The first time I visited Turquaz, a Turkish restaurant on International Drive, it was a Friday night, somewhere around 8 o’clock, and the place was empty. It was open for business, but eerily quiet.
The second time I visited was at lunchtime, and the number of patrons had doubled: A single woman sat on the patio working on a laptop and smoking a hookah. I had the dining room all to myself for the duration of my meal.
I had a lunch special of Lamb Adana that featured ground lamb seasoned with red bell peppers and fashioned into long strips for skewering and grilling, sort of like a long, skinny lamburger. It was served on rice accompanied by a small stack of greens that was probably meant to be a salad, some onions and some tzatziki sauce. At $9.95 it was a bit more than half the dinner price. Both might be considered pricey.
No more so than the Red Lentil Soup at $5.50. Well seasoned and spicy, nice with the accompanying pita wedges (which came in handy with the lamburger) but just not worth the price.
Maybe it’s the pricing that is keeping people away. Maybe it’s the cold, unwelcoming atmosphere.
Whatever. If I had an empty restaurant I’d find out why people weren’t coming in and I’d do my best to fix it.
Turquaz is at 5648 International Drive, Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-413-5350.