Home
Turkish Restaurants in Manhattan PDF Print E-mail
2006-03-15 19:16:44
New York City, which has the most restaurants in the world, invents new places every year. There are 17,300 restaurants to meet the needs of people in New York City, which has an area of only 320 square miles. There are 23 Turkish restaurants on the island of Manhattan. The annual income of these Turkish restaurants, which employ a total of almost 400 people, is estimated to be 30 million dollars. The history of Turkish restaurants in Manhattan goes back to the years when Turkish immigrants started working at Armenian restaurants.

 

Image
The oldest Turkish restaurant in Manhattan is Topkapi, which was established by Ugur Egilmez. Bosporus, Butterfly, Genghis Khan’s Bicycle and Deniz Restaurant followed Topkapi.  It is possible to make this list longer, but one of the drawbacks of such a list is that these people were not able to continue their business. Disputes between partners or the difficulties of business were the reasons for take-overs or closings.

There are of course some restaurants, which have been very stable. Salim Gorur, who opened Genghis Khan’s Bicycle in 1970s, is also the owner of Dervis Restaurant on Broadway. Nazmi Cardak, who owns Nazmi’s Place in New Jersey, has been in the business more than 30 years. Ayhan Hassan, who owns seafood and kebob restaurants in Long Island, is influential enough to give his name to a street (Ayhan’s Corner).

247 NEW PLACES
According to Zagat, which follows the new trends of the food sector and evaluates restaurants, 247 restaurants went into business in New York last year, and 83 closed their doors. Twenty-seven of New York’s best 50 restaurants opened in the last 10 years.

Many Turkish restaurants serve their customers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Sahara, with the largest floor space in Brooklyn, Taci’s Beyti, Kapadokya, Masal Café, Istanbul Restaurant I and II, Yonca, the seafood restaurant Liman, My Moon, which attracts attention with its décor and concept, Turkish Breeze, Hemsin, Nazar, and Mundo in Queens are the first places we can think of which are operated by Turkish owners. The details about the restaurants in Manhattan and their customers are really interesting.

New York City, which has the most restaurants in the world, invents new places every year. There are 17,300 restaurants to meet the needs of people in New York City, which has an area of only 320 square miles. There are 23 Turkish restaurants on the island of Manhattan. The annual income of these Turkish restaurants, which employ a total of almost 400 people, is estimated to be 30 million dollars.

Image
The history of Turkish restaurants in Manhattan goes back to the years when Turkish immigrants started working at Armenian restaurants. The oldest Turkish restaurant in Manhattan is Topkapi, which was established by Ugur Egilmez. Bosporus, Butterfly, Genghis Khan’s Bicycle and Deniz Restaurant followed Topkapi.  It is possible to make this list longer, but one of the drawbacks of such a list is that these people were not able to continue their business. Disputes between partners or the difficulties of business were the reasons for take-overs or closings.

There are of course some restaurants, which have been very stable. Salim Gorur, who opened Genghis Khan’s Bicycle in 1970s, is also the owner of Dervis Restaurant on Broadway. Nazmi Cardak, who owns Nazmi’s Place in New Jersey, has been in the business more than 30 years. Ayhan Hassan, who owns seafood and kebob restaurants in Long Island, is influential enough to give his name to a street (Ayhan’s Corner).

247 NEW PLACES
According to Zagat, which follows the new trends of the food sector and evaluates restaurants, 247 restaurants went into business in New York last year, and 83 closed their doors. Twenty-seven of New York’s best 50 restaurants opened in the last 10 years.

Many Turkish restaurants serve their customers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Sahara, with the largest floor space in Brooklyn, Taci’s Beyti, Kapadokya, Masal Café, Istanbul Restaurant I and II, Yonca, the seafood restaurant Liman, My Moon, which attracts attention with its décor and concept, Turkish Breeze, Hemsin, Nazar, and Mundo in Queens are the first places we can think of which are operated by Turkish owners. The details about the restaurants in Manhattan and their customers are really interesting.

Image
One of the best most popular Turkish restaurants in Manhattan is Turkish Kitchen.

