MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — There are more than 5,000 miles between north central West Virginia and the nation of Türkiye, but in this week’s stop of the Restaurant Road Trip, 12 News’ Eric Minor found a taste of Turkish cuisine much closer to home at Istanbul in Morgantown.

Owner Muhammet Ariturk came to Morgantown from Türkiye in 2016 to learn English and study in WVU’s Petroleum Engineering master’s degree program. However, he found himself in need of another project while his wife finished her Ph.D. program at the university.

“I said, OK, what should I do? Instead of doing nothing, I should do business,” said Ariturk. “Me and my wife talked about it. We can launch a restaurant.”

Ariturk hired a chef from California and opened his very first restaurant in 2019.

The ever-changing menu features traditional Turkish staples like lamb and chicken dishes. It also includes ten vegetarian options, which Ariturk added in response to customer demand.

There aren’t many Turkish restaurants in our region and Ariturk enjoys sharing his country’s culture through his kitchen.

“Most people come in and say, ‘I have no idea what to eat,’” said Ariturk. “It’s going to be a surprise. This is our concept: trust us. If you don’t like it, I will change it at no cost, no charge. I’ll give you something else. They usually say ‘OK. Surprise me!’”

Istanbul is located at 2995 University Avenue in Morgantown. They are open Mondays through Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 3:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.