A La Turka – 1417 Second Avenue

A La Turka
1417 Second Avenue
Established 1995


A La Turka’s owner, Suleyman Secer, always dreamed of owning a restaurant. He emigrated from Turkey to the United States in 1987, and quickly entered the restaurant business in Brooklyn. There, he worked with his in-laws until he felt confident enough to go out on his own. He started small, in Manhattan, selling gyros and falafel, but his goal was to someday open a fine dining restaurant serving traditional Turkish food. His dreams came to fruition with A La Turka in 1995. Carrying on the family tradition, Suleyman’s nephew, Utku Secer, is the general manager.

In the middle of Covid, Suleyman took another leap and rented space just a few blocks north of A La Turka, opening Blue Mezze Bar, with co-owner Onur Safak. This stunning space serves Mediterranean cocktails alongside a vast array of mezze.

According to Suleyman, “It’s good to be a neighborhood restaurant.” After spending twenty-eight years on the Upper East Side, he has seen multiple generations of families come through his doors. Though “owning a restaurant isn’t an easy business,” Suleyman remains passionate and proud about what he has created.


Little is known about this 4-story brick building, which was likely built pre-1867 when the City first began keeping records of newly constructed buildings. Its straight and simple brownstone window headers differentiate it from its neighbors, as does its width, only 3 windows wide, and slightly shorter height. The entire span of buildings on the west side of Second Avenue between 73rd and 74th Streets remains remarkably intact, but these visual differences suggest that #1417 was likely built alone, rather than as part of a unified row. While an 1871 newspaper article refers to a grocer at this location, and a shoe store in the 1930s, eating and drinking establishments occupied the storefront for much of the 20th century. The 1940s photo shows a restaurant, while in the 70s it was home to Paxton’s Publick House, a popular singles bar. The 80s brought a Chinese restaurant, Hunan Balcony.