TURKISH KITCHEN

One of the best most popular Turkish restaurants in Manhattan is Turkish Kitchen. According to the 2006 criteria of the Zagat Survey, it is one of the three best Turkish restaurants out of 20, due to its prices, service, food quality and decor. The partners of Turkish Kitchen, Ahmet Yildizel and Ilgar Peker, have been managing the place on 3rd Avenue together since 1993.

Peker tells us the first two years profit in the business is always satisfying, but it starts declining after two years. The attention of the customers slowly fades away. For that reason many people sell their places to others.

Turkish Kitchen is aiming for sales of 4.5 million dollars at the end of this season. The restaurant, which showed a 15 % increase in turnover every year for the last six years, was selected as one of the most profitable 50 restaurants by Zagat Survey.

FOUR STORIES
It is possible to categorize Turkish restaurant owners into two groups. The first group is made up of people who have learned everything growing up in the business, and thenestablished their own places, and the second group is made up of people who approach the food business as a good investment. Peker says he is in the second group. Peker, who graduated from Istanbul Yildiz University with a degree in architecture, got his master’s degree from Stonybrook University. These days, he is also involved in the real estate business in addition to the food sector. He is looking for an opportunity to buy a building in Manhattan.

He is also working on turning Turkish Kitchen into a four-story establishment. Peker, who also manages a gas station, is partners with Ahmet Yildizeli in every business he owns. The cook of the Turkish Kitchen, Ibrahim Kilic from Bolu, is also a partner in the restaurant. He has a big role in turning Turkish Kitchen into a popular place, because previously he was the head cook of Istanbul Hilton. One of the biggest problems in the restaurant business is finding employees.

Most of the employees work part time at the restaurant; it is not their main job. Peker says: “You cannot expect someone to concentrate on their work 100 % when they are thinking of their final exams or classes the next day.” The record turnover for Turkish Kitchen was 460 customers in one day, for a restaurant with a capacity of 140 clients at a time, and which employs a total of 30 waiters to cover all its shifts. Peker says that it is a skill to have the place full all the time.

A CLASSIC IN MANHATTAN!
Orhan Yegen is a classic in the Turkish restaurant business in Manhattan. To date, he hasopened 13 restaurants with different concepts, one of them in Florida. His last place, Sip Sak on 2nd Avenue, has been there for a year and a half.

Image
Antique Garage in Soho

Yegen ,who came to U.S. when he was 21 is now 50, and is a well known cook and  manager. He was selected as one of the best 50 cooks by New York Magazine in 2002. He has been mentioned in articles by many newspapers and magazines published in New York. His personal archive is quite big.
Yegen, who has cooked in the kitchens of many New York jet-set celebrities, opened his first restaurant in Frank Sinatra’s home town of Hoboken, NJ. It was an Italian restaurant. After the place burnt down he opened Turkish Kitchen, Dervish, Beyoglu, and Effendi. The names Yegen picks for his restaurants are always interesting.

When we ask him if opens a lot of places to make money off of them, he answers: “No. It is a passion.” He says only one place he has opened so far was not successful. It was Turks, and in Florida. He says he failed because he did not listen to his father who always says, “Do not open a place in a location you don’t know.”

HE IS WRITING A BOOK
According to this famous cook, it is people that make a place popular. “Go to a restaurant today, and when you go back there three months later you’ll see that a quarter of the employees will be different. But the taste of my eggplant salad has been the same for the last 25 years.”

Yegen is taking care of the customers while he is answering our questions. He does not miss a thing, a fork that falls on the floor, a customer who was seated at a wrong table, someone who wants the check, or a customer who needs some new service. He is not nice to customers like this all the time. He himself tells us how he threw out a customer, who did not want to pay since he did not like the kadayif from Gulluoglu, which is a very famous place for desserts. He says: “He had never had he ever had Kadayif in his life before and he told me he did not like it and did not want to pay.”

Yegen, who is working on a book satirizing the American way of eating, is also trying to improve his skills as a photograph artist. When we ask him at which restaurant he enjoyed working most he says, “The next one.”

