1474 Deer Park Ave. North Babylon, NY 631-586-2246
When it opened in 1999, Nazar was a little Turkish deli where homesick Turks could grab a kebab or a candy bar or soft drink from the old country. By 2005, when it was bought by Yusuf Avci, Mustafa Dumlupinar and Huseyin Akarsu, it had expanded into the neighboring store. The new owners continued the expansion, taking over the adjacent nail salon and "eBay" store so that Nazar, at 4,500 square feet, occupies the entire building.
Nazar has now grown into a full-service market with a huge selection of imported Turkish groceries. It has a full-service butcher and sells its own delicious homemade breads and pastries. Where the original deli once was, there's a dining area where customers can eat breakfast, lunch or dinner. It also offers takeout.
In the market are the distinctive U-shaped Turkish "sujuk" sausages (think soprassata but made with beef); ayran, the tangy-salty yogurt drink; olives in every shape and size; Turkish candies and crackers and cookies. Turkish products predominate at Nazar (which means "evil eye"), but there are plenty of items from all over the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and the Balkans. Everything is Halal. "We get customers from all over," Akarsu said, "and if someone asks us to stock something, we do." He pointed to a box of Egyptian flatbreads. "I haven't tried these yet, but one of our customers loves them."
Nazar's only cash register is in the very center of the store so that eat-in or takeout customers must walk into the market to pay. "Thirty percent of our restaurant customers are American-born," Akarsu said. "We want them to come in and see the rest of the store." -- Erica Marcus (Newsday, April 28, 2011)