New Eastern European Restaurant Making Mark in Palisades

By Dolores Quintana

Blin Blin restaurant in the Pacific Palisades is really making its mark and introducing the residents to the cuisine of Eastern Europe as reported by the Palisadian Post.

Co-owners of Blin Blin, Alena Logvinenko and Albina Mels have settled into the neighborhood at their location on Via de la Paz. They both grew up eating blinis and Mels said, as quoted by the Palisadian Post, “Most Eastern European families have their own blini recipe, usually passed down from generation to generation. Our grandmother’s recipe was not like anyone else’s, the blini were thin, golden with a crispy rim around the edges, greased with butter, folded and topped with fresh homemade sour cream. In our family, we make blinis at least once a week for breakfast or even dinner, using our grandmother’s recipe. With the opening of Blin Blin, we would love to not only share the delicious blini with our customers but also to commemorate the memory of our beloved grandmother Zoya.”

Logvinenko and Mels run the daily operations of the restaurant and Logvinenko’s brother, Igor deal with the business side of the restaurant.

Logvinenko said, as quoted by the Palisadian Post, “Blin Blin is just a silly play on words, like ‘bling, bling,’ that is meant to sound light, fun and exciting. But if you want to wear your best ‘bling’ while eating blini, we would not object.”

Logvinenko added, “Albina and I met in 2010 when we both went to an MBA program, back in Kyrgyzstan at American University in Central Asia, and became good friends,” Logvinenko said to the Post. “I have significant experience living and studying in the United States. I spent a year as a high school student in Chula Vista, California, which made it possible for me to attain fluency in English. Upon returning to Kyrgyzstan, I eventually earned an MBA from the American University in Central Asia.”

Working together at Blin Blin takes them back to their “happiest and most carefree times” during their childhoods while at their grandmother’s house in their native Kyrgyzstan, a town that had both Russian and Ukrainian residents. 

Logvinenko was previously involved in running a business in high-end retail but her real passion is cooking and food. She took time during the pandemic lockdown to study the business of restaurants and completed multiple restaurant certification programs to prepare for opening the restaurant of her dreams. 

She said, as quoted by the Palisadian Post, “My experience and education only re-animated my energy and passion about this business. Now that we have been here for a little while, we feel so fortunate to be in Pacific Palisades. The feedback from the members of the local community has been so heart-warming. The Palisaders do really value their local businesses and we hope to love them back by becoming a reliable presence for years to come.”

It is customary for Eastern Europeans to have their own special recipes for the many dishes in Eastern European cuisine. It is Logvinenko, Igor and Mels hope that they can introduce many of their family’s favorite recipes to the residents of the Palisades through Blin Blin. 

Logvinenko stated, as quoted by the Palisadian Post, “We strongly believe that Blin Blin will become a local favorite, especially among the families with young children. “Given the nearly infinite variety of blinis and their unmistakable taste, this product will undoubtedly find its regular customers, who will continue to be surprised by new varieties we will introduce over the coming months and years.”

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