New Dearborn restaurant Turkish Village is a one-stop-shop for a meal, coffee and dessert – Detroit News

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A new Dearborn business is aiming to be not only a new neighborhood restaurant serving authentic flavors from Turkey but also an all-in-one destination for coffee, desserts and socializing.

Turkish Village is a spacious 8,000-square-foot restaurant that has a menu of savory grilled kebabs, meze platters for sharing and several fresh, herbal salads filled with color and texture. There’s also a full-service coffee bar with Yemeni and Turkish hot and iced beverages, fresh juices and elaborate smoothies.

Dessert here is no afterthought and is instead one of the main attractions. Turkish Village is home to the first United States location of Özikizler Künefe, a brand that started in Urfa, a city in southeastern Turkey, and it started to franchise in 2009. Özikizler focuses on different-sized kanafeh, a round, spun pastry that may incorporate chopped pistachios, walnuts and clotted cream. They’re warmed to order on grills at the coffee bar and served with sweet simple syrup.

Kadir Cilkilic prepares a knafeh inside Turkish Village's Özikizler-branded stand in Dearborn.

“We brought something that’s different to Metro Detroit, Turkish kahafeh,” said owner Eddie Alasad. “Everything is made from scratch, made here at our store, from the milk being boiled to the sugar being boiled and the right equations of sweetness.”

Alasad, a franchisee of the Özikizler Künefe brand, said they’re planning to open more locations in Michigan and beyond, with a base of operations and commissary in the Detroit area.

“We’re planning on doing about 15 stores in Michigan, we already have about four or five stores that have already signed franchise agreements and we have about nine of them that are out of Michigan that will open in different states: New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Louisiana, California, Texas and hopefully Florida.”

Turkish Village — which was formerly Jolly Pumpkin’s Longboard restaurant — is still in its soft opening phase and is keeping late hours right now for the Ramadan season, serving iftar meals starting at 7 p.m. each night for Muslims looking to break their fast for the day. The restaurant is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and the kanafeh and coffee side will stay open later during Ramadan.

Magad Hauter, 7, holds a fruit and yogurt smoothie topped with pistachios at Turkish Village in Dearborn.

The owners, who include Alasad, Kalid Kaid and Shehab Alkhulaidi, say they want Turkish Village to be a place for families to relax and enjoy a full meal, grab a sweet snack or share a pot of flavorful coffee or tea. With a second dining area that can accommodate 100 people, the new spot is also a destination for private events and parties.

While there are still a few remaining elements from its previous iteration as a Jolly Pumpkin tiki-style bar and restaurant, the interior has largely been redone for the new concept. Murals have been painted to represent cities in Turkey, and the lighting includes a mix of colored glass lamps and intricate, multi-colored mosaic lamps.

“We have an array of diversity here,” said Sara Alkhulaidi, co-owner Shehab Alkhulaidi’s daughter. “The kitchen is all Turkish, we have the first Özikizler brand here in the U.S., we have authentic Turkish recipes.”

The open kitchen prepares an array of deeply flavorful seasoned, skewered and grilled meats like chicken, beef and lamb kebab, plus tender iskender kebab, a Turkish dish of döner meat served sliced up over bread with warm tomato-based sauce and a yogurt dip.

Salads, appetizers and meat entrees from Turkish Village, a new restaurant open now in Dearborn.

There’s hummus and baba ganouj, yes, but also pembe sulta, a beautiful pink yogurt made with beets and garlic, and haydari, a Turkish yogurt blended with feta, garlic, olive oil and herbs. The brick oven produces pide (thin bread) topped with cheese and roasted eggplant, lamb, minced meat or spicy beef sausage.

Another dish, the lahana sarmasi — cabbage rolls stuffed with meat and rice with onions and herbs — seems to illustrate Turkey’s physical location in the world, a bridge between Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

While the restaurant takes elements from an Old World country, there are many modern twists, including a robotic server that will help usher food and drink from the coffee bar and kitchen to one of the many table and booths around the dining room.

Find Turkish Village at 21931 Michigan between Oakwood and Monroe in Dearborn. Call (313) 789-7442 or visit turkishvillagecuisine.com to learn more.

Melody Baetens is The Detroit News restaurant critic.

[email protected]

More:4 places to get superb döner kebab in Metro Detroit

More:Where to find warm, flaky burek in Metro Detroit

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