The breakfast café that has been open for over 119 years, an inheritance from father to son, is about to close its doors due to new regulations. Pando Kaymak serves the last of his loyal customers before saying goodbye
There should be an atmosphere of impending doom in the little blue shop. It is supposed to be the last day for Pando to make his famed clotted cream and honey for the utmost delight of his customers; the last day after more than 100 years of serving breakfast every single day.
But there is no gloom in the shop; it is crowded. "Everyone thought this was going to be the last day," says Pando's wife Döne. She is being modest; the shop is always crowded. The 119-yearold iconic breakfast shop, Pando Kaymak, in Istanbul's Beşiktaş district, is on the brink of becoming a part of the long history that it had witnessed.
Pando's landlord has reportedly taken advantage of a recent law that permits him to evict his tenants of a minimum of 10 years without having to provide justification. Local media had announced Pando Kaymak's demise as being this past Sunday, but Döne Shestakof, the wife of 92-year-old Pandelli Shestakof, aka Pando, said on Sunday that they actually did not know the exact time of eviction. Pando had initially been given until Aug. 15 to vacate the premises.
In protest, the shop's regulars and many other Istanbulites launched campaigns via Twitter using hashtags such as #savepando or #pandokapanmasın. The initiative garnered enough attention to involve local Beşiktaş Mayor Murat Hazinedar. His mediation staved off the eviction for 20 days. However, the couple said they had stopped fighting against the eviction order.
"We fought a lot. But we are exhausted and we are old. We have just given up," the couple says. More than a simple cream shop, Pando Kaymak represents tradition in Istanbul, the unchanging face of Beşiktaş for many Istanbulites. Pando wasn't immediately attracted to the idea of inheriting the family business, as he initially chose a career as a mechanic. Having been born in Beşiktaş and raised at his father's cream shop - which had opened in 1895 - when it was time for his father to move on, Pando's instinctive reaction was to keep the small and humble store's doors open to keep loyal customers smiling.
Many in the neighborhood and throughout the city, believe Pando Kaymak is one of the latest victims of gentrification projects that have popped up throughout Istanbul neighborhoods in the past decade. There is hope for Pando Kaymak yet. According to Döne, the mayor of Beşiktaş called on Monday to tell the couple that he was trying to find a solution. Meanwhile, Pando Kaymak lives to see another day.
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