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Gowanus Ironworks Turns Warehouse Into Mediterranean Cafe

By Leslie Albrecht | September 20, 2013 9:05am
 The Bahche is a new Turkish cafe on Seventh Street and Third Avenue.
Gowanus Ironworks Turns Warehouse Into Mediterranean Cafe
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GOWANUS — A former industrial warehouse has been transformed into a slice of Mediterranean life on Seventh Street and Third Avenue.

The Bahche, a Turkish-themed cafe, opened recently in a sprawling space complete with an outdoor courtyard where diners can lounge on padded lawn chairs amidst hanging flower planters.

On one side of the courtyard is a wall made to look like a quaint clapboard house with lace curtains in the windows. Inside, the high-ceiling dining room easily fits dozens of tables and a mezzanine overlooks the main dining area.

"Bahche" means garden in Turkish, and the cafe aims to create a relaxed atmosphere where customers can linger for hours, employee Funda Cercioglu said. Typing away on a laptop or reading a book are encouraged. 

"We don't want people to eat and go," Cercioglu said. "We want them to sit and relax and talk."

While they're there, customers can sample traditional Turkish fare starting with the breakfast menu. The Bahche opens at 7 a.m. and serves Turkish coffee alongside the American version.

There's a Mediterranean breakfast platter with honey, homemade jam, butter, "kashaual cheese," feta cheese, black olives, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and hard-boiled egg. It's served with "simit" — a sesame-encrusted bread ring similar to a bagel, but with a more buttery taste, Cercioglu said.

The lunch and dinner menu includes Mediterranean standards like hummus, tabbouleh and labne, plus cafe classics like Caesar salad, a chicken salad sandwich, and a burger with french fries.

The Bahche was started by Ersin Vurgun, the owner of EVS Management, an ironworks company that's next door to the new restaurant. He wasn't available for comment on Thursday.

Vurgun's foray into the dining business marks another change for the rapidly changing neighborhood. New artists studios recently opened around the corner, and plans are underway for a boutique hotel a block away.

Down the street from The Bahche is the performance venue the Bell House, which recently got a mention in New York magazine's Approval Matrix column after it hosted mayoral candidate Bill De Blasio's victory party.

"The power center of New York civilization has officially moved to Brooklyn," the magazine declared.