KINGS OF THE RESTAURANTS
Turkish entrepreneurs do not serve only Turkish food. The Italian restaurant Pescatore on 2nd Ave is one of them. There are two owners of the place: Turgut Kaytmaz and Can Cangir. Turgut Kaytmaz has opened 17 restaurants so far, most of which of them were in New York. He is one the most energetic businessmen of all time. He started his business in 1976, and Olio, Café Centro, Allora are the names of some of his restaurants.

Kaytmaz, who says he sells the restaurants when they make the most money, has been the manager of Pescatore for the last 13 years. Kaytmaz, who lives in Palm Beach, Florida is planning to turn Pizza Luna into a franchise, opening other ones in the state. Kaytmaz opened a new place, named Casey’s, which serves organic sausages, gourmet salads and ‘cheese steak.’

The 59-year-old Kaytmaz is planning to open new restaurants in Las Vegas too. This businessman, who came to U.S. in 1967 with a scholarship fromm the government, studied economics and took his masters in business development at New York University.

Kaytmaz, who opens the new places with a group of investors, is planning business development and following new trends with his partner Can Cangir.

Another establishment, which does not offer Turkish cuisine, is the Japanese Restaurant owned by Erol Bayraktar in Long Island.

DINNER AT AN ANTIQUE PLACE
There are also some places, which look different from the others because of their decor, menu and concept. Antique Garage in Soho, which is one of the most popular spots in Manhattan, is one of them. The place, which was opened two years ago by the  young investor Utku Cinel, is famous because of its antique scenery. The table you sit at is of 18th century Victorian style, the dishes are 150 years old, and the silverware is 200 years old. Robert De Niro is one of the regulars.

Image
Orhan Yegen at right.

If there is an antique piece you want to buy after the dinner, you can put that on the bill too. Two of Cinel’s biggest passions came together with the place: Food and antiques. Although he used to be in textiles, he had the idea of showing the antique pieces he collected at a restaurant, which used to be auto repairs shop that was about to close down. Cinel, who studied at Queens College, owns four women’s wear stores. At Antique Garage, where Ottoman cuisine is served in its modernized version, on Sundays Turkish customers have their brunch while listening to Turkish jazz. Four Mexicans working at the restaurant have also learned how to cook from Cinel. He says: “Men who have never had Turkish food in their lives before became Turkish cuisine cooks.” The new aim of this young boss is to open a very luxurious seafood restaurant. The 75-people capacity restaurant will turn into one with a capacity for 150 people. 35-year-old Cinel says his girlfriend Yasemin Esit, who has studied management, has a lot to do with his success. He says he gets a lot of offers for the restaurant, but does not want to sell it since he sees the place as his baby.

SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL
Another investor in the restaurant business is Isitan Gun, who has opened his restaurant, 101, on 23rd Street and 2nd Avenue. Gun, who graduated from Bogazici University, is looking for another place even though he has just opened his first one. The restaurant serves a maximum of 18 people and although the prices are low, the quality is of high standards. Gun says: “I have not grown up in this business, but I have a general knowledge of what has to be done. This is a fact that makes this restaurant different from the others.” 101, which has separate menus for lunch and dinner, is for those who want to eat at a small but high quality place.

LODOS IN NEW JERSEY
There are a lot of Turkish restaurants both big and small in New Jersey, where there is a big Turkish population. Samdan, which has been in business for a long time in Tenafly, Beyti, one of the oldest Turkish restaurants in New Jersey, Toros and Alaturka in Paterson, where a lot of Turks live, Nazmi’s Place, established by Nazmi Cardak, who deserves his fame among Turkish restaurant owners, Uncle’s Place in Northern New Jersey, Kervan, and Seven Hills of Istanbul in Highland Park, are the first ones we can think of.

Another place people talk about nowadays is Lodos Restaurant, which opened in New Milford, NJ 25 miles from New York. And its owner is a very young investor, 26-year-old Bahri Karaslan. Karaaslan, who decorated the restaurant himself, is a professional in the appetizer and kebob department. He has turned an old Italian restaurant into a Turkish one and is trying to achieve success in a non-Turkish environment. The restaurant, which serves in a heavily Jewish-populated neighborhood, is open 7 days a week. The young investor, who says, “Some of our customers say that they never had fish like they had here even in Turkey,” organizes a dinner accompanied by belly dancers once a week. The customers of the restaurant, which has also been listed in the Zagat Survey, describe the place as a “warm, cozy and a comfortable one, in which they feel at home.” Lodos is also a good place for parties and the regulars of the restaurant believe the place will become more popular in New Jersey in the future.

