Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | May 25, 2011

Molly’s Cafe: Another moving experience

I am famous in Galata for moving. In the 10 years I have lived here, I have lived in 6 places, though in two of them I lived for 3 years or more. Now I am getting famous for moving my café.

My first place was very small– 45 sq meters. It had a tiny kitchen and one bathroom. I had a couple of tables and a sitting area. The city insisted on my having two bathrooms, which was really not feasible. Also, the building itself was not very solid. For a year I had looked at the place across the street thinking I would not like it. However, when I got ready to move the café, there were no other options and the café was ready to move into. So I moved into it. It is a very cute place and it has been good. However, people often say that they have walked by here a zillion times and not noticed it, mostly because the loud music from the people in my old café pulls the attention of the passersby. Also, you have to enter the building to enter the café.

There has been a place for rent up the street for a few months. I asked a realtor friend about it and he said it would not suit me. However, I went up and looked at it and it does indeed suit me. The door is right on the street and people walking up Camekan Sokak would walk right into it. Also, there is a huge ‘garden’ (as Turks call it– it is really a long place that has been filled with concrete). For summer season outside seating is very important, so it will serve me well. Also, you can look up to part of the square and people in front of the market and one restaurant will be able to see the sign that I will put up.

The landlord suggested I make a place to live there (he pointed out a place right in the middle– I don’t think so!). I had also had that idea, but I really don’t want to live in the café 24/7. Plus at home I can see big sky, some sea, and all the way across to Asia.

So, here I go! I am totally stressed at the moment, as the rent is high and the landlord is difficult. I had a crew of Sri Lankans do the painting, which first involved digging out those plastic things for screws– hundreds of them– and then plastering over those holes and all the other irregular places. It had been a sign making shop for years and was pretty beat up. The floor is stone tile which is now splattered with all sorts of colours and has generally been abused. There was a basic kitchen under the building stairs with about 2 cm clearance above my head– good for little people but not for me. So I called my plumber and he has got piping ready for my new open kitchen. The carpenter says he will be ready on Friday. The electrician will be ready just in time, I hope.

The place is huge (four times the size of the current café), so I am subletting some space to a couple of shops. So far one part is rented to my friend Elif, who has a shop that sells bath textiles and soaps, but in my place she will sell kitchen textiles and perhaps spices. I like Elif a lot and I am sure it will be great to have her presence there. Some other people have expressed interest, but so far no show of money.

As I tell regular customers that I am moving the café, they express their worry that it will change. I went through this when I moved the café the first time. It will be the same style in a different place. I hope that the random conversations will continue and I expect people will feel comfortable, as they do now.

I plan on opening by next weekend (June4). It will be a work in progress for a while, but it will be comfortable and nice. Come and visit soon and spend lots of money!



  1. What an exciting time for you. I hope to come eat at your cafe soon.

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