Lale Pide & Kebab in Avanos is a CaptivatingCappadocia.com recommended Cappadocia restaurant (click here to see that post). Today you get to learn about the hard working family that runs it.
From the outside Lale Pide & Kebap Salonu looks like the average run-of-the-mill Turkish eatery. You’ll find the same things on the menu as anywhere else: chicken shish-ka-bob, pide (Turkish pizza), soup. But on the inside works a fascinating family which makes Lale anything but run-of-the-mill.
Left to Right: Ahmet, Nasuh, Ender, Mustafa, Zubeyde, Buket
Mustafa İyilikli was born and raised in Nevşehir. He began working when he was 11 years old. ELEVEN YEARS OLD! He did not like school so he went to work making bread for a local baker. For five or six years he apprenticed in hopes of opening his own bakery someday.
After fulfilling his obligatory military service Mustafa opened his own business in Nevşehir. There he started work at 11pm and finished at 3pm the next day – 16 hour days! He worked hard and feels like he missed his kids’ growing up years.
Through a series of unfortunate events he had to close his shop. Married with three young children he found himself smack dab in the middle of a crisis. It took him several years to battle through the depression of having seen his dream crumble.
Despite life’s difficulties, he is still able to greet you with a genuine smile, showing his resilience to the challenges he has faced. After he gathered himself from his business closure, he moved to a little two table pide bakery in Avanos. For eight years he was able to make enough to provide for his family and save for another dream.
Today, Mustafa, with his salt and pepper hair, and strong glance, has a very successful business. He moved from his old bakery to Lale Kebap. He was well known in town for his pide but as his clientele continued to grow, they asked for kebaps and soups, etc. So after a year he remodeled the shop and put in a grill and is now a full service restaurant.
Mustafa’s last name, İyilikli fits him well. It means “full of goodness” or “with goodness”. He learned from his long days at the bakery in Nevşehir that it was not good to be away from his children. But at the same time he had to work hard to make a living. His desire to be with his family led him to ask his children if they wanted to work with him. His first son chose to go to school and has become successful. His second son chose to go to work for Mustafa and is now a master baker after ten years. His youngest son chose to go to school but, like his father, did not like it and has chosen to follow in his father’s footsteps. Mustafa, “full of goodness”, is giving his sons an opportunity at a better life than he had.
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