This article is one of the six profiles I have written about Turkish restaurant owners in New York and London. All of these articles came together for my senior thesis which looked at how food eaten in a particular culture is influenced by nationality, geography and politics. Food grounds people in a culture, and in a foreign country that is one of the few ways you can feel closer to home. I also made a short documentary that you can watch here.

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Since having a stroke in December of 2018, Adem Öner let his wife Pırlanta Öner take the reins of their restaurant Iznik which they opened in 1989. While he is still mostly resting at his home in Islington, he agreed to meet me at his restaurant on the bustling streets of Highbury — right across from Mrs Lovell’s Greengrocer and La Fromagerie. Öner was waiting for me at the back table near the kitchen, his cane next to him. …


Thank you for a truck-load of fried eggs.

Since leaving New York to go back to Istanbul, I have not been able to listen to songs about New York. Whenever I saw movies based in New York, I had to stop watching — as an avid romcom watcher, this happened often. I am aware that perhaps this behavior is a little over the top but I just could not accept the fact that I was not there anymore. …


This article is one of the six profiles I have written about Turkish restaurant owners in New York and London. All of these articles came together for my senior thesis which looked at how food eaten in a particular culture is influenced by nationality, geography and politics. Food grounds people in a culture, and in a foreign country that is one of the few ways you can feel closer to home. I also made a short documentary that you can watch here.

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The second Hüseyin Özer, chef and owner of Sofra, walks through the doors of his restaurant in Oxford Street, on St. Christopher’s Place, takes off his long blue coat and plops down on the chair across from me, a waiter takes his coat to hang it up and asks whether he would like something. He thanks him, tells him to bring some Turkish tea for me and tells me that he is fasting — apparently he does that sometimes. He proceeds to ask me questions, saying that he cannot give an interview without knowing about me. Fair enough, I think to myself and give him the classic story I tell people at large family gatherings. …


This article is one of the six profiles I have written about Turkish restaurant owners in New York and London. All of these articles came together for my senior thesis which looked at how food eaten in a particular culture is influenced by nationality, geography and politics. Food grounds people in a culture, and in a foreign country that is one of the few ways you can feel closer to home. I also made a short documentary that you can watch here.

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Nestled between Harrison Ingram Property Management and a 24-hour locksmith called Terry’s All Locks in Eltham in Southern London, a 40-minute train ride from London Bridge, stands Atlantic BBQ Grill. It is a small take-out joint with an all Turkish staff and a menu that centers döner kebab with additions of fish and chips, pies and fried chicken. It is similar to many döner joints around London. Crowds of hungry people stop by late at night, looking for a remedy for their slight intoxication, or for a cheap meal. The customer demographic is mixed with Brits, Turks and other ethnicities. The most popular menu item is their döner kebab made from seasoned and grilled lamb served in either pita bread with lettuce and sauces or over rice which one of the guys, Ömer Sorgucu, prepares while making sure I am watching. He cuts thin pieces of meat acting like he is holding a samurai knife, and throws it to the opened up pita with the precision of a NBA star. The döner meat lands on the cushion of lettuce, tomato and sauce. The place has a couple of tables, however most people order to-go and you can see the food courier constantly coming in and out of the place, carrying bags of food — especially at night. The environment is friendly, with the staff joking around and chatting. …


This article is one of the six profiles I have written about Turkish restaurant owners in New York and London. All of these articles came together for my senior thesis which looked at how food eaten in a particular culture is influenced by nationality, geography and politics. Food grounds people in a culture, and in a foreign country that is one of the few ways you can feel closer to home. I also made a short documentary that you can watch here.

