By Erica Marcus
We donâ€™t like to use superlatives here at Feed Me for fear of finding out, after announcing the opening of, say, the first Mauretanian restaurant on Long Island, that there already is one. But Iâ€™m going to go out on a limb here and declare Cafe Timboo the first Turkish restaurant to open inside an LI soccer facility.
A door to the east of the main entrance of SUSA Smithtown soccer academy on Jericho Turnpike is surmounted by a â€śCafe Timbooâ€ť sign, but it hardly prepares you for what lies within, a full-service Turkish menu and, for soccer moms and dads who are not craving Anatolian cuisine, burgers, fries, egg sandwiches, mozzarella sticks.
The cafe isnâ€™t much more than a counter, a grill and a couple of IKEA tables, but there are also tables â€śoutsideâ€ť with a view of the soccer field so you can take in a match or a clinic while you dine. Prices are gentle. Starters (cacik, hummus, eggplant salad, etc.) are all less than $6. Platters (shish kebab, Adana kebab, kofte, chicken chops, liver) all come with rice, salad and pita bread, and none tops $17.
Cafe Timboo offers two items I have never seen on Long Island (though Iâ€™m not going so far as to say that they donâ€™t exist; see above): kokorec, a sort of offal sausage here served in a pressed sandwich ($10.90) and Turkish â€śvillage breakfast,â€ť a spread comprising imported cheese, olives, shepherd salad, tahini, honey, grape molasses, homemade jam, toast and Turkish tea. Itâ€™s $15 and served all day.
The ownersâ€™ story is as every bit as fascinating as the menu. Onder Vatanoglu owned a restaurant in Marmaris, a resort town on Turkeyâ€™s Mediterranean coast. Four years ago, he and his wife, Jade, moved to Long Island to secure a better education for their son, then 6. Jade had run a personal training center in Turkey and she wandered into SUSA to rent space where she could continue her training business. The snack bar space was vacant. Why, she wondered, couldnâ€™t she and her husband run a restaurant there, making healthy food for the kids and their families?
The enterprising Jade has transformed an upstairs space into a party room where she hosts special events. (Details are on the restaurantâ€™s Facebook page).
Cafe Timboo is open from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. most days (hours can vary according to the schedule at SUSA). 905 W. Jericho Tpke., Smithtown, 631-600-3202.