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6-7 Bulgarian Cafe in San Francisco


This article is from the Bulgaria FAQ, by Dragomir R. Radev radev@tune.cs.columbia.edu with numerous contributions by others.

6-7 Bulgarian Cafe in San Francisco

(by Dimitqr Bojanchev)
There is this restaurant in San Francisco called "Stoyanoff's
Cafe" on 9-th ave. and Linkoln. The owner speaks as clear Bulgarian
as one would do. I assumed that he is Bulgarian -- but than at
some point he interrupted me to tell me politely that he is
not Bulgarian, but a Macedonian from Tzarigrad (Istanbul). OK,
I accepted it but I must admit that I was confused ever after
about how to judge the local nationalities.

There is this barber named Dimitar Vulkanoff on Columbus
Street,right on the edge of the Financial district, a block
from China Town. Passing by his little barbershop that looks
not any less shabby than one back in the rural areas of the
homeland I hear him playing clarinet (actually, this is the
fifth barber/clarinetist I know from the Balkans!). To make
things even more extravagant it is a shabby little room just
with a picture of his family and grandfamily (circa 1920) on
the scratched wall and his business license. The barber chair
is vintage 1935 and the primary clientelle consists of
Chinese, several local Greeks, and other Balkan individuals.
Every once in a while an executive type will stop by and get a
haircut. This is all about 50 meters from the TransAmerica
pyramid (the symbol of SF) amidst ritzy looking boutiques and
vanity stores. I see him often entertaining native ChinaTown
residents whileplaying Daichovo horo on his clarinet in the
trademark Balkan 9/8 beat and they seem to nod in appreciation
(a lot of them don't even speak English). The surrealistic
picture gets even more when the executive types enter while he
stops and starts lecturing them with great excitement that
they shouldn't be listening to black rap music anymore (as if
anyone of them ever does??) but listen to Bulgarian music
instead. In the area of the political correctness he is
lagging behind as he doesn't hold back his views on women
(although that he has three daughters) -- but besides that
you feel that the guy has got a heart. Then he takes off
blowing the clarinet inPaidushko horo with its 5/8 beat.
Every time I stop by to get a haircut I feel that I
miraculously re-emerge back into the old world that I am so
familiar with in my guts. Although that he is Macedonian from
Bitola he has a great fondness towards Bulgaria and its music
and avoids ever making a statement about his nationality (I've
tried to trick him into it several times). He absolutely
refuses to venture into discussing Balkan politics and makes a
painfulgesture with his head when I bring up some of the
issues the Balkans face today. He holds no grudge against the
Greeks and told me that makes a lot of money playing at Greek
weddings. Of course, he plays everywhere cause I've seen him
at the Bulgarian gatherings and the Macedonian too. He also
likes to brag that he can read notes and even play Weber's
concerto's on a better day...


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