UNIVERSITY VILLAGE — After operating a successful restaurant in Istanbul for seven years, a restaurateur is bringing a taste of Turkey to University Village.
Istanbul native Zafer Atasoy opened Galata, a new Turkish restaurant, in the old Lucky's on Maxwell spot at 717 W. Maxwell St. last week. The restaurant offers soups, salads, wraps, platters and tapas, all priced under $15.
After growing up in Istanbul and studying culinary arts in Italy, and working in Dubai, Atasoy opened his own Turkish restaurant in his hometown. When his now-wife, a University of Illinois at Chicago assistant professor, moved to the United States eight years ago to pursue her education, he followed along.
Two kids later, the 40-year-old Atasoy decided that he wanted to open a restaurant of his own in America, and started looking for locations in the University Village area, hoping to cater to students and a Turkish clientele.
After operating a longtime restaurant in Istanbul, Zafer Atasoy opened Galata, a new Turkish restaurant, in University Village last week. [DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay]
While a number of Mediterranean restaurants are located in Chicago — including a bunch in nearby Greektown — Atasoy said that authentic Turkish restaurants are few, and Galata will be the only Turkish restaurant located south of Roosevelt.
"I want to offer fresh food at an affordable price," Atasoy said.
The menu, developed with Chef Yasar Kubat, features a beef-lamb Doner kebob platter ($12.50), grilled Turkish meatball wrap ($7.50), hummus ($4.50), stuffed grape leaves called Dolma ($6), and a variety of other Turkish favorites.
The restaurant seats 45 is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Sunday and has plans to expand hours once a liquor license is approved.
Galata's menu features a variety of Turkish dishes all priced under $15. [DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay]
Galata, a new Turkish restaurant in University Village, replaces the old Lucky's on Maxwell. [DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay]
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