Istanbul breakfast junkies’ 119-year-old shrine loses battle against gentrification

Istanbul breakfast junkies’ 119-year-old shrine loses battle against gentrification

Istanbul breakfast junkies’ 119-year-old shrine loses battle against gentrification

This cute little shop, in activity since 1895, is the new victim of Istanbul's rampant gentrification.

Pando Kaymak, the iconic breakfast shop in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş neighborhood, with the fame of its buttery clotted cream and honey transmitted generation to generation, is now closing its doors after 119 years of activity.

The increasing gentrification in Istanbul’s center succeeded at what the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the World Wars, the troubled years of political or economic crises didn’t as the shop’s owners have given up their battle against the hike of real estate prices despite receiving massive public support.

92-year-old Pandelli Shestakof and his wife Döne, who have run the shop since bygones, have said they are not able to fight against the landlord's eviction order anymore due to their age.

“The landlord came yesterday after the campaigns of support organized for the shop and told us not to ‘create trouble.’ So they are forcing us to rest and we won’t say anything because of our age,” Döne Shestakof told Hürriyet on Aug. 22. They were told to close the shop before Aug. 25, she added.

More than a simple shop, Pando Kaymak was a cultural landmark with its typical blue front color, old windows, modest tables, small chairs and delicious kaymak. “Uncle” Pando himself was a legend of his own, as his gracious grumpiness became as popular as his food. Asked about the shop’s success, Pando Shestakof explained the number of regulars by the store’s ability to give a familiar feeling to its clients.

Pando Kaymak will now become part of the long history that it witnessed, but its case is not unique. Gentrification in Istanbul has accelerated in recent months, particularly after a new law giving landlords the right to evict tenants of more than 10 years without any justification. The new regulation has given the opportunity to landlords to seek more gains without legal scruples by imposing to their tenant exorbitant prices, only affordable to chain brands.

Pressure on shop owners on Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue is also increasing, with owners reportedly asking double the rent to their tenants. Other iconic shops like Emek Movie Theatre, Robinson Crusoe bookstore, Rebul pharmacy, İnci Patisserie have also become the victims of gentrification, with others in line.