After operating in a construction zone for the last two years, Zeytin Turkish Restaurant has relocated to its new home.
The restaurant has been operating out of its new building, at 7437 River St., in the center of downtown Ada for the past three weeks and is celebrating its grand opening today with a ribbon cutting this morning. It was previously housed nearby in a building that will be demolished soon.
The restaurant is a staple in the township, bringing Turkish cuisine to the table for the past 12 years. As Ada undergoes a major transformation, owner U. Turan decided to take the journey with his beloved community.
“I had the vision and wanted to be part of it and wanted to be part of Ada, and that’s why I took the loss because in the long term it will be gorgeous and better for the community,” Turan said, noting dining was down throughout the main year of construction, but has already picked back up now that Zeytin has relocated.
Turan said the new space is similar to the old space in terms of décor and style, including hand-made Oriental rug cushions and Turkish music piped through the dining rooms. He said the move allows Zeytin to offer more of everything its customers have come to love and then some.
Turan said the new location includes 11 booths versus the three it had previously, 21 bar seats, two outdoor patios with a variety of seating options, and at 4,000 square feet, it has three times the indoor dining space. He also said customers will be happy to know the bathrooms are larger with three stalls each instead of single stalls.
The expanded indoor footprint means Zeytin continues to offer a semi-fine dining room for customers looking to enjoy a more intimate, quiet dinner and also a casual dining space that will cater to the lunch and after work crowd as well as families.
The menu has stayed the same with several Turkish dishes available as well as other Mediterranean items like seafood-based dishes. Turan said Zeytin specializes in shish kebabs, offering lamb, beef and chicken options, and that focus will continue.
But he said the restaurant is also looking to focus on the casual diner more than before. Zeytin will soon offer a small bites menu with items like wings, wraps and burgers. He said the motivation for this menu is to make the restaurant a more family-friendly destination, where parents feel comfortable dropping in with their kids after a soccer game, for instance.
“We were more like a date night restaurant. Now we are trying to appeal to everyone, and now we have more room to be able to do that,” Turan said.
Turan said customers have been excited by the new space, particularly the outdoor seating options.
What customers can’t see is the expanded kitchen, which Turan said is now double the size of its previous space. He noted nearly 95 percent of the Zeytin menu is made from scratch. He said cooks debone the meat on site and it’s marinated for at least 24 hours to prepare it.
Zeytin offers a full menu, featuring 16 different appetizers and 22 entrees, and a full bar.
Turan is excited by the progress he is seeing with the transformation project in downtown Ada. As a resident of the community and also a business owner there for the past 22 years— he owned a video rental shop before opening Zeytin—he said he is already seeing the downtown area becoming more active.
“More businesses are coming in, and in a short term, that is going to be completed by end of next year, 80 percent of these buildings will be done and that means more traffic and business, more action, more alive in Ada. I’m thrilled to see that and to grow with it. I think it’s so exciting and so much fun to be in that. … now we are doing really well and I’m very happy and it was a great decision.”
*Photos courtesy of Zeytin