Do you remember the first time you smelled a cup of coffee?
Hungry Ghost owner (aka head Ghost) Murat Uyaroglu grew up in Istanbul, Turkey and he can’t recall a time when the aroma of strong Turkish coffee wasn’t wafting through the air. “Cafe culture is an important part of Turkish life,” he told us. “Istanbul is a very cosmopolitan city and people often take the time visit coffee houses, read newspapers, exchange ideas, or simply meet up with friends. I always enjoyed being in a social environment so I naturally gravitated towards getting in to the business.”
After attending university, Murat opened up his first cafe in Kutahya, a small city on the Aegean Sea, famous for its colored tiles and ceramics. This literal Young Turk learned his trade quickly but found he missed the pace of city life. “It was a big adjustment going from a major city like Istanbul to a small town of 150,000 people like Kutahya. I knew I loved running a cafe but I wanted to be a part of a bigger and more diverse community than I could find there. It wasn’t long before I began looking at other opportunities.”
One of those opportunities was a chance to study in the United States,something the young entrepreneur couldn’t resist. It proved to be a fortuitous decision as Murat met his wife, Nora while studying English in the States. The couple lived in Washington, DC and Boston and Murat planned to open a cafe in New Orleans. Unfortunately, Hurricane Katrina derailed those plans and Murat and his wife decided to move to Park Slope, Brooklyn instead. Shortly after moving, he was finally able to realize his dream and return to the business he loved.
Murat purchased Prospect Perk Cafe, a small, existing coffee shop that he transformed in to an intimate cafe with a gathering space for the local community. Knitting nights and other similarly quirky gatherings have given the Perk a special place in the heart of the Prospect Heights/Park Slope community and Murat knew he was one step closer to replicating the cafe culture he grew up with. Along the way, he also became a father (his son Teoman is now 3) and moved with his young family to Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.
As he continued to learn about coffee culture and became a prominent member of the local business community, Murat began to make plans for a larger space. A location where people could linger, events could be hosted, and the smell of coffee could waft through the air just as it had in his childhood.
That dream has now been realized with the opening of Hungry Ghost.
Murat invites you to come in and enjoy good food, great drinks, and friendly service. But most of all he wants you to enjoy the sense of community and make your own memories.
You may not remember where you were when you smelled your first cup of coffee but he promises you’ll always rember the first time you were at Hungry Ghost!