Having worked for many years at the U.S. Embassy in Turkey, Bill* missed the hospitality and generosity of the Turkish people. In his search for that welcoming atmosphere where food and friends coalesce, he discovered and frequented Rudy’s Mediterranean Grill & Bar, the first Turkish restaurant in Columbia. There he developed a friendship with co-owner Dilek Keskin and enjoyed the fresh, homemade dishes prepared daily.
She fondly described his kindness and generosity, the many family members and friends he introduced to Rudy’s when they visited him and his ability to speak six languages. At the age of 79, he passed away and the restaurant closed for his funeral dinner. Around 150 people gathered to tell stories about him, partake of authentic Turkish dishes and celebrate his life.“When people come here, I want them to feel like they are going to a friend’s house,” Dilek said.
“This is my home. My customers are not my customers. They are my guests.”
Visiting and sharing with neighbors, family and friends are deeply rooted in the Turkish culture, said Dilek, who was born in Turkey and moved with her husband, Rustem known as “Rudy,” to the United States more than 15 years ago. And she has been graciously welcoming her guests to Rudy’s since it opened seven years ago. She and her husband and co-owner decided to open this restaurant after Rudy had worked at the Double “T” Diner across from the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center on Route 40 in Ellicott City for about 10 years.
“Many people liked him when he worked at the Double ‘T’ Diner, and he wanted to let them know where he was going, so he named the restaurant after himself,” said Dilek, who now runs Rudy’s while her husband operates the newly purchased Jimmy’s Restaurant in Fells Point, which is known for its clientele of political officials and celebrities.
Rudy’s menu includes authentic Turkish and Mediterranean dishes as well as some familiar American favorites for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The selection on its breakfast menu, which is served until
2 p.m. daily, ranges from omelets, grits and English muffins to its special Turkish breakfast, which includes fresh jellies and feta cheese.
Among the more authentic
dishes on the lunch and dinner menus are its chicken, beef and lamb kebabs; fresh whole fish; lahmacun, which is thin hand-tossed dough with toppings; and baklava, which is made with walnuts and sugar mixed with lemon.With the fresh dishes and welcoming environment, everyone leaves Rudy’s looking forward to their next visit.
Rudy’s Mediterranean Grill & Bar is located at 7185 Columbia Gateway Drive. For more information, visit rmgrill.com and its Facebook page.
*Editor’s note: Only a first name was permitted to be published in this article.
Signature Dish – Incik Kebab
This fresh braised lamb shank covered in a sauce with peppers is served with rice and fresh salad.
Signature Drink – Old Fashioned Turk
This drink consists of Knob Creek Single Barrel Bourbon and muddled orange, Turkish cherry and fig bitters.
Signature Soup – Red Lentil Soup
Served in a cup or bowl, this soup is made with Mediterranean spices and accented with a dash of paprika.
by Therese Umerlik | Editor