Café Divan, a Neighborhood Favorite
By May 11, 2022 0 317•
Situated prominently on the triangular corner of 34th Street and Wisconsin Avenue NW is the popular Turkish restaurant Café Divan, owned by Cavit Ozturk, along with its latest addition, the Janti Café, owned by Sercan Ozturk, his son.
Years ago, intrigued by the unusual corner property, Ozturk inquired if it might be for sale. After a long period of negotiations, he was able to buy it in 2001 and found a well-known architect to design a very smart-looking building
This neighborhood restaurant offers a relaxed and informal atmosphere as guests are warmly welcomed by a staff which is around 20 percent Turkish. Ozturk’s wife Ime is often there with her brother, the chef. It is, in a real sense, “a family affair.”
Ozturk’s family has been in the restaurant business for generations. His grandfather was a prominent chef in Istanbul and his brother is also a chef. Ozturk says with pride that he started in the restaurant business when he was just 11 years old, as a busboy. Not surprisingly, he comes from Bolu, a small town in Turkey known for producing many chefs.
Janti Café, owned and managed by his son Sercan, offers coffees and teas along with freshly baked Turkish pastries, a favorite being simit which resembles a bagel. Upstairs is a Turkish grocery store.
We once brought a visiting friend to dine at Café Divan. Looking around, he remarked that it reminded him of one of his favorite Turkish restaurants in London. Ozturk, who was standing nearby, piped up, “That was my restaurant.” In fact, he owned this restaurant, called Chez Nous, in the early 1980s.
Asked what was the most popular dish at the restaurant, Ozturk said about half of the customers always choose the doner kebab. Divan is also noted for other kebabs, such as shrimp, lamb, beef, and chicken.
Sundays for brunch are particularly lively as many customers come from the bustling Georgetown flea market right across the street.
Delicious Turkish food, good service and a very warm welcome are the signature qualities of this neighborhood restaurant.