Brunch had its moment, now supper is where it’s at.
From the 1930s-2015, Turk’s Inn was a veritable institution in Wisconsin; a place where Midwesterners could eat bona fide Middle Eastern fare surrounded by both belly dancers and live peacocks (legend has it).
The original Ottoman-inspired concept has been salvaged - authentic signs and all - and recreated in the hipster haven of Bushwick. The venture is the brainchild of longtime patrons, Tyler Erickson and Varun Kataria, who sought to “keep the Turk’s spirit alive” for a new generation.
“In imagining a new home for Turk’s, we wanted to find something that gave that off-the-beaten-path feeling that was so much a part of the original. When we started looking for a space about five years ago, Bushwick was much sleepier than it is now,” Erickson said.
Indeed. Bushwick’s booming population of young creatives have lapped up the idea of an independently-operated alternative to Manhattan’s often overly-contrived nightlife. On an average night, patrons can hit up Turk’s to sip a Garam Masala Colada cocktail on the rooftop Kismet Garden; feast on mezzes, grilled meats and vegetables over candlelight; and witness a belly dancer gliding through in the midst of it all, before going dancing themselves in the adjoining intimate music venue space, The Sultan Room. Alicia Keys even played a surprise set recently. And to finish off the night of revelry? A late-night döner kebab is always an option.
“The reception has been heartwarming and humbling. We underestimated the impact of bringing the beloved Turk’s back to life. Eighty years is a long time for a restaurant to be open, and in all those years Turk’s created many loyal patrons. We’ve had dozens of visitors that knew and loved the original, and were completely taken aback to walk into a pretty convincing reproduction in Brooklyn,” Erickson added. “The first week we opened, a guy came in who drank his first martini at Turk’s!”
Erickson and Kataria are keen on keeping Turk’s quirky history intact, as well as the concept of the supper club.
“The supper clubs of Wisconsin are comfortable and unpretentious places where you can find a bit of pageantry as well,” Erickson said. “They kind of pretend to be fancy, and sometimes actually are, but no matter what they are accessible, fun and welcoming to all.”
“Every night is different, but no matter what, it always feels like a party among friends and near-acquaintances. That’s the key to keeping the supper club vibe alive: building close relationships with our regulars, serving our immediate community and being a wild destination for those that venture from afar. We want everyone who walks through our doors to feel transported. When you’re here, you’re not in New York anymore, and you’re on vacation.”