The word bakery appears in the window of a newly opened Montclair café in four languages: Turkish, English, Greek and Hebrew.
Simit House Bakery & Co. owner and Caldwell resident Ibramhim Yagci copied the idea from a confectionary in his native Istanbul, a city where people of different backgrounds and faiths live in harmony.
“That’s what we yearn for, that notion of a melting pot,” Yagci said recently after preparing a cup of Turkish coffee.
Yagci's café specializes in the simit, a circular bread he calls the “grandfather of the bagel” because the recipe dates back 600 years.
The traditional simit is covered in sesame and also comes in multigrain, almond and seasonal varieties. They can be eaten plain, with jam or with a selection of sides that include butter, cream cheese and Nutella as well as hummus, olive paste and feta.
Other Turkish baked goods include the, pogaca, similar to focaccia, which is stuffed with olive paste, feta, chocolate, raisin and walnuts or almonds, and a case of baklava and cookies, which may sound Greek to you.
“The cultures are infused,” said Yagci. “The Greeks claim the recipes are theirs. We claim that they’re ours.”
American coffee as well as Turkish coffee and tea complement the fresh baked items. Take your drink to go or enjoy them on the premises in porcelain cups.
The coffee is imported and the process for making the finely ground beans has not changed much since the brand was founded in 1871, Yagci said.
The décor is simple and airy in the corner shop with big windows that provide plenty of sunshine. One wall is lined with hand-painted pottery.
Simit serves a few sandwiches for those looking for a heartier meal, and opens early for commuters looking to grab a cup of coffee and a quick bite.
For $3, the breakfast can transport you to cosmopolitan Istanbul, or at least save you the trip to Paterson or New York for an authentic taste of Turkey.
Simit House Bakery & Co.
2 Church St.