Southern Pines, NC
Dorjan Arsi and Gent Kumi were both born in Tirana, Albania, the culinary crossroads between Italy and Turkey. When they moved to this country a dozen years ago, they brought a wealth of knowledge about Mediterranean cooking learned not from culinary schools, but from their parents and grandparents.
For the past eight years, Dorjan has been working alongside his father at Corfu Taverna, a restaurant in Southern Pines, North Carolina. They soon gained a reputation for authentic Albanian flavors like lemon chicken soup, artichoke hummus and creamy tzatziki. “People would bring their empty jars to the restaurant and ask us to fill them up,” Dorjan remembers.
Demand for their signature soups, dips, and spreads grew so much that Dorjan called up his cousin Gent, who was living in Seattle at the time, and invited him to move to North Carolina to start a business selling fresh foods based on the recipes of their youth. Together they founded Epiri Foods, named after a mountainous region in Southern Albania, near the island of Corfu.
“We cook like we did back home. We use simple recipes, with perishable ingredients. No preservatives, no colorings, just beans, rice, olive oil and fresh vegetables,” says Gent.
A steaming bowl of one of their all-natural soups is the perfect antidote for a cold winter’s day. Choose from white bean, lemon chicken, or tomato basil, pair it with handmade pita and tzatziki sauce, and you have a fresh, flavorful meal that combines the best of Mediterranean cuisine with 100% locally-produced foods. Look for Epiri Foods soups in the Grab ‘n’ Go case at all WSM locations.