Mercer County Chamber of Commerce members Art Cianfano and Joseph R. Ridolfi, chef Kadir Bolat, Mayor Douglas H. Palmer, restaurant owner Deborah Newman, Trenton Downtown Association Executive Director Taneshia Nash Laird, and Deborah’s granddaughter Destiny Abrahams celebrated the opening of the Trenton Kebab House April 15, 2009. (Staff photo by Diccon Hyatt.)
Mercer County Chamber of Commerce members Art Cianfano and Joseph R. Ridolfi, chef Kadir Bolat, Mayor Douglas H. Palmer, restaurant owner Deborah Newman, Trenton Downtown Association Executive Director Taneshia Nash Laird, and Deborah’s granddaughter Destiny Abrahams celebrated the opening of the Trenton Kebab House April 15, 2009. (Staff photo by Diccon Hyatt.)

“Try it. You’ll like it.”

That’s the message Deborah Newman has for anyone in Trenton who has never eaten kebabs or Turkish food in general.

“Once we get the word out, I think we’ll be very busy,” said Newman, who along with partner Kadir Bolat, owns the newly opened Trenton Kebab House at 226 E. State St.

A kebab, grilled beef, chicken or lamb on a skewer, is the basic dish offered at the 24-seat restaurant, and runs about $12. Kebabs come on a bed of rice, and can include different sauces and yogurt on the side.

The basic lunch dish is a $6 Gyro sandwich, familiar to fans of Greek food with its grilled meat, cucumber sauce and pita bread.

The food at the Kebab House is made by Bolat, a Turkish immigrant who used to run a kebab restaurant in Lincolnshire, U.K. He’s assisted in the kitchen by two Turkish cooks.

“This is good food,” Bolat said. “Everything is right off the grill, freshly made.”

Other menu items include baklavah (a rich dessert pastry) and a red lentil soup that Newman said has been very popular so far.

Bolat said there were regular customers already only five weeks into the restaurant’s existence, though they’ve had to overcome a certain fear of the unknown that prevails among some diners.

“A lot of them don’t even know what Turkish food is,” Bolat said.

The U.S. is behind Europe in its appreciation of Turkish food. Bolat said Turkish restaurants are quite common in England, and he and Newman hope that will soon be the case in Trenton.

Office workers from Europe working in Trenton have been quick to appreciate the kebab house, Newman said.

She said there is also a built-in clientele of Turkish immigrants in the area, Newman said.

Newman said word was beginning to spread in the warren of government office buildings in downtown Trenton that a tasty meal can be had at the Kebab House.

However, the restaurant doesn’t exist only for the benefit of state workers. It’s open for dinner too, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The Trenton Kebab house takes major credit cards. For more information, go online to trentonkebabhouse.com or call (609) 278-0037.

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Diccon Hyatt is business editor of U.S. 1. He has worked for Community News since 2006 and was previously community editor of the Ewing Observer, the Hopewell Express, the Lawrence Gazette, and the Trenton Downtowner. From 2003 to 2006, he was a general assignment reporter for the Middletown Transcript in Middletown, Delaware. In 2002, he graduated from the University of Delaware, where he was features editor of the student newspaper, The Review. He has won numerous awards from the Maryland-Delaware D.C. Press Association and the Association of Free Community Newspapers for features, news, and opinion writing. He is married and lives in Marlton, NJ.