Adem Yılmaz is the owner of Turkish cafe/restaurant on Watergate row
1. How are you? Currently feeling a bit dejected about all of the issues going on around the world – but also trying to keep positive and enjoy living in the moment!
2. What’s new at Pars Kahve? We’re coming up to our one year anniversary, which is exciting. We’re currently planning our celebration and thinking about how we can take things to the next level in our second year of trading.
3. Tell us about your background and why you brought your business to Chester. I was born and lived in Istanbul, where I eventually met my wife Holly. We lived there together for 4 years before moving over to the UK. We thought we would settle in Manchester but after visiting both places we decided that Chester suited us better! Holly grew up in North Wales and has family in the area so it seemed like a good place to put down roots. It was also encouraging to see so many independent businesses thriving in Chester – which gave us confidence that our own would be a success.
4. What do you know about the history of your building? The main thing people comment on is how they remember the shop being Blake’s Bakery. We have the old bread oven as a great feature and we also found their original green tiles which had been covered up with plasterboard for quite a few years.
5. How much have you been affected by the ongoing building work? As the rows were closed only 2 weeks after we opened it’s hard to tell exactly how much we have been affected – but we imagine we would have had an easier time if they had stayed open. Starting any new business is hard so we just tried to see it as another hurdle to overcome. We’ve had great support from the Chester community and feel very positive about our first year.
6. Favourite place to visit in Chester? We love going to the meadows – one of the best things for us about Chester is how easy it is to get into green spaces. Since getting our dog we’re over there a lot and really enjoy the views of the river and city.
7. What do you think Chester does well?As a new, small business we obviously love how much the city embraces and supports independents! It’s easy to get around and has a great mix of things to do.
8. How would you improve Chester if you could? It would be great to see some more of the empty units occupied. Some free parking areas on week days would also be good to encourage people into the centre.
9. Do you have any speciality dishes? We try to keep all of our dishes as authentic as possible – but fan favourites are definitely our mezze plate, Turkish delight cake and menengic pistachio coffee.
10. How have you coped with the trials of the last 2 years? We opened just after the final lockdown lifted so have only ever had to deal with minor restrictions. We’ve been lucky. During the lockdowns we were very impressed with how the Chester independents were adapting and coping with the constant changes.
11. If you could time travel, where/when would you go? I would travel back to 1923 and meet with Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to talk with him about his thoughts for the future – just before he established the Republic of Turkey.
12. Which person living or dead would you take for an independent coffee or drink? My neighbour and friend, Rahmi, who died when I was 19 – he was only 37. He was like a big brother to me and I would love to be able to see and talk to him one more time.
13. What was the last film you saw and was it any good? I watched ‘Legend’ with Tom Hardy on the plane to Turkey – it’s definitely worth a watch.
14. Who or what inspired you in your life? Again, kind of a personal answer, but my grandfather has been my biggest inspiration – he was a well educated, hard working, family-orientated man with a very charismatic personality. I often think about the way that he lived his life and it always gives me motivation to improve myself.
15. What would you sing on karaoke night? Never done it and never will
16. What else do you feel could be done to regenerate the rows? The cleaning and painting work that happened earlier this year has actually made a big difference and made everything feel much fresher. The lighting could definitely be improved and it would be great if the ‘deep cleaning’ of the walkways and rows could become a more regular thing, as it does make such a difference.
17. What are some of your favourite places to eat and drink in Chester? There are a lot – but for food I would have to say Porta and the Market (especially Guroma, Crustum & Pastry Pedaleur) and for drinks Moss Coffee, Liquor & Co and Alexander’s Live.
18. Name a famous person you have met. I haven’t met any famous people since I moved to the UK but while I was at a wedding in Turkey I met the lead singer of Duman, Kaan Tangoze
.19. What do you do to relax? My favourite thing to do is scuba diving – so I will head to the sea whenever I get the chance. It was a bit easier to do that while living in Turkey but we’ve visited some beautiful places while I’ve been in the UK too.
20. How you feel about the future? I’m always hopeful – we have a lot of plans for Pars Kahve and our personal life. We’re looking forward to our years ahead in this beautiful city.