TURKISH RESTAURANTS IN MANHATTAN ACCORDING TO ZAGAT
According to Zagat Survey’s 2006 book, which evaluates restaurants based upon customer opinion, these are the important points in evaluating the service, decor, food quality, and price of Turkish restaurants.

• On a scale of 0-30, Turkish Kitchen and Ali Baba had the highest score in food quality in Manhattan
• Turkuaz scored the highest with its decor.
• The highest service quality goes to Akdeniz Restaurant with 21 points. Akdeniz shares a spot with Taci’s Beyti in terms of good but not well-known food and then Dervish, Pasha, Turkish Kitchen and Uskudar follow with 19 points.
• Turkish Kitchen, Pasha, and Zeytin stand out because of their prices. The average per person is 38 dollars in all three of them.
• The food quality average of the 13 Turkish restaurants is 20, the decor is 15 and the service quality is 18.The average price is 31 dollars.
• Bereket on Hudson Street, NY, which is the only 24-hour restaurant, received the lowest points for price and decor. It received 5 for decor and the average cost per person is 11 dollars.
• Ali Baba was not able to achieve the same ranking for the food quality as for its decor and prices, but it is one of the three restaurants that ranked highly in all four categories. Pasha follows Turkish Kitchen by taking a spot as one of the top three in decor, service and price.
• The surveyors chose Gramercy as the best restaurant in Manhattan. It got 28 points and was named the best in food quality. The average bill per person is 73 dollars. Union Square Café is the second most popular place, and Babbo is the third.
• While one can eat well enough for an average of $37.45, the amount one person spends at the most expensive 18 restaurants of the city is $92.49. The most expensive restaurant in New York is Masa Restaurant in Columbus Circle, which has an average per person cost of 356 dollars.

MICHELIN’S NEW YORK EVALUATION
Even though Michelin is known as a tire brand all around the world, the company also publishes a booklet that has evaluated restaurants since 1926. Michelin, which evaluated  New York restaurants for the first time in 2006, has selected the best among 1500. In order to do that they had to first select those 1500 from over 17 thousand restaurants.

The difference between the Zagat Survey and the Michelin Survey, which sends its gourmets to 20 European countries, is that gourmet juries evaluate the places, not the customers. The only restaurant which was included in Michelin’s New York Booklet of 2006 is Turkish Kitchen. The decorof the restaurant, which has an average price of $25 and under per person, is emphasized in the booklet and also Michelin advises patron to taste the Turkish wines on offer.

RANKING IN DECORATION
Restaurant        Point / Puan
Turkuaz                    20
Pasha                      19
Turkish Kitchen      19
Zeytin                        18
Beyoğlu                    17
Dervish                     16
Ali Baba                    14
Akdeniz                     14
Turkish Cuisine      14
Zeytuna                     14
Taksim                      13
Zeytuna                     14
Üsküdar                    11
Şip Şak                      11
Bereket                        5

RANKING IN SERVICE QUALITY
Restaurant         Point
Akdeniz                  21
Dervish                  19   
Pasha                    19   
Turkish Kitchen    19   
Üsküdar                 19   
Beyoğlu                  18   
Sultan                     18   
Taksim                   18
Turkish Cuisine    18   
Turkuaz                  18   
Ali Baba                 17   
Zeytin                     17   
Şip Şak                  16   
Bereket                  13   
Zeytuna                  13   

RANKING IN PRICE
Restaurant        Point
Pasha                    $38
Turkish Kitchen    $38
Zeytin                      $38
Sultan                     $35
Beyoğlu                  $33
Dervish                   $33
Turkuaz                  $33
Üsküdar                 $31
Turkish Cuisine    $30
Akdeniz                   $26
Ali Baba                  $25
Taksim                   $22
Şip Şak                   $21
Zeytuna                  $16
Bereket                  $11

* The restaurants which scored the same points are in alphabetical order. /
Note: Sahara’s, Antique Garage, Dalga Sea Food, Istanbul, Grill, Troy, Kebab House 2, The Country Kebab did not take part in this year’s Zagat Survey.


