April 5, 2019 By Meghan Sackman
A Turkish restaurant owned by a Manhattan restaurateur officially opened in Astoria Thursday.
The establishment, located at 31-16 Broadway, is named “Lokanta” which is the Turkish word for restaurant. It serves homemade Turkish style cuisine.
The restaurant offers traditional Turkish items such as braised lamb over a mashed eggplant puree, beef dumplings, moussaka– a layered eggplant and spiced meat sauce that can be made vegetarian, red lentil soup, and “the best chicken soup in the world,” according to owner Orhan Yegen.
Other dishes include zucchini pancakes, cauliflower with a yogurt and garlic sauce, a seasoned spinach and chickpea dish, and vegan desserts such as stuffed apricots, baked pear, and baked butternut squash.
“The food that you cook has to be the food you like to eat in your home,” Yegen said. “I never cook something just for the trend.”
Yegen, who immigrated from Istanbul in 1977 and lives in Manhattan, also owns midtown Turkish restaurant Sip Sak which he opened in 2004.
The new Astoria restaurant, Yegen said, has a homier and more casual feel than his midtown joint.
Lokanta, which has a 650 square foot dining area that seats about 40, does not sell liquor but allows customers to bring their own to enjoy with their meal.
Lunch on weekdays and Brunch on weekends will also be available with items such as homemade pastries and egg casseroles.
The restaurant, which will be open seven days a week, does not yet have set operational hours but will open everyday around 11 a.m., Yegen said, who is excited to provide the people of Astoria with his food.
“I’m excited for people who want something that I have,” Yegen said of his new Astoria location. “I’m fighting for my culture by serving the best Turkish food…people here will appreciate it.”