Russian Defector (and Circus Performer) Opens New Restaurant in Northborough

Yuri Krasnov has been in the United States for 25 years, and this is his first foray into the restaurant business.

Born in Russia, Yuri Krasnov has now been in the United States for 25 years, and will be taking his first jump into the restaurant business this year in Northborough.

He does have a history on the tightrope, however. As a hand-balancer in the Moscow Circus, Krasnov was a longtime circus performer, and defected to the U.S. in 1986. According to an AP story in the New York Times, Krasnov and his wife Luba Pisarenkova, in 1987, "gave their first circus performances at the Memorial Coliseum here this weekend since they defected from the Soviet Union last Sept. 22. The married couple walked away from the Leningrad Music Hall performing troupe and into the United States Embassy while the group was on tour in the Seychelles."

The circus is a world away, now. Krasnov quit show biz in 1987, started teaching gymnastics and got a job working in the electronics field. Now, he wants to try his hand at owning a restaurant for the first time.

He and his partner Hakan Zirh are opening Zem Han in Northborough at the former Tom's Eatin' and Drinkin' Place at 4 West Main St. (the big brick building at Northborough's "center).

"It'll be Mediterranean style," said Krasnov, "and we are bringing in a very good chef from New York, Yusef Usta, who is originally from Turkey. The food will be Turkish and Greek and Italian. It's going to be very different culinary dishes. We're trying to bring a feel of like you are eating outside, but inside. We're trying to bring in a Turkish style with paintings and the walls and textures."

Zirh moved to the United States a year ago from Turkey, where he owned two successful restaurants. Zirh has also been successful in the textile industry in Pakistan.

"It'll be our first restaurant in the United States," said Krasnov, "and hopefully will not be the last one. We hope to maybe open another in Worcester."

Krasnov said the former marketplace layout is being opened up for the new restaurant. 

Zem Han should be open within a month, after inspections and other documents are completed, Krasnov said. The owners have applied for a liquor license, which generally takes about three months to obtain, but they will open the restaurant before getting the license (waiting to serve liquor).

Zem Han will also have pastries, sweet cakes, breads, ice cream and yogurt for sale.

"We'll have good service, nice food and a friendly atmosphere," said Krasnov.

Liz Nolan May 08, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Great! It's a perfect center of the town spot for a restaurant. Good luck to the owner and can't wait to try it when it opens.
lynn desposito May 08, 2012 at 06:47 PM
are they hiring ??? if so I would like some info
Samantha Hanna May 08, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Can't wait! Sounds delicious!
Amy Walton May 08, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Yum! I'm looking forward to trying it!
Maureen May 08, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Good luck to them. Hope it goes well.
Eddie Haskell May 09, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Good Luck, Bad Location!
BUTCH RIGA May 30, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Jay June 01, 2012 at 02:17 PM
awesome! Looking forward to trying it out
Liz Nolan July 19, 2012 at 03:25 PM
When is Zem Han opening? any new updates??
The Troll of Northborough July 19, 2012 at 03:33 PM
amd I the only one that envisions a clown cooking? ( joking) Hope this place opens soon, would be nice to see something good in the center of town, Now that the town dropped a traffic light in my flower bed!
Mitch Gordon July 25, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Best of luck to the new owners and to the success of the restaurant. I look forward to trying it.
Chuck silverman August 22, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Can we peak at the menu anywhere I believe they opened today:))


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