MOST POPULAR NYC RESTAURANTS *
Restaurant                             Neighborhood     Cuisine        Food    Decor    Service    Cost
1- Gramercy Tavern             Flatiron District    American     28             26       27            $72
2- Union Square Cafe         Union Square      American     27             23       26            $61
3- Daniel                                East 60s               French          28            28       27             $102   
4- Gotham Bar &Grill           G.Village               American     27            25       25             $67
5- Blue Water Grill                Union Square     Seefood       24            22        21             $49
Source: Zagat

TURKISH RESTAURANTS IN MANHATTAN
Name                           Address                                                                                        Phone
Akdeniz                        19 W 46th St,   NY 10036 (5th & 6th Ave)                                212-575-2307
Ali Baba                       212 E 34 St,   NY 10016 (2nd & 3rd Ave)                                212-683-9206
Antique Garage          41 Mercer St, NY 10013 (Broome & Grand St)                      212-219-1019
Bereket                         187 E Houston St, NY 10002 at Orchard St                          212-475-7700
Beyoglu                        1431 3rd Ave, NY 10028 at 81st St                                         212-650-0850
Dalga Seafood Grill    401 E 62nd St, NY 10021 (1st Ave & York Ave)                   212-813-1790
Dervish                         146 W 47th St, NY 10036 (6th & 7th Ave)                             212-997-0070
Istanbul Grill                 310 W 14th St, NY 10014 (8th & 9th Ave)                            212-463-8626
Kebab House 2           144 Orchard St, NY 10002 at Rivington St                          212-477-5200
Maia                               98 Avenue B, NY 10009 (6th & 7th St)                                 212-358-1166
Pasha                            70 W 71st St, NY 10023 (Columbus Ave & CPW)            212-579-8751
Sahara's                        513 2nd Ave, NY 10016 (28th & 29th St)                            212-532-7589
Sip Sak                          928 2nd Ave, NY 10017 (49th & 50th St)                            212-583-1900
Taksim                          1030 2nd Ave, NY 10022 (54th & 55th St)                          212-421-3004
The Country Kebab     76 Fulton St, NY 10038 at Gold St                                       212-349-4290
The Sultan                    1435 2nd Ave, NY 10021 (74th & 75th St)                          212-861-0200
Troy                                539 9th Ave,   NY 10018 at 40th St                                       212-465-0888
Turkish Cuisine           631 9th Ave, NY 10036 (44th & 45th St)                              212-397-9650
Turkish Kitchen            386 3rd Ave, NY 10016 (27th & 28th St)                             212-679-6633
Turkuaz                          2637 Broadway, NY 10025 at 100th St                               212-665-9541
Uskudar                        1405 2nd Ave., NY 10021 (73rd & 74th St)                          212-988-2641
Zeytin                              519 Columbus Ave, NY 10024 at 85th St                           212-579-1145
Zeytuna                          59 Maiden Lane, NY 10038                                                   212-742-2436


(March 2006, 19th Issue)

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
You must be logged in to a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

busy
Last Updated ( 2013-03-16 01:36:43 )
 
< Prev   Next >
 
http://turkofamerica.com/images/Tolga_Kapusuz_Banner.jpg
http://turkofamerica.com/images/Damla.jpg
http://turkofamerica.com/images/Sevil_Ozisik.jpg
http://turkofamerica.com/images/Herrick_Barbaros_Banner.jpg
http://turkofamerica.com/images/metincaglar_2_copy.jpg
http://turkofamerica.com/images/Polat_law_Firm.jpg
http://turkofamerica.com/images/Ayse_Kuzucuoglu_Banner1.jpg
http://turkofamerica.com/images/Ogmen_Law_Firm1.jpg
http://turkofamerica.com/images/Petek_Gunay+Banner.jpg