In Small Spaces
Many Georgetown businesses make the most of tight quarters in old buildings. The owner of The Bean Counter coffee shop plans to make the most of his small piece of history.
From the outside, many of the businesses all sandwiched together on Wisconsin Avenue are, how they look, small. But owners find ways to get creative with the space they are given.
The Bean Counter, for example, is putting a lot of effort into their long patio. You would never know, stepping inside, that it was back there. You can get to it from a skinny brick alleyway on the side of the building, or through the kitchen. A hidden sanctuary.
Murat Durak and his sister Çiģdem, took over the Bean Counter five years ago. Originally Murat was going to open a salon, but he decided to give coffee a try.
He says he liked the vision of the previous owner and the café has gone mostly unchanged. The sandwiches on fresh baked breads, are the same. There's the Mass Merger: roasted turkey and cranberry sauce on raisin walnut bread or the Gold Standard, Durak's favorite: smoked chicken with pesto, onions, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella pressed hot on sourdough.
There have been some tweaks to the original, though. Durak and his sister are from Istanbul, Turkey. The family incorporates traditional Turkish dishes into the daily menu, like lentil soup, kofta from the grill (a mixture of ground turkey, beef and spices), stuffed peppers and cabbages.
On a warm summer afternoon Çiģdem sits on the patio behind the café with her mother, who is visiting from Turkey. They hover over sheets of paper, exchanging recipes, some of which will end up as menu specials.
More changes are on the horizon. Durak plans to expand the café and renovate the patio. He hopes to have this done in the next few months. And who knows, he says, someday if he's tired of the café, he may change it into a hair salon. Or, even better, a salon and a coffee shop. Fancy that.