November 5, 2015

Ottoman Taverna is the next Mt. Vernon Triangle restaurant from Hakan Ilhan

Ottoman-Taverna-RenderingOttoman Taverna, a full-service Turkish restaurant from Alba Osteria and Pizza Autentica owner Hakan Ilhan, will be the latest addition to Mount Vernon Triangle when it opens next fall.

We teased news of the Turkish spot earlier this fall, when we reported on another concept Ilhan had planned for the neighborhood, L’Hommage Bistro Francais.

Ottoman Taverna is taking 5,517 square feet next door to Alba in the same building. Miller Walker Retail Real Estate represented the tenant in lease negotiations.

Take into account Alba Osteria, the restaurant Ilhan opened with Chef Roberto Donna at 425 Eye St. NW last year, and by next year Ilhan will have the neighborhood triangulated — get it?? — with three large restaurants serving three completely different cuisines. The restaurateur has been keen on expanding his empire in the neighborhood, he said, because he believes it will be the next one to rise in popularity.

The restaurant will have 200 seats, and approximately 60 on an outdoor patio. Ilhan expects to put more than $2 million into the restaurant, including grills for charcoal and gas and separate ventilation systems to go with them. It will also have a wood-burning oven in an open kitchen.

The menu will feature the traditional Turkish cuisine of his native country, including cold mezze dishes, spit-roasted meats, flatbreads and more. He hopes it will become a destination within D.C. as one of the only authentic Turkish restaurants, pulling clientele from Capitol Hill who have traveled to Turkey, Department of Defense employees who have experienced the cuisine while stationed at the two large U.S. military bases there, and the city’s growing cadre of foodies.

The idea to do a Turkish restaurant had been in the back of his mind since he began opening his chain of Pizza Autentica parlors a decade ago. He admits there’s “something sentimental” about this project.

I just wanted to do justice to Turkish cuisine. Many restaurants here haven’t had the ability to do it,” he said. “I thought to myself… if I can represent my native country to my friends in America, and my daughters, who are very American… for them to be able to experience this with their friends would give me a lot of pleasure.