Where there was an outstanding tailor shop for over 20 years called the Golden Needle, now there's Papa's Place. Many Los Feliz locals miss this source of meticulous handiwork, yet Papa's Place, owned by Cengiz Karachua, son of the aforementioned tailor who passed away in 2008, fills a different neighborhood niche. But the photos hanging on the walls — the picture of Rikki Lake and other local celebrities — and souvenirs from Constantinople/Istanbul and Stuttgart will be familiar to Golden Needle Tailor regulars. “People used to call my dad 'Papa,'” Karachua explains, “and they'd come have lunch here. They'd say, 'I went to Papa's place and had Mom's cooking,'” and hence the concept was born. “My dad always wanted to do this.”
The casual spot with high tables and stools serves foods of the Turkish diaspora. Or more specifically, Papa's Place specializes dishes that reflect the large Turkish presence in Germany, as well as Karachua's experience as a deli owner in Upland, California. The menu ranges from Mediterranean Turkish classics such as the papera beef bowl and Turkish-style tabouleh (which uses a fine bulgar wheat and more vegetables) to bratwurst and a half-pound Angus burger. There's a comprehensive list of sandwiches — be sure to ask Karachua about the Turkish origins and etymology of pastrami — and Karachua also plans to stock kosher and halal meats.
Istanbul has three religions that have co-existed for centuries, Karachua points out. “I get goose bumps talking about this!” He also makes a connection between the cross-cultural foods he's making at Papa's Place, and the tailors of different backgrounds and heritages with whom his father worked over the years.
Papa's Place: 2044 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz; (323) 913-0478.