Petias and Apolnonija Steponivicius left Lithuania 18 years ago to come to America. In Lithuania, the couple was actors and also owned a small cafe. They came to America in search of help for Petias’s health problems.
In America the Steponivicius family found exactly what they needed: health and a new cafe.
“We are very thankful for the Lithuanian community and American doctors,” Apolnonija said.
On arriving to America the Steponivicius family came to New York City. For two weeks they lived in a Lithuanian church where the church’s father helped them a great deal. After that the Steponivicius family moved to Marquette Park on the South Side of Chicago, until they moved to Brookfield seven years ago.
When first in America Petias and Apolnonija worked every kind of job possible to earn money. But they always dreamed of owning a small restaurant, similar to the one they owned in Lithuania.
Their dream came true several months ago when the couple opened The Euro in the heart of downtown Brookfield at 9201 Broadway Ave. The Euro features dishes from Czechoslovakia, Poland, Lithuania and Croatia and provides live music on the weekends.
The couple, who has been married almost 25 years, opened the restaurant because Petias is a talented cook and because they understand the business, Apolnonija says.
“This is what we know. Food, people, friendship, this is what we understand,” she said.
The Steponiviciuses, who describe themselves as people-oriented, wanted to be part of the community. They enjoy the area and even thinking of retiring in Brookfield.
“We have found good people and nice culture,” Apolnonija said.
The pair enjoys the parks, the neighbors and the village’s proximity to the city.
On top of being part of the community, Petias and Apolnonija also wanted to be self-made. Both knew only a few English words when they came to the country and studied English at the College of DuPage in order to become more fluent.
“We wanted to do something on our own. We want to show others that if you dream about something you can do it. You have to take a risk and do it,” Apolnonija said.
Now that their first goal is accomplished, the couple has a few more goals in sight. They would like to serve a wide variety of European dishes at their restaurant and are currently working on new menus. The couple also plans extend the restaurant’s hours, including breakfast service and featuring more live music.
They’d also like to open a theater in Brookfield. Both Petias and Apolnonija are part of a Lithuanian community theater in Chicago and would like to have something similar at home. Apolnonija says theaters bring life and culture to a community. She says opening a theater is the couple’s next dream.
Though that dream is far from being realized Apolnonija says it’s very important to always have a dream.
“The start is the dream. Your next step depends on you. If you’re not dreaming, it’s not good.”