Chevy Chase Eatery offers the best of Italy & the Mediterranean
Located among a row of established local businesses on Romany Road, The Bridge Eatery & Bar (jointly owned by Gokhan Kargi and Bayram Vatansever) is one of Chevy Chase’s newest dining establishments – offering a fresh mix of traditional Greek and Turkish cuisine along with classic, made-from-scratch pizza.
Gokhan Kargi and his wife Mine moved to Lexington from Istanbul Turkey two years ago. Gokhan worked as a civil engineer in Istanbul, where had the opportunity to build and design several hotels and restaurants, including Nusr-Et, the original restaurant of celebrity chef and butcher, Nusret (known as “salt bae” on social media). “During those years,” he said, “I worked with many different chefs to design their kitchens, and so it became a dream of mine to run a restaurant when I retired.”
The Bridge is located in the building that most recently housed Fit yoga/pilates studio. The two-story building was completely renovated and is decorated in warm earth tones, punctuated with colorful art from Turkey and a shimmering accent wall made of illuminated tile.
The name The Bridge, Gokhan explained, has multiple meanings. Bayram Vatansever opened The Bridge Pizza on Waller Avenue in 2012. The two became partners in early 2017, and decided to open another restaurant –one that would combine pizza with other Mediterranean dishes. The current menu “bridges” the gap between different countries and cuisines. Plus, as he pointed out, Turkey itself is a bridge between Europe and Asia.
The Kargis are very proud of the fact that everything at The Bridge is made from scratch, using the best quality ingredients possible. One of the traditional Turkish menu items gaining popularity is Lahmacun, which is similar to pizza, except it is topped with minced beef and lamb which has been mixed with fresh, chopped parsley and onions. This mixture is spread over a very thin dough and baked in a brick oven.
Saksuka, an appetizer made from braised eggplant cooked with tomatoes and onions, and served with fresh, warm garlic bread for dipping, is popular as well.
But perhaps what the Kargis recommend most is a dessert known as Kunefe. Unavailable anywhere else in Lexington, this pastry is made from ultra-thin shredded dough known as “kadayıf” served with a very mild, sweet cheese in the center. The dessert is served drizzled with warm syrup. “This is one of our favorites,” said Mine. The Bridge’s Mediterranean chef, Yasar Aydin, is a pastry chef by trade, which comes as no surprise, given the delicate texture of the Kunefe.
Gokhan also mentioned that whether guests are looking for a quick slice of pizza or a leisurely meal with friends, both can be found at The Bridge. The restaurant also offers Sunday Brunch and delivery.
The couple said they searched for a long time to find a location that was perfect for their business. Eventually, they chose Chevy Chase because of its close-knit nature. “We want to share the property, our food, everything –with our neighbors,” said Gokhan. “Many other businesses in this area have been around for thirty or forty years. It’s nice to be a part of this neighborhood and we are really trying to do that.”
Q & A with owner Gokhan Kargi
Are you from Lexington? If not, where?
We moved to Lexington almost two years ago. We are originally from Istanbul, Turkey.
How did you get started in the restaurant industry?
I am originally a civil engineer. My career brought several opportunities for me to become an expert in constructing and designing different sizes of hospitality properties.
The Bridge Eatery & Bar is a family business. What advice do you have for working day-to-day-with family?
Set each member’s roles and responsibilities and never try to jump in each other’s area of responsibility.
If you were eating at The Bridge, what would you order?
I would start with Patty’s (our Bar Manager’s) special New York Sour. My following order would be the Adana Kebap and closing would certainly be Kunefe!
Last thing you cooked for yourself at home?
I normally do not cook! My wife recently cooked a delicious salmon casserole and salad for some friends.
Favorite food from your childhood?
My grandmom’s delicious meat and spinach Boreks and lentil veggie balls.
Last restaurant where you dined?
I recently celebrated my birthday at World of Beer.
Favorite meat and way to prepare it?
Iskender (Gyros). I like it prepared with the best quality meat, butter, tomato paste, and of course, Turkish yogurt.
Quote you live by?
Success is bringing together the structures that fit best, and happiness is to watch them move in harmony.
The Bridge's Red Lentil Soup
Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 40 minutes
9oz red lentils, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot grated
1 medium potato, peeled and grated
1.5 liter hot water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra wedge of lemon, paprika
flakes and croutons to serve
Put the olive oil, lentils, onion, carrot, potato and hot water in a large pan. Bring to boil for about 35 minutes or until the lentils and the vegetables are cooked. Stir occasionally to ensure the lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Once cooked, add butter and red pepper flakes. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to your taste, stir well. Serve hot with a wedge of lemon. Garnish with croutons and red pepper flakes.
The Bridge Eatery & Bar
342 Romany Rd., Lexington, KY, 40502
(859) 554-5656 | TheBridgeEatery.com
Open Monday through Sunday:
Dine In: 11am to 12am | Delivery: 12pm to 10pm