Home Essex CountyCedar Grove There’s a New Turkish Restaurant in Cedar Grove

There’s a New Turkish Restaurant in Cedar Grove

by Samantha Bonizzi
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Dervish Turkish Restaurant, located at 450 Pompton Avenue, is a vibrant new dining option in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. The restaurant serves up Mediterranean cuisine authentic to Southern Turkey. Dervish has received an overwhelming response from the community since its opening just two months ago, with close to 200 five-star reviews on Google. Read on to hear more about what makes Dervish a unique dining destination in Cedar Grove.

dervish turkish restaurant cedar grove new jersey interior

The Backstory

Brothers Emre and Ali Yalaza opened Dervish Turkish Restaurant with their father, Mustafa Yalaza. Mustafa and Ali are the head chefs, and other family members make up the wait and hostess staff. They hail from Southern Turkey in Gaziantep, where Emre and Ali’s grandfather opened the family’s first restaurant in 1978. Mustafa eventually took over the business and expanded the restaurant throughout Turkey, including a location in Istanbul. The family then brought the taste of Turkey to New York, opening ABA Turkish Restaurant and Lezzet. Dervish is the family’s first restaurant in New Jersey, which they opened after realizing that many of their New York customers were traveling in from the Garden State.

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“The vibrant food scene and the diversity of the Montclair community were also major motivators for us. We are thrilled that we could respond to our customer requests and bring our authentic Turkish cuisine to Montclair,” Emre shared with The Montclair Girl.

The Eats

dervish turkish restaurant cedar grove new jersey

Dervish serves dishes original to Gaziantep, a regional cuisine renowned for its kebabs and sweets like baklava. “Maintaining authenticity was crucial, so we hired chefs native to Gaziantep to work with Mustafa,” Emre said. “We aim to introduce unique Mediterranean dishes to the greater NJ area, adding specialties not found in other Turkish restaurants.”

One such specialty is the onion kebab, which some call the Clay Pot Kebab. The onion kebab is meatballs and onions topped with pomegranate juice, Turkish herbs and spices, and bread. It takes about four hours to cook in a clay pot, so customers must order it in advance. Emre broke down the Gaziantep way to eat this dish in this Instagram post.


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Gaziantep cuisine requires meticulous preparation, from selecting the highest quality meat from local Halal butchers to carefully cleaning and balancing the meat-to-fat ratio. “Every step is critical to crafting the perfect kebab. This attention to detail ensures that our kebabs retain juiciness and tenderness throughout cooking,” Emre shared with MG. Dervish also uses authentic spices that have been family secrets in Gaziantep for many years.



In addition to entrees of kebabs and meat dishes, the menu includes a variety of well-known Mediterranean appetizers like hummus, lebni, babaganoush, stuffed grape leaves, and tabbouleh. Another popular item is its Turkish pizza, or Findik Lahmacun, topped with minced meat, fresh tomatoes, red and green peppers, garlic, and parsley. Dervish also strives to accommodate its diverse clientele by serving vegan, vegetarian, and seafood options

dervish turkish restaurant cedar grove new jersey food

Dervish honors the Turkish tradition of finishing a meal with a dessert and Turkish coffee or tea. One of its specialties is the Kunefe, which layers shredded thin dough with cheese in the middle and topped with syrup and pistachio. Other desserts include baklava, Rice pudding, kazandibi (Turkish Custard), and tiramisu.

Additional Details

The restaurant feels like a fine dining establishment, featuring drop-down lighting, funky wall art, leather booths and chairs, and an eclectic pink tree to tie it all together. An outdoor patio extends off the main dining room to add more seating options during the warmer months.

dervish turkish restaurant cedar grove new jersey tea

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Dervish is open Monday through Friday from 11AM to 10PM, and Saturday and Sunday from 10AM to 10PM, and now serving breakfast on the weekends. The restaurant is BYOB.

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