ReGrow Dining Spotlight

Black Sea Restaurant
Tolga & Cigdem Ata, Owners

Tolga Ata studied hospitality management in his home country of Turkey before coming to the United States, where he continued his education in business management. In 2000 he realized his dream of opening an authentic Turkish-Mediterranean restaurant across the street from Hamline University in St. Paul. In 2007 he met his future bride, Cigdem, a frequent customer in the restaurant, who was an MBA student at Hamline, studying nutrition and dietetics. The couple fell in love with the WBL community from their many visits here and in 2013 they opened their second Black Sea on Co. Rd. E.

“in Turkey homemade food is cultural” says Tolga. The couple is proud of their emphasis on scratch cooking and healthy Mediterranean cuisine. They make their own yogurt, which is a key component in many of their dishes. They also are committed to sourcing product from local farmers and suppliers whenever possible. Some of their signature dishes include: unique Tzatziki sauce made with homemade yogurt, served with most dishes; Doner (beef and lamb Gyro); many varieties of Kebab (they serve their kebab without a skewer to create more unique style entrees); Kofte (meatball kebab); Dolma (grape leaves with seasoned rice); Spinach Borek; Baklava; and a variety of vegetarian dishes. The Meze platter is a popular appetizer, and their Kebab Combination platter is a big seller and very popular with families.

Like most restaurants, the early days of the pandemic were a real challenge and they had to rely heavily on their Takeout trade. Fortunately, they have built up a loyal customer base in the local community and for that they are incredibly grateful. They also thank the city of WBL for the way they have supported small businesses during these times.

Black Sea is open Monday through Saturday, 11 am to 8 pm, for dine-in or takeout. Takeout orders can be placed by calling 651-484-0600.

This article written by Ken Galloway, and originally featured in the White Bear Press.