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  • Hoboken Girl{s} of the Week: The Esendemir Sisters of Flatbread Grill

    It all started with a dream — and a bad corporate work situation. In the early 2000s, Hoboken native Fusun Esendemir was taking too many days off {according to the engineering company she was working for} because her parents were really sick — and she was helping to care for them. She decided that she wanted to open up a restaurant to be able to afford health insurance for her parents and support her family using her knowledge and love of Turkish food. And so began the journey to the three Esendemir sisters creating Flatbread Grill.

    esendemir-sisters-hoboken-girl-of-the-week

    Fusun’s parents weren’t strangers to the restaurant business themselves; her father had left behind a life of poverty to come here to pursue the American dream, and he actually had one of the first Middle Eastern restaurants in Hoboken decades ago. With all of his knowledge of the restaurant business and how hard it could be, Fusun’s father was against her desire to create a new eatery, but Fusun persevered and got her two sisters, Arzu and Gonca, involved. Before they know it, they had leased a space in Upper Montclair and were drawing up design ideas and building a menu. The ladies opened the doors to the first Flatbread Grill location on March 13, 2008 and within two weeks, an editor from the New York Times had a meal there and wrote a fantastic review about his experience. There was no turning back from there — their brand had been born. Now, the ladies are coming up to their one-year-anniversary at their Hoboken location {517 Washington Street}, which is also their home town.

    flatbread-grill-esendimir-sisters-hoboken 

    Now, Flatbread Grill is known as a fast casual Mediterranean restaurant that features gourmet salads, flat top platters, and sandwiches — all paired with specialty flatbreads baked freshly on premises. Of course we had to ask the sisters our HG of the Week questions — and they answered as a group {clearly sisters that hang together and work together have similar tastes!}. Here they are:

    What is your favorite restaurant in Hoboken?

    So many great restaurants to choose from! We’ve been recently frequenting Del Frisco’s Grille and House Of Que quite often. We’ve also been eating at Sri Thai for years now.

    Hoboken Girl Del Frisco's

    What is your favorite boutique in Hoboken?

    Aaraa Accessories — we used to window shop at Neeta’s store when we were younger and have always been fascinated with how beautiful everything is.

    aaraa hoboken girl evj wedding co event

    What is your favorite thing to do in Hoboken?

    Shop!

    How long have you lived in Hoboken?

    We were born and raised here, so it’s been over 3 decades! We also worked around town in high school and college.

    What is your favorite outdoor place to spend time in Hoboken?

    Pier A — beautiful views and lots of things happening at all times of the day.

    Pier-A-yoga

    What is your favorite place to workout in Hoboken?

    Crunch Gym.

    Where do you go out with friends in Hoboken?

    Pier 13 when it’s in season.

    So back to business. you obviously can’t all handle each part of Flatbread Grill. Who is responsible for what?

    Fusun is responsible for the finances, Gonca is responsible for marketing initiatives, and Arzu is responsible for operational initiatives. All three of us don’t work on the line together as much anymore, however, when we did work on the line together when we opened our first store in Upper Montclair, it was challenging and fun. Challenging because we all have very different personalities — and fun because well we are best friends.

    esendemir-sisters-hoboken

    What is your favorite dish you serve and why?

    Our platters are great because you can customize your own, and it was an original creation inspired by traditional Turkish food. Through the platters, we are able to make traditional Turkish food accessible to people from all walks of life, even if they don’t know what Turkish food is, while still remaining true to our culture. We are also proud of the fresh bread we serve. Our Thumb Bread® is an original recipe created by us and inspired by traditional Turkish pide {bread}.

    For readers that haven’t been yet, what is one must-try item?

    You must try the Favorite Flat-Top Platter {and if you’re vegetarian, you can switch out the chicken for falafel}.

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    What is something you think needs to come to Hoboken?

    Shake Shack needs to get here ASAP! {Editor’s note: Have you tried Schnackenbergs!?}

    As ladies who grew up in Hoboken, what do you think of the changes that have come to town over the last few decades?

    We’ve had the pleasure of watching Hoboken evolve over the years. It transformed from a quiet town with only a few places to eat and empty streets with LOTS of parking spaces — to a beautiful, walkable town with so many thriving businesses, lots of places to eat and shop, and new faces and families coming in every minute. Oh, and we used to able to go inside Carlo’s Bakery and get a cheese danish and coffee before school without fighting through lines of tourists.

    And even if you have lived here for a while, that’s not something everyone can say. Those Cake Boss lines don’t quit! Such an inspirational story of three OG Hoboken girls chasing their dreams — and we are thrilled to get the chance to share about these enterprising sisters. Now, it’s time to order some delivery!

    Want to be featured as Hoboken Girl of the Week? Email us at hello@hobokengirl.com and share your {or a HG-of-the-week-worthy girl’s} story. xo


    Written by:

    By day, Tamara is an editor at a women’s magazine, but in her free time, she runs her own fashion blog and helps out with Hoboken Girl. Otherwise, you can catch her ‘gramming like it’s her job, checking out the cutest spots to eat and drink and redeeming herself at spin class later. Oh, and if you’re curious about Kylie Lip Kits, she’ll happily show you her collection.


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