Istanbul Grill (2505 Professor Ave., 216.298.4450, grillistanbul.com), the two-and-a-half-year-old Turkish restaurant in Tremont, abruptly shut its doors yesterday. But the troubles brewing there are not brand new, according to managing partner Drew Sasmaz.
"He is the most talented chef of Turkish food in Cleveland, in Ohio, and possibly the United States," says Sasmaz, referring to his challenging working relationship with his chef-partner Sonmez Bozkurt. "We cannot go on working together."
Bozkurt was the original chef of Anatolia Café when it was still at Cedar Center. He did not make the move to Cedar-Lee.
The plan, in the works for months, was for Sasmaz to relinquish control to the chef, who would hire a manager to help run the place. That has not happened, and it isn't clear if it will happen.
"If he takes over, he can run the whole thing," says Sasmaz. "People are calling and starting a petition for us or him to continue the restaurant. People love us; Tremont is such a supportive neighborhood. We are profitable. It is very sad."
Stay tuned to see how this all unfolds.