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A block away from the ruckus of Bryant Park is Pera Midtown, a Mediterranean Brasserie owned by Burak Karaçam and a menu created by executive chefs Sezai Çelikbaş and Jason Avery. The restaurant is elegantly decorated with low hanging lights, a fully stocked bar and a mix of high and low seating options. The large windows allow daylight to enter the otherwise warmly-lit restaurant and customers to look onto the busy foot and car traffic of Madison Avenue. There is an open kitchen in the back of the restaurant where you can see the grilling station, the cooks’ mise en place and dishes like grape leaf wrapped Mediterranean branzino, Pera’s signature fresh lamb “Adana” and Corfu-style linguine leaving the kitchen and being placed in front of eager and hungry guests. While I was waiting for Karaçam and Çelikbaş, I saw two businessmen grab a drink together — it was 12 p.m. It did seem like a place for business lunches, not only because of its location but also because of its design, price-range and menu. A mix of Greek, French and Turkish songs were playing, reminding me of fancy restaurants in Istanbul. Pera Midtown, I found, was extremely different from Pera Soho, their second location, which they describe as their “adventurous, younger and bubbly sister.” …


“They are not intended to allow you to be comfortable in 0 degree weather in a snowstorm sitting outside in a bikini.”

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Illustration by Sara Schleede.

Despite Mayor Bill de Blasio lifting the ban on propane heaters last month — which would keep customers warm while dining outside during the winter — restaurant owners across New York City are pleading state and federal governments for additional aid, claiming that heaters are only a temporary and unsubstantial band-aid.

Propane heaters, which are less expensive than electric ones and do not require an outlet, are the latest salve, following federal PPP loans and permanent outdoor dining. But they are still a pricey investment, susceptible to poor weather conditions, and subject to a time-consuming bureaucratic permit process. …


While the pandemic sweeps across the nation, the nightlife industry in New York City struggles to keep afloat.

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Photo illustration by Téa Kvetenadze

Just a few months ago, twenty and thirty-something Brooklynites would crowd into Jupiter Disco, a hip, sci-fi themed bar on the edge of Bushwick on any given Friday and Saturday. There would be a packed bar, an electrifying dance floor, and an epic bathroom line. But these days, Jupiter Disco is almost completely empty.

Al Sotack, a co-owner of the bar, works alone, wiping the counters and worrying about his establishment’s future amidst the coronavirus pandemic. …


Governor Andrew Cuomo said the decision comes after establishments failed to comply with existing regulations.

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Waitress graphic by Maggie Chirdo.

After a spike in outdoor drinking, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday that only establishments that serve food will be allowed to serve alcoholic beverages to sit-down guests — effectively killing walk-up bar services in New York City.

The prohibition of walk-up bar services comes after videos of bar patrons congregating outside without masks went viral. Previously, bars could serve alcohol for those who wanted to do outdoor dining as long as the operation offered food on the menu, but ordering food to get a drink wasn’t a requirement. Cuomo alleged that customers were loitering outside bars and ignored social distancing guidelines, so now if patrons want drinks, they will have to order meals and be seated. …


The U.S. Supreme Court ruling allows employers to withhold contraceptives from their employees insurance on the basis of religious and moral objection.

Graphic of birth control by Izzie Ramirez.
Graphic of birth control by Izzie Ramirez.
Graphic of birth control by Izzie Ramirez.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in favor of exempting employers with religious or moral objections from providing contraceptives in their employee insurance.

The 7-2 decision will allow employers to deny access to birth control for their workers on the basis of religious and moral disagreement. Normally under the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, insurance companies are mandated to cover one type of birth control from each category for free.


A Parsons fashion student takes a Paris local to see the Eiffel Tower for the first time.

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Photo of Eiffel Tower courtesy of interviewed sources.

From Pandemic, With Love is a collection of stories from all around the world about how the COVID-19 pandemic affected people’s relationships with each other. These stories range from new ownership of pets, to rekindling of old high school flames, to breakups, to finding new families.

Although he had been living in Paris for almost all his life, the man had never been to the Eiffel Tower. She found this extremely interesting. He would show her around the city, telling her stories about its glorious architecture and pointing out local bistros and unmapped bars. He was interested in fashion and knew a lot about art — their first date was at the Louvre. …

About

Yasmin Gulec

Istanbulite in New York. Journalist-ish. Passionate about food, drink, politics, culture and nightlife. Anthony Bourdain #1 Fan. https://www.yasminsblog.com/

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