Background on Ana Cvetkovic and Better Than Ramen

Ana Cvetkovic is the blogger behind the blog Better Than Ramen, and will be a featured speaker at the April Bloggers Meet Startups event at 1871. Keep up with her on Twitter by following @betterthanramen!

Tell us about Better Than Ramen.

ana-better-than-ramenBetter than Ramen is the young professional’s guide to eating your way around your new city, without spending your whole paycheck.

It started when I was studying at GWU in DC, so most restaurant reviews are from there and there are also quite a few from Philly (where I’m from). I moved to Chicago recently and am trying to populate the blog with more Chicago content.

Currently, I’m trying to find a balance with the different cities I’ve created content for. I offer recipes from time to time, some interviews with chefs, and also have been creating video content.

The original idea for the blog and the name came during the summer after freshman year. I was home eating at a restaurant, with two friends who were about to go away to college. I thought it would be cool to document our dining adventure in 3 different cities, but they never ended up following through.

The following year, I was home for winter break, went out to brunch with a bunch of friends, and took photos while trying other people’s dishes. I was so used to having homework and stuff to write in the Journalism program, but didn’t have much to do on break. I picked up blogging and used it as a way to procrastinate homework and as a way to remember the things I do!

I’m excited to be living in Chicago because Chicago has the largest Serb population outside of Belgrade. I was born in Belgrade and raised in Philly, which doesn’t have as significant of a Serb population. I now have access to delicious foods that remind me of the homeland.

What was one thing your blog did to prepare you for your job?

My blog prepared me for my day job, doing Digital Strategy for a PR firm. All the skills I learned that helped prepare me for this job were from blogging, not Journalism school.

What types of blogs do you follow?

There are two blogs I read on a regular basis:

  • DIY Playbook – Two Chicago women who show you how to decorate a home on a budget
  • The Everygirl – Advice for career-driven women

Do you have any mentors and how have they helped you?

I don’t have any official mentors, but I’m not afraid to seek advice from the people I admire. Whenever I meet another blogger, I try to connect with them and get to know them.

Favorite local restaurant or hangout:

I have a few:

Kiko’s Meat Market (I recommend the punjena pljeskavia – the stuffed Serbian hamburger)
MAD Social (Give their Chicken & Waffles a try)
Irazu (A Costa Rican restaurant that was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives)

Your favorite mobile app?

Instagram. It’s the friendliest and most welcoming social network. On other social networks, some people are very obsessed with gaining followers. On Instagram, people are generous with liking, sharing and engaging. It’s also a discovery app of sorts – I use it to determine where to find my next meal.

What are you working towards?

There are a few things:

After doing a lot of website consulting for clients at my day job, I recognize a need to update my own blog design – even though it’s relatively new! I collect website designs I like for inspiration.
Creating more video content (I have a background in video production)
Turning the blog into a real business with monetization

I’m working on adding new content about Serbian food. Many people who were born in Serbia but moved abroad when they were young are trying to stay in touch with their heritage, and a great way to do that is through food. There’s a lack of Serbian recipes in English online, so I’m trying to fill that vacuum.

Learn more about Ana and Better Than Ramen at the April Bloggers Meet Startups event! Click here for tickets.