lucky guy.” Of course, 4-4-2 is also Portland’s lone soccer bar, and three dedicated flat-screens adorn the walls alongside the flags of favored teams, from FC Bayern to the Timbers’ green and yellow; the bar’s stock clientele is mostly drawn from the ranks of the American Soccer Fan, which is to say: foreigners, hippies and ex-expatriates. Some of us, however, come in simply for the hospitality and the bar food (as well as the draft beer served in true half-liter mugs). Bosnian lepinja bread, made in-house, is a singular version of the Mediterranean pita: half an inch thick and fluffy as a baguette, with a sweet outer crispness that comes from being baked in olive oil. Though multiple vegetarian options exist, Mujcic-Mufko, when asked for recommendations, says simply, “I like meat.” The šiš (rich, spicy sausage patties, pronounced “sheesh”) and cevapi (beef-lamb patties akin to mini-hamburgers) are served in an array of options for prices ranging from $8-$12; each comes with lepinja bread, sweet-bitter yogurt sauce and ajvar, a spicy pepper-eggplant relish. My favorite, however, is the peka sandwich ($8.75), which sports wafer-sliced meat so smoked and cured as to be beef’s own thundering answer to bacon. Dear Lord.
- Best bite: Peka!
- Cheapest bite: For just a taste of the lepinja, garlic bread can be had for a mere $3.
EAT: 4-4-2, 1739 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 238-3693, 442soccerbar.com. Open 11 am-midnight Monday-Thursday, 11 am-2:30 am Friday, 7 am-2:30 am Saturday, 7 am-midnight Sunday. $ Inexpensive.