UPDATE (OCTOBER 2017): I’m sad to report that Melville’s Turkish restaurant has closed. I believe the Mayfair location is still open.
A few months ago, the corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue in Melville was a depressing place. One side housed a tired-looking sushi restaurant that no one seemed to go to and the other side housed the boarded-up remains of a bar called the Dollar Table.
Looking south on 7th Street from the corner of 3rd Avenue.
I would often walk past that corner and bemoan the state of things, especially the abandoned Dollar Table. (If you live in Melville then you probably know the recent history of the Dollar Table. If not, believe me when I say that the Dollar Table was a horrible place and everyone in Melville was happy when it shut down. But the boarded up remains were a depressing reminder of what used to be.) Such a prominent space on 7th Street, totally wasted.
But I’m pleased to report that the corner of 7th and 3rd has received a makeover and is now my favorite place to go in Melville.
Turkish Shawarma & Grill, the newest addition to Melville’s 7th Street.
Turkish Shawarma & Grill, which is now in the space where the sad sushi restaurant used to be, is owned by the same people who own Burhan’s Butchery and Kebab House in Mayfair. I’ve written about Burhan’s before and it’s always been my favorite Turkish restaurant in Joburg. Now Melville has basically got the same restaurant but it’s even better for a couple of reasons: 1) Turkish Shawarma is bigger than Burhan’s, and has outdoor seating. Somehow the food tastes even better in this bigger, brighter space. 2) Turkish Shawarma is in Melville.
Sitting outside Turkish Shawarma & Grill with Ray and our friend George, preparing to eat a mezze platter.
I’ve been to Turkish Shawarma & Grill a couple of times now. Even though the menu is the same as Burhan’s, I’ve discovered several new items that I didn’t notice at the other restaurant — including the iskender, the tava, and several vegetarian options.
Dear Iskender: Where have you been all my life? You make my mouth water with your tender shredded beef, your thick white yogurt, your spicy tomato sauce, and your fried potatoes over a layer of bread. I love you, Iskender. I love you so much.
Vegetarian mezze dishes at the counter inside the restaurant. You can choose any five of these to create a mezze platter — perfect for vegetarians.
The item on the bottom-right is chicken tava, a sizzling platter of grilled chicken and vegetables. You can also order a vegetarian tava.
Turkish Shawarma & Kebab is super affordable, cheerful, and delicious. Plus the owner, Ibrahim, is actually from Istanbul and such a nice guy to talk to. I’m overjoyed that this place is in Melville now. (The Mayfair location is still open as well.)
Directly across the street from Turkish Shawarma & Kebab is the new and improved IT Corner. I’ve also written about the IT Corner before; it used to be located one block north of its current location at the corner of 7th Street and 4th Avenue. But last year the IT Corner moved out of its old spot (making way for the lovely Bread & Roses Café and Bistro) and reopened a couple of months ago at the corner of 7th and 4th.
Kader (right), longtime owner of the IT Corner, with his wife, Mahassen, and their cute new baby girl, Maram, in front of the new IT Corner. Well done to Kader for turning this formerly dreadful place into a happy place.
The IT Corner is the same as before but with a bit more space for customers and a lot more space for the kitchen, allowing for a wider variety of menu items. My favorites — the Moroccan mint tea and the Mediterranean burger — are still on the menu.
The best mint tea in town. Kader is from Algeria, which explains the menu’s North African and Mediterranean influences.
IT Corner’s Mediterranean burger. I love the spices cooked into the meat.
The new IT Corner interior.
I’ve tested out the wifi at the new IT Corner and found it quite fast. Best of all, Kader is now partnering with Ibrahim across the street and you can order off of the Turkish Shawarma menu from the IT Corner. While working at the IT Corner last week, I ordered my own lunch off the IT Corner menu and then ordered an Iskender takeaway from Turkish Shawarma for Ray. Brilliant.
So there you have it: The new and improved corner of 7th and 3rd is open and ready for business. Go soon before the rest of the world catches on.