A café on Ramsgate seafront that found itself competing with Wetherspoon breakfasts has been transformed into a Turkish restaurant.
Custom House Turkish Cuisine, which opened last Friday, is run by husband and wife Hasan and Filiz Yener.
The couple had been operating the venue as a café for more than five years but decided to change course when the Royal Victoria Pavilion was opened by Wetherspoon last Summer.
The interior has now been transformed with artwork from Turkey – with each piece representing a tale – and a redesign of the garden has created a ‘hidden gem’ away from the bustle of the sea front.
The parents-of-two say everything will be homemade and freshly cooked with a range of mezes, authentic dishes and a good choice of vegetarian meals. They will also continue to offer breakfasts – from English to a Mediterranean platter – and have introduce a Turkish express lunch menu.
Hasan, known as Seamus, has lived in Thanet for 29 years. He first came to England as a Kurdish refugee, fleeing repression by the then military junta in Turkey.
He is also well known in Thanet as a cab driver.
Hasan said the business needed to adapt to survive.
He said: “When Wetherspoon opened it took our café trade so we have had a change.
“We come from Turkey and Turkish food is our speciality, so we decided to change to Turkish cuisine.”
Filiz added: “We will also be doing five or six events each year, festivals with Turkish red and white wines.”
The couple, who also opened Edessa restaurant in Sandwich in January, are helped by family and staff who previously worked at the café.
The interior and garden were designed by Filiz and they say they are offering a “quiet” place to chill out.
Hasan said: “People can come and find a quiet corner to have a rest and chill out in the restaurant or in our hidden gem garden.
“Customers can enjoy fresh, homemade food, nothing is microwaved.”
The menu offers a range of hot and cold mezes, authentic dishes such as moussaka and kleftiko, fresh fish, vegetarian dishes as well as a ‘light bites’ option.
Custom House Turkish Cuisine is open Monday-Sunday, 8.30am until 11pm. Express lunches are available from Noon-3pm.