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Smokehouse

This day was a year in the making, and it was worth the wait.

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Our story begins with three friends and their somewhat quixotic dream of opening an American BBQ restaurant in the middle of Chisinau. In addition to the typical challenges an aspiring entrepreneur might encounter, our friends faced a myriad other obstacles. Some they had anticipated; others were so unexpected and improbable that they strain one’s imagination.

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Even before they got started, they faced the possibility of expulsion from Moldova. Then came the crash course in Moldovan finance, accounting, and small business regulations. Even something as basic as setting a menu apparently entails endless and byzantine regulations and a lengthy approval process. If you want to read about the full extent of their trials and tribulations or if you’re curious about launching your own business in Moldova, go here.

In the end, not only did they manage to jump through all the hoops placed before them, but our friends also succeeded in opening an excellent restaurant. The food is fantastic, the decor is cool — kind of a Brooklyn-hipster-meets-Southern-BBQ — and they even have half a dozen Moldovan craft beers on tap.

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Most importantly, the owners are good people — two former Peace Corps volunteers and a Moldovan guy who’s been one of our closest friends these last two years. We went to a soft opening, and then watched the Ambassador pour the inaugural beer at the grand opening last week. Our only disappointment is that this place didn’t open sooner.

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