Owner of Azra’s Mediterranean Cuisine to retire from 2nd Street Market

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

Azra Kaurin, owner of Azra’s Mediterranean Cuisine at 2nd Street Market, is retiring this month. Her last weekend as a vendor at the market will be Friday, Feb. 17 through Sunday, Feb. 19.

“I’m very proud (of) what I did here,” Kaurin said.

A native of Bosnia, Kaurin came to the United States in 1996 with her family after the signing of the Dayton Accords, a peace agreement that put an end to the Bosnian War.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

“You have a cultural shock when you come from Europe and start life here,” Kaurin said. “It’s something very different. I didn’t speak English well.”

She recalled her life starting very slowly here because she didn’t know anyone. Once she made friends in Tipp City, where she lived at the time, she was encouraged to start baking and sharing her cookies and cakes with others.

This came after about 20 years of being a journalist back at home, covering an array of topics from politics to education. Kaurin said when she was a journalist, she enjoyed collecting recipes and menus from area restaurants and talking with the chefs.

Kaurin turned her hobby into a business by selling her cookies and baklava at a farmers market in Miami County. She said that’s when someone told her about the Dayton market in The Cannery building, where she found her home until 2nd Street Market opened in the former Baltimore and Ohio Railroad freight depot.

“(I) started with the same small table just on Saturdays and day by day, week by week business is growing and I have now two spaces,” Kaurin said.

Azra’s Mediterranean Cuisine has decades of loyal customers who come to the market each week to get a taste of fresh, healthy, homemade food.

When Kaurin posted on Facebook Aug. 18 that she was retiring after 22 years and seeking new ownership of her business, over 75 comments were made by customers thanking her for her “delicious” food.

“You will be deeply missed! Your food is always delicious and prepared with love,” said Lisa Custer.

“I will miss your amazing food but will miss you much more. We need more people like you in this world. I wish you the best,” Janine M. Elders added.

“Azra - we are so happy for you and hope that you can enjoy retirement,” Becky Barto Gaytko said. “We will miss the delicious food that you have carefully prepared for us individually and as a community. We are all so lucky to have enjoyed your time at the market!”

Kaurin recalled reading the comments on her Facebook post and told Dayton.com with tears in her eyes, “I was thinking do I really deserve all of this? How can I leave?”

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

2nd Street Market made a Facebook post on Feb. 9 announcing Kaurin’s retirement.

“After over 20 (years) of sharing her delicious recipes with the Dayton community at the Market, Azra will be retiring,” the post said. “Those of you who have met Azra know what an intelligent, passionate and generous woman she is. Her own immigrant story is inspiring, but so too is the way she has opened her heart to countless newly arrived immigrants over the years giving many of them their first job opportunity in their new home.”

Kaurin said she will truly miss the market because it has been her second home for 22 years. From being the first to arrive and the last to leave at the end of the day, Kaurin is ready to slow down and write a cookbook.

She also noted customers will probably see her at the market, sitting with her friends and enjoying the atmosphere.

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

“I love my customers, the people, the town,” she added. “It will be very hard to say goodbye.”

2nd Street Market said in their post that there will be a retirement card for customers to sign during her last weekend at market.

Azra’s Mediterranean Cuisine sits between I Heart Ice Cream and Napales Mexican Street Food at 2nd Street Market, located at 600 E. Second Street in Dayton. The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

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