While historical shops on Istanbul’s Istiklal Street are closing one by one, Lebon Patisserie & Cafe will also bring down the curtain on their venue at the end of the year. As the Karagözyan Foundation, the owner of the patisserie’s venue, did not renew the lease, Lebon Patisserie, which has been serving in the Beyoğlu district for 36 years, will close after its last service on Dec. 31.
Saying that the history of Lebon Patisserie dates back to 1810, Abdurrahman Cengiz, one of the two partners of the patisserie, said: "The patisserie was founded by Charles Bourdon. In the history books, Lebon Patisserie’s establishment date is written as 1886. However, one of our customers brought us an old chocolate box of our patisserie and the date 1810 was written on this box.
Noting that Lebon Patisserie is Turkey's first patisserie, he continued: “We have patented this place and have been operating it on Istiklal Street for 36 years. In line with the new law of obligations, a landlord can evict a tenant without giving any reason if the tenant has been in the place for 10 years. Therefore, the Karagözyan Foundation, the owner of our shop, has decided to evict us. But the Court of Cassation overturned this decision and declared the foundation could not evict us until 2020.”
Telling that the foundation has not been renewing the lease since 2010, Cengiz, 75, continued: “We could find no way out. We will close our shop, and our investment of TL 3 million ($293,873) will go down the pan. We pay TL 32,000 for the rent of the venue. However, the owners think that they can rent this place for TL 60,000. We cannot pay such a high rent.”
“It is so sad that historical shops like our patisserie are not protected and sustained,” Cengiz added.
Şakir Ekinci, the other partner of Lebon Patisserie, said: "We are like a family with people here. We feel sorry for our customers. It's weird for us to leave our patisserie. No one can build this place again after us.” Zeynep Dinçer, a regular at Lebon Patisserie, said, "We are very saddened by the closure of Lebon Patisserie as it is one of the last strongholds of Beyoğlu. The patisserie culture like in this shop is not found everywhere. This is a very historical place. I come here every day in general. There also some regulars coming to the patisserie in the morning.”