Traditional Turkish food with a twist at Turkitch Turkish Kitchen in Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Turkish food is typically relegated to small, mom-and-pop restaurants, often in strip malls, where some dishes and ingredients can be tough to decipher. But a new concept is combining Turkish ingredients and traditional dishes, with a much more modern approach to marketing.

Breakfast is one of the most important meals in Turkish culture, and you can certainly find it at Turkitch Turkish Kitchen, which now has three locations in town, including their largest store on W. Diversey Pkwy.

"We trying to serve authentic Turkish street foods in the United States," said Turkitch owner Ozkan Yilmaz.

EXTRA COURSE: Tea, coffee and baklava at Turkitch Turkish Kitchen
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ABC7's Hungry Hound checks out the tea, coffee and baklava offered at Turkitch Turkish Kitchen in Chicago.



Simit - the ubiquitous, circular, sesame-covered bread - is eaten throughout Turkey, and here, they get the dough shipped in and then bake them off. But they get creative, using them for sandwiches, housing cheese and sujuk - a Turkish dried beef sausage.

"We cover with a lot of sesame on the top. It's a really good combination with the Turkish tea and cheese on it," he said.

Another classic breakfast is menemen.

"Menemen, we use tomato, onion, peppers, sujuk if you want and eggs," said Yilmaz.

Instead of a sandwich with the round simit, you can opt for a panini with a host of Turkish flavors.

"Cheese, pickles, sujuk, sausage, salami and Russian salad too," he said.

Kebabs are a given, but here, they're a bit narrower, served with charred peppers and rice. Juicy beef patties called kefte, are paired with a refreshing salad called piyaz, containing white beans, onions and parsley, plus a healthy dose of sumac. Served alongside: aci ezme, a spicy dip made from tomato paste, spices and crushed walnuts.

Su boregi, sort of a Turkish lasagna layered with cheese, goes great with a glass of ayran, the classic yogurt drink Turks adore. There are also spices and frozen goods to-go, and be sure to save a little room for the homemade baklava, naturally, served with lots of tea or coffee.

"We bring the Turkish coffee machine and Turkish tea machine from Turkey. The copper we use in the copper system; all our teas come from Turkey too," he said.

Now Turkitch has only been in Chicago since March, but it is rapidly expanding, there's already one in the Raffaello hotel in the Gold Coast, then as of a few weeks ago, in the Chicago French Market. The plan is to open at least five more stores pretty soon.

Turkitch Turkish Kitchen
565 W. Diversey Pkwy
773-453-3323

https://www.turkitch.us/
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