At least a dozen local jobs are on the menu at a new Turkish restaurant due to open soon in a Wrexham shopping centre.
A taste of exotic cuisine from the country where East meets West comes to Eagles Meadow when the Turkish Kitchen & Bar begins serving its first diners in mid-September.
Based in a former Chinese buffet and covering a spacious 5,200 square feet on the ground floor of the centre, the new restaurant has been masterminded by Instanbul-born Cevet Mutlu who brings to the launch over 20 years’ experience in all aspects of the business.
Already the owner of a string of four successful Turkish restaurants in the Midlands and South of England, 47-year-old Cev is also a Gordon Ramsay-style “turn-around” expert who gives advice to the owners of other restaurants, cafes and bars on how to improve their businesses – without the swearing, he quickly points out!
Cev said: “Our new restaurant at Eagles Meadow will be of the traditional sort where a waiter takes your order and your food is then served at your table.
“There is plenty of space, so we’ll have places for 220 diners and there will also be an open-plan kitchen where customers can watch their meals being prepared.
“We’ll have a staff of between 15 and 18 and my first priority is to employ local people, which means about 12 of them will be people from the area.
“Later, depending on how well we do at the restaurant, there is a possibility of more jobs being created.
“We’ve just started the recruitment process and for everyone we take on we are offering full training because while someone might have worked in a restaurant before it’s probably not been a Turkish one and they’ll need to familiarise themselves with the way the restaurant works and the food we serve so they can properly advise customers on the menu.”
Cev, who came over from Turkey in 1974, got an early taste of the restaurant business when he started helping his father in the two he owned in the West End of London.
“I started helping out from the age of 13 and developed a real passion for it. When I left school I went straight into the business properly,” he said.
“I then developed my own business and now have Turkish restaurants in Hertford, Hitchen and Woking in the South of England and Peterborough in the Midlands, which are all doing well.
“Apart from this side of things, I’m also a specialist in restaurant projects and refurbishment and act as a consultant for people running places in need of improvement.
“I use my expertise and knowledge of areas like working practices, recruitment, pay, conditions of employment and diversity issues to help them.
“I suppose it’s a little bit like Gordon Ramsay does on his TV programmes but I do it without any of the swearing because this is real life and not make-believe for television.”
He added: “Turkish food is becoming increasingly popular these days. Lots of people associate it with kebabs but our new restaurant will offer much more than that.
“We’ll have an extensive menu featuring hot and cold meze, fish dishes, meats like chicken and lamb prepared on traditional Turkish grill, along with Turkish-style kebabs and pizzas. There will also be a steaks and a range of salads and we’ll have a fully stocked bar.
“We’ve done our research and Eagles Meadow is just the right place for us to be.
“It’s a vibrant centre and already has a number of other big-name restaurants like Pizza Express and Frankie & Benny’s.
“We’ll be encouraging people from the area to try Turkish cuisine, maybe for the first time, so with the right marketing I think the restaurant can be a big success for us.”
Eagles Meadow Centre Manager Kevin Critchley said: “We’re delighted to welcome the new Turkish Kitchen & Bar to the shopping centre which will certainly add to the already extensive variety and diversity of the restaurants we have here.
“It’s also a big bonus that it will be providing solid employment for so many local people.”