Meet Berwyn’s Entrepreneurs: Alexandria Srbinovski of V Bar

Meet Alexandria Srbinovski of V Bar (2717 S Ridgeland Ave), est. 2015
Hometown: Berwyn, IL
Current Residence: Berwyn, IL

All About Alexandria: I grew up in Berwyn and am very close to my parents and 2 younger sisters. I speak Macedonian fluently. I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Communications and Marketing. In my free time I love to cook, go sailing and attend Zumba classes. I believe food is a central point that shapes who we are and our identities and is the reason why I love cooking.

The Business Side: I am the Marketing and Special Events Manager at V Bar. Before V Bar opened, my father Zoran was in the real estate industry and real estate home remodeling business. His office happened to be next to a closed down, neglected bar. With the experience he had in the real estate and remodeling industry, he was able to completely transform the deteriorating space into a fresh, lively space you now know as V Bar. Our customers get to enjoy a fully stocked bar and great event space, plus an amazing outdoor patio that was added last Summer. We are extremely lucky to be in a community that is flourishing with so many great customers and businesses. Fun Fact: My dad wanted a bar with a wide variety of vodka, hence the name “V Bar”!

Describe yourself in 3 words.
Determined: My dad taught me to never give up and always try. If you don’t try, you will never know, and you will never have regrets.
Compassionate: I think it’s important to give back to your community.  Inspired by my volunteer work in college at a local food kitchen, I decided to find ways to do the same more locally. I’ve committed to hosts frequent canned food drives to support the local food pantries that serve the Berwyn community.
Outgoing: I have never been one to be shy or quiet. I always voice my opinion and am never discouraged to speak in a room full of strangers; I can always make a friend in a crowded room.

What inspires you? I am inspired by the fact that every day is a new beginning. I think that there is a new opportunity in each day, especially when you’re building a business. You never know what’s going to come, and that, to me, is very exciting and inspirational.

My father is also an inspiration to me. He always told me that if I wanted to be successful I would have to work hard for it. With that being said, I am the first person in my family to complete a college education. As a blue-collar family, my father saved every single penny he earned from work to eventually open up a small business, VBar. I am proud to work for our family business.

Tell us something that people might not know about you.
I speak Macedonian fluently and have also done Macedonian ethnic folk dancing since the age of 5. I competed throughout the Chicagoland area. The dances of Macedonia, just like costumes, are bright, colorful and vary throughout the different regions in the Balkans.

Why Berwyn?
My family came to Berwyn from Europe in the 70’s with nothing but a suitcase. They purchased a bungalow in the heart of Berwyn, near V Bar. We chose Berwyn as the home for our business because this is where our roots are. There is a lot going on in Berwyn now and so many amazing changes taking place. It’s a great feeling to be a part of the Berwyn community with all of the unique business that are popping up and the long-time businesses that have stayed and contribute to that character that make Berwyn great.

What movie title best describes your life?
The movie title that best describes my life would be My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The beautiful thing about life is that we all have different heritages and cultures. The customs and traditions in the movie remind me of my family and it brings back childhood memories. I love that this movie emphasizes the importance of keeping tradition alive. I hope that one day I teach my kids how to speak Macedonian and share family recipes, stories and traditions.

Which time period would you visit in history?
If I could go back to any era, it would have to be the Roaring 20’s. I love the music, dresses, headpieces and especially the literature. One of my favorite authors of all times is F. Scott Fitzerald. I have read all of his books, my favorite being The Beautiful and Damned. In this book, Fitzgerald explores and portrays New York cafe society and the American Eastern elite during the Jazz Age. One of the events I had the pleasure of executing at V Bar was our Great Gatsby New Year’s Eve theme party.

What’s something you do the old-fashioned way?
Something I like to do the old-fashioned way is make Turkish coffee over the stove with an “ibrik”, or a Turkish coffee pot. Most people use a coffee machine or a Keurig, but I prefer to do it this way. I grew up always having Turkish coffee with my family and my father still makes his coffee like this to this day. Nothing makes for a better cup of coffee than good old coffee grinds and water.

If you could make a 20 second phone call to yourself, what would you say?
“Remember these wise words from Buddha: ‘In the end only three things matter; how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.’”  

What is the best room in your house?
The kitchen is the heart of the home, a place of gathering and bringing family together. Growing up in a family where food was a really big deal, family dinners were always important in my household. One of our family traditions every Fall is to make “ajvar”, a roasted red pepper relish used as a spread on fresh bread.  Bushels of red peppers are roasted and pureed along with eggplant. It is then stored in mason jars to last through Winter. Traditionally, making “ajvar” is a family event so all hands are on deck!

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