Istanbul’s iconic 119-year-old honey-and-cream shop faces eviction
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
The iconic shop at heart of the Beşiktaş neighborhood is run by 92-year-old Pandelli Shestakof, whose grumpiness is as legendary as the taste of his trademark kaymak.One of Istanbul’s oldest businesses and breakfast junky heaven, Pando Kaymak, which specializes in a local type of buttery clotted cream, is losing its struggle against skyrocketing rent prices and faces the threat of eviction.
Located at the heart of Beşiktaş in Istanbul, the small but iconic shop is run by 92-year-old Pandelli Shestakof, whose grumpiness is as legendary as the taste of his trademark kaymak with honey, and has been owned by the family since 1895, the year of its foundation.
Taking advantage of a new law that gives landlords the right to evict any tenant of more than 10 years without any justification, the owner of the shop sent a release form last month with an eviction deadline of Aug. 15.
But as the news, which quickly stirred outcry on social media, “Uncle Pando” can now count on solidarity from all of his loyal customers who are in the habit of stopping by for a delicious breakfast, learning to show some affection to his temperament. Famous people such as the Beşiktaş football team, including Süleyman Seba, Hakkı Yeten and Sabri Ülker, all used to have breakfasts at Pando.
“People feel at home when they come to our place. For instance, when we wanted to put PVC-style frames on the windows, they even resisted that to keep the nostalgic feeling. The reason is they think of us and the place as their home,” Shestakof said.
Born and raised in Beşiktaş, Shestakof admitted to understanding the landlord’s desire to open a restaurant instead of his shop, but added that his only option was to resist.
“Our landlord wants to create a new restaurant and he has the right to want that. However, we can’t create the same atmosphere somewhere else. ‘Pando Kaymak’ is a traditional brand and this brand needs help right now,” he said.
And help he is getting; thanks to social media, where dozens of regulars vowed not to give more ground to greedy chain brands.
Shestakof's lawyer, Berk Çektir, also stressed that more than a shop, Pando Kaymak was a cultural landmark and that the parties would come together one more time to discuss its fate. Meanwhile, the shop’s owner, Emre Marhan, seems to have backpedaled and told culinarybackstreet.com they were not planning on sending a truck for eviction, providing assurances that the situation would be solved amicably.
In recent years, İstiklal Avenue and its environs have lost many iconic shops, such as the İnci Patisserie, Robinson Crusoe bookstore, Rebul Pharmacy and the Emek Cinema as prices increased, doubling in some cases.