The text of the article, from Colorado Serenity Magazine:
Evergreen has a new spot to break bread with family and friends: the Overseas Café. This lovely European eatery and bakery is nestled in the Hiwan Barn where the Blue Spruce Market used to serve patrons. It is now owned by Dima Karpov and his wife, Luba, who emigrated from Russia with their children 11 years ago. This is a family operation with his wife concocting in the kitchen and Karpov doing whatever needs to be done, boasting, “Owners do everything—I even wash dishes.” His daughter, Yana, son, Slava, and niece, Anastysia, are baristas and servers.
Karpov came to America because he had to—he was a religious refugee. He explained that being a “Baptist in Russia was like being a U.S. spy.” Countrymen were wrongly suspicious of him. When he came to Colorado, he had no money and “no language.” His first nights were spent sleeping on a church floor. But he saw opportunity here and made it work. And times have definitely changed: His children, now young adults (well, the ones working at the café—he has two under 11 at home), sport American accents after living here for most of their lives. And the Karpovs are restaurant owners. So how did they do it? Skills, perseverance, and experience. They used to run a small coffee shop when they lived in Ukraine. Karpov laughs at the difference between that place and this one—it was very small and most of his clientele were family. But it served to plant a vision. His wife, a talented cook with know-how and great family recipes, knew they could make a café work here. And so far so good: With the opening just at the beginning of June, the café already has regulars and it’s been known to have long lines for lunch.
As the sign at the top of the red barn promises, the Overseas Café serves European food: crepes, frittata, paninis, borscht, bitochki, schnitzel, and more. But they also have a very Americana kid-friendly menu with mac and cheese, hot dogs, and chips. All the entrees are under $10 and the gorgeous pastries behind the display case—éclairs, madelines, cream cones, sochnik—are under $2. You can also buy whole cakes—carrot, Natalie, Olga, Prague, and apricot roll. And a European café wouldn’t be a café without its beverages; they serve coffee, espresso, tea, smoothies, and frappes. Karpov explains that the daily specials are inspired by customers. Karpov spoke of one customer who felt compelled to reminisce about her 80-year-old grandmother cooking borsht. So borsht became a reoccurring special.
Requests are always welcome, which very well may be Karpov’s business philosophy, “You do what the people want … whatever works.” Karpov also believes that picking the right spot—someplace “cozy … not by the road … this neighborhood” gives him an advantage. And it doesn’t hurt that Evergreen has a lot of people from Europe who want some authentic meals. The café is cozy, as he describes. It has a cushy sofa spot to drink coffee with a friend or read a book by a window with a view of green tree tips, the Evergreen sky, and a buffalo sculpture. It has quaint seating for eating, fish gazing (via salt-water aquarium for the “overseas” theme), or telecommuting (free Wi-Fi). A shelf-full of European trinkets adorns a wall—Russian nesting dolls lined up from biggest to smallest, painted wooden boxes and spoons, and a bearded burlap basket man selling provincial provisions. The walls hold local art for purchase.
A corner of the café is devoted to a play area for the young guests. And if you want to get a better look at that buffalo sculpture, the front has outdoor seating. Doing “what the people want” might spell getting a wine and beer license, going full service, and opening up for dinner, which lights up Karpov when he thinks about it. But he laments that’ll mean the sofas will have to go because there won’t be enough room. But then again, he knows that’s a good problem to have.
The Overseas Café is located at 1552 Bergen Parkway. Open Monday-Friday 8 am to 4 pm, Saturday 7 am to 4 pm, and Sunday 7 am to 3 pm. Call for take-out at (303-674-4488). Visit their Web site at overseas-café.com.