Published June 24th, 2009
Eureka! Europa!
By Susie Iventosch
From left, Chef Lupe Torres, Harry and Lori Boukis Courtesy of Europa

Having just been in Europe for a week or so, I have the Continent on my mind, so it seemed fitting to feature Europa Restaurant of Orinda in this week's column. I've been eyeing the hofbrau for a couple of months now, wanting to run an article on their wonderful fresh roasted meat sandwiches.
When I spoke with co-owners Lori and Harry Boukis about a publishing a recipe for one of their most popular dishes, they suggested the German meatloaf. That sounded good to me, because I'd never made a specifically "German" meatloaf before. Meatloaf is a comfort food that tastes great hot, along with some garlic mashed potatoes, but possibly even better leftover in sandwiches with a little Gruyere cheese and mustard.
Europa roasts six to seven 35-pound turkeys, two 25-pound roast barons of beef and lots of corned beef and pastrami, every single day. In addition, they feature three daily specials.
"Most of the daily special recipes are passed down from Harry and George's father, Pat," Lori noted. "One of our most popular specials is the German meatloaf. We have customers who travel every week from as far as Antioch and El Cerrito for the meatloaf."
Harry Boukis and his brother George opened Europa 12 years ago in the location that formerly housed Ottino's Delicatessen in Orinda. The Boukis brothers caught the restaurant "bug" from their father Pat, who hailed from Greece and worked as a chef in the Bay Area for several years. In the 1970s, he opened a hofbrau along with his own brother. (Gee, this really does run in the family!)
Harry and George both grew up in the restaurant and after graduating from college, Harry took over the business, enabling his father to retire. George followed suit, and he too joined the restaurant after his university days. Then in 1998, they opened Europa together and now feature many of the same recipes they learned from their father.
"Both of our chefs, Lupe and Alberto, have worked with our family for over 20 years," Lori said. "And they, too, were trained by Pat."
Lori says the family loves doing business in Orinda because there is a sense of "community and family" and most of their customers are regulars.
"We know what they will order, before they order it!" she said.
Local attorney, former city councilman and two-term mayor Aldo Guidotti knows that's true. He's been enjoying lunch there since they opened.
"The food has always been excellent at Europa," he says. "Where else in town can I get a fresh carved turkey sandwich every day?"
And, the added benefit he says, "I can walk from my office and get some exercise!"
Because there are a lot of families in the area, Europa added a children's play area, which has been a big hit. At Europa, you can get a home-style meal, a cold beer or glass of wine and entertain the kids all at the same time!
The restaurant also offers catering service for parties, business meetings and holiday dinners. In fact, they take orders in advance for whole roasted turkey dinners for Thanksgiving celebrations.
"We start very early in the morning on Thanksgiving and cook all day long so the meal is fresh," Lori said. "We cook as many as 50-60 turkeys on Thanksgiving. On St. Patrick's Day, we cook 1,200 pounds of corned beef! It's one of the busiest and most fun days for us."
Look for Europa's stuffed cabbage as we get closer to St. Patty's Day next year. But, back to meatloaf: After researching just exactly what makes a meatloaf "German" I found several different things ranging from sauerkraut to caraway seeds and various mustards. But, not many called for red wine, as this recipe does. I believe it is the secret ingredient to making this meatloaf so special. Who knows? Maybe it's Greek-German meatloaf!
Europa is open daily 10 am - 9 pm and Sunday 10 am - 8 pm
Orders can be phoned in to
or faxed in to 925-254-0299.
64 Moraga Way, Orinda, CA 94563
For more information and menus, please visit:
Europa's German Meatloaf


2 lbs. of lean ground beef
2 eggs
3 tablespoons tomato puree
1 tablespoon ground oregano
1 tablespoon powdered beef bouillon
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 tablespoons dried chopped onion
½ cup red wine
½ cup milk
1½ cups bread crumbs


Mix all ingredients together, form into a loaf, bake at 350 until done, about 45 minutes. Cook for 15 minutes before cutting into slices. Serve with brown gravy mixed with sautéed onions, mushrooms and a little red wine. (Or, as I did, serve with your favorite mustard and Gruyere cheese on the side!)

Photo Susie Iventosch
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