There are a lot of great Turkish places in New York City. On Long Island, especially the East End, that’s not the case. A few years ago Turkuaz Grill opened in Riverhead, it’s received great reviews and seems to be leaving every customer happy. I stopped in to speak with the owners to see what they’ve been up to and what their plans are for this summer.
Turkuaz Grill, which is located in the heart of Riverhead, right next door to Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center, is a family-owned restaurant that was founded in 2006. They treat every customer like they’re a part of the family. The restaurant is owned by sisters Deniz Gulsen and Demet Bozatli and Deniz’s husband Mustafa Gulsen. Mustafa was more than willing to sit down and answer a few questions.
Mustafa has a long history in the food business. He was first inspired when he was a manager of a 7-Eleven. In 2001 he opened his first restaurant on Route 58, Sultan’s Kitchen and in 2005 sold it to the Ground Round. He also owned a deli in Flanders, which he eventually sold to his cousin.
Turkuaz Grill has a huge array of Mediterranean and Turkish food ranging from very hot to mild. The most popular item is the gyro. Gulsen notes, “that’s the one that most people are familiar with.”
Some of the other items offered are baby okra with lamb, stuffed cabbage, steamed dumplings, zucchini pancakes and spinach pie. The items will please both vegetarians and carnivores alike. For dessert they have pistachio pudding, rice pudding, almond pudding and more. The kebobs are a big seller. These include: chicken adana kebab, chicken shish kebab, barbecued meatballs, skewered ground meat and braised lamb shank. There are also a few seafood dishes available.
Probably the thing that makes people keep coming back time and time again is the laid back atmosphere and the great staff. The Gulsens do whatever they can to make your meal enjoyable. When it’s not too busy you can see them conversing with customers. They have tables outside which are ideal for the warmer days, offering a beautiful view of the water. There’s plenty of room inside too—great for a party or for going out with the family.
Turkuaz Grill has an active Facebook page. Said Gulsen, “We understand how important social media has become in the day-to-day life of people. We currently have the Facebook page up and running and you can find us on Google. We do have a website that is currently in the works that we hope to soon finish.”
When asked about his plans for the future Gulsen said, “We’re just taking each day at a time, don’t want to rush anything. We may eventually open a place on the South Shore though. We’ll have to see how it goes, it’s not set in stone.”
When you’re in Riverhead and want to try something besides pizza and burgers, give Turkuaz Grill a go. You’ll be able to try delicious food you wouldn’t normally have. With their great customer service and fair, affordable prices, Deniz, Demet and Mustafa will make sure you feel comfortable and like part of the family.
Turkuaz Grill, 40 McDermott Avenue, Riverhead, 631-591-1757.