Near the Jefferson L in Bushwick, you can find plenty of big and/or glitzy bars and venues. There’s the ubiquitous House of Yes, burlesque troupe Company XIV’s new-ish theater, party spot Lot 45, and scores of other watering holes of every shape and size. But until now, there hasn’t been anything quite like The Turk’s Inn. Opening this Thursday, the two-level supper club, which also encompasses a separate music venue and kebab shop, is a replica of a shuttered Wisconsin institution of the same name.
Why would you bring a Midwestern supper club to Bushwick? Nostalgia can be a hell of a drug; Varun Kataria and Tyler Erickson, owners of the Bushwick Turk’s Inn, grew up loving the original restaurant in Hayward, Wisconsin, which offered lengthy, over-the-top dining experiences to both everyday Wisconsinites and fancier clientele like John F. Kennedy. Founded in 1934 by an Armenian immigrant named George Gogian, it closed in 2014 after the last member of the family passed away, prompting the entrepreneurial duo to revive the cherished eatery.
Also, it’s quite fun to look at. When the original Turk’s closed, Kataria and Erickson bought many components of its decor in an auction, including its original bar (dating back to the 1940s and designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright) and neon sign, because everyone loves a neon sign. The walls and floors are impossibly red, there are tchotchkes as far as the eye can see, and the rooftop (where you can sip frozen drinks) is stuffed with plants. Even the outside facade is something to behold.
And yes, spaces that are fun to look at usually mean they get Instagrammed. The rise of the Instagrammable cultural experience has been well-documented as of late, and The Turk’s Inn is certainly not immune to this trend. In 2017, Kataria told The Verge that in designing the space, they considered “how we can capture the essence of our experience within the square frame of Instagram specifically.”
The Turk’s Inn isn’t just an aesthetic feast; you can eat actual food there, too. Executive chef Alberto Carballo, who has previously cooked at Boqueria and Claudette, will be serving up dishes like lamb meatballs with yogurt and mint, moussaka, pork chops, and olive and feta salad.
That’s not all—behind the main supper club lies The Sultan Room, a music venue that sheds the main room’s busy vibe in favor of a wall of moody lights. The Sultan Room had its first show this past Saturday—a night of electronic music and DJ sets featuring Amanda Blank, Eli Escobar, and others—and has quite a stuffed calendar for the summer. Programming at The Sultan Room will include DJ sets and live bands alike, plus dance parties and recurring events like Batterie, a “drummer-curated series.”
And for those who don’t want to immerse themselves in two levels of glorious Midwestern-Turkish kitsch (hey, sometimes you’re tired), you can still grab a bite to eat at their adjoining takeout window, where you’ll find doner kebab—a Turkish meat-stuffed sandwich similar to a gyro or shawarma, though Turk’s will be offering halloumi and seitan versions for non meat-eaters.
The Turk’s Inn, located at 234 Starr Street in Bushwick, is opening on Thursday, June 27.