Turkey has a love affair with meat, cheese and vegetables combined with thin, crispy dough. But Turkey’s stuffed flatbread isn’t Italian-inspired pizza: It’s Turkish-born and called pide.
“Just like how there are so many pizza shops here in America, there are just as many pide shops in Turkey,” says Cenap Kosar, owner of Ephesus Mediterranean Kitchen, a pizza shop that offers traditional Turkish dishes including a dozen varieties of pide.
Turkey-born Kosar came to Pittsburgh 15 years ago. He has been making pide for the past 10 years as a way to honor the tastes he remembers from home. Pide is a football-shaped flatbread with folded-over edges and a center filled with ingredients like cheese, spinach, mushrooms and peppers.
For the most authentic Turkish taste, try the lahmajun pide, which is filled with the traditional mixture of spiced ground beef, diced onions, tomatoes and parsley. Kosar also imports sujuk (a spicy Turkish sausage) and pastirma (cured beef similar to jerky) that top other pides.
Kosar knows of other Turks who run Italian-style pizzerias locally, but he believes that Ephesus might be the only restaurant in the area offering pide. It’s a distinction he’s proud of. “I want to show people some of the traditional flavors of Turkey,” says Kosar. “I am trying to separate myself from the other pizza places.”