The Hellertown restaurant scene is expanding its horizons with the opening of a new Turkish eatery Tuesday, following a soft opening held Sunday.
Limon Authentic Turkish Kebap House is located at 1111 Main Street, in a space that has housed several restaurants in recent years, including most recently the Hellertown Lunch Box.
On the lunch and dinner menu are a variety of hot and cold appetizers, wraps, soups, salads, entrees and desserts that represent the flavors and freshness of traditional Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine.
Owner Zuhal Lambrugo said the opening of the restaurant is the culmination of a long-held dream, and its operation will be a family affair, with everyone from her husband to her brother, sister, nieces and nephews helping. Her brother, Murat Suryel, is the grill chef and she especially credited him for his assistance in starting the business.
Her mother has been her greatest inspiration in terms of cooking, she said.
Finding the small retail space in Hellertown has helped bring the family and their combined talents together, without presenting too many challenges.
“I think it’s the perfect size,” she said of the cozy, open-concept space, which features counter, table and booth seating with a view of Main Street.
Zuhal is a native of Turkey, and her husband, Ettore, is from Italy.
Having previously resided in California, they relocated to the Saucon Valley about a decade ago and are now bringing up their three children here.
Zuhal said when she decided the time to open a restaurant was right, she knew she wanted it to be located on Main Street in Hellertown because she wanted to be close to home and family.
With Ettore’s help, the space has been renovated to include seating for about 20 people.
It has also been painted a cheerful shade of yellow to reflect the restaurant’s name, which means “lemon.”
“I’m from the Mediterranean Sea,” Zuhal said. “We serve lemon with everything.”
Some highlights from the menu include traditional Middle Eastern appetizers such as humus, tabbouleh, stuffed grape leaves and baba ghanoush; hot appetizers like falafel and spinach pastry; lentil and chicken soups; farro, beet and other salads; and baklava as well as sutlac, a traditional Turkish rice pudding, for dessert.
Ettore may also contribute culinarily to the dessert menu, with his tiramisu and cheesecake.
The star of Limon’s menu are its various kebap entrees, many of which feature skewered or char-grilled meats or meat prepared “gyro-style” (on a vertical spit), along with rice or bulgur pilaf, salad and savory sauces, such as yoghurt sauce.
The word “kebap” is “not a typo,” Zuhal stressed. It is the Turkish word for the Middle Eastern “kebab.” The “b” ending is more familiar to most Americans.
Wraps filled with everything from falafel to lamb to gyro meat will be available for lunch, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. only.
The menu features a number of vegetarian options, and Zuhal said some items are also gluten-free. All of the meat ingredients are halal, meaning they are prepared according to a high standard required by Islamic dietary laws.
Available beverages include Turkish tea, soda, ayran (a Turkish yogurt drink), bottled water and Turkish coffee, which is similar to espresso and very strong.
The restaurant is BYOB and major credit cards are accepted.
Takeout is available, and can be ordered by calling 484-851-3269.
Limon’s hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. It will be closed Mondays.
There is a Facebook page for Limon, and a website will soon be live, Zuhal said.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony coordinated with assistance from the local chamber of commerce is also planned for sometime this summer, she added.