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Apr 26
A Workers’ Lunchtime Paradise Lost

Now-closed Tunçlar Lokantası, photo by Elizabeth Ganley-Roper
In the realm of Turkey’s small businesses, the esnaf lokantası (tradesmen’s restaurant) hovers above everything like a uniting holy spirit. A good one certainly is divine in nature. Take just about any old esnaf lokantası, and you’re sure to encounter a community that only exists at that particular spot on earth.

At Tunçlar Lokantası, not far from Istanbul’s downtown area of Taksim Square, the workers from the small shops on Cumhuriyet Caddesi would share tables with the bureaucrats from TRT Radio. At the next table, an old locksmith from the streets off of Elmadağ Caddesi might share a loaf of bread with an independent bookkeeper who was still around thanks to paying stabilized rent in a charitable foundation-owned building. For all of the people who crowded the room on a regular basis, Tunçlar was the center of their Venn diagram, the point at which disparate lives overlapped for some good, honest home cooking.

The rest of this news story can be found on, here.

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