Pera, a Mediterranean restaurant, is celebrating ten years on 18th Street. Irfan Yalcin and his younger brother, Metin, have been ‘serving the Hill with love since 2009.’ To celebrate the milestone, last month the restaurant expanded from offering wine and beer to purveying an extensive array of beverages.
Yalcin recently acquired a full liquor license, enabling Pera to present cocktails. Drinks will be served from a newly installed longer, wider, bar made of repurposed redwood, with cocktail tables, barstools, a large-screen television and happy hour menu. There are plans for a wall of climbing vines to separate diners and bar customers, creating a comfortable lounge vibe that’s distinct from the spacious eggplant-colored dining booths. The establishment’s hours will be extended to 11 p.m. to accommodate those who want a drink and light snack in a friendly neighborhood atmosphere.
Yalcin made the changes in part because he’d noticed that families who used to be regulars had moved from Potrero Hill, replaced by tech industry singles, a younger crowd. Yalcin wants to appeal to all San Franciscans, with everyone feeling welcome at Pera.
Yalcin got his first restaurant job when he was a high schooler in Ankara, Turkey, working alongside his older brother, Nurhan. At the end of his first night he was hooked. He told Nurhan that he knew what he wanted to do with his life; he’s been working in the food sector ever since.
Pera is the first restaurant Yalcin opened; he started it with a silent partner. Since launching Pera, he’s acquired the Haight Street and Mission Street Cha Cha Cha eatery. He also took over Papito’s, around the corner from Pera, in 2017.
Pera bills its cuisine as Mediterranean, but according to Yalcin it’s really Anatolian, from the plateau lands of Turkey. Yalcin himself is Kurdish, as is his wife, Ayca, who works as a hostess occasionally; they met at Pera. They live on Mariposa Street with their 2.5-year-old Aras-Leon, who Yalcin boasts will soon be attending Daniel Webster Elementary School.