Saturday Morning Market vendor opens Kurdish and Turkish bakery in downtown St. Pete – St. Pete Rising

Urban Development News
St. Pete Bakery, owned by Tanya Shkaki, is now open at 600 1st Avenue North Suite 102 in downtown St. Pete. The new cafe offers cuisine from Turkey and the Kurdish region of northern Iraq | ST. Pete Rising
Don’t let the matter-of-fact name fool you: St. Pete Bakery is not your typical American purveyor of breads, doughnuts, and pastries. In fact, it specializes in sweet and savory treats inspired by the cuisine of Turkey and the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.
Owner Tanya Shkaki, a former hairstylist, is Kurdish. She moved to the United States in 1997, settling in Virginia, but moved back to her homeland in 2013 to be with her ailing father. Seven years ago, she returned to U.S. soil but opted for Florida over Virginia, winding up in St. Petersburg.
“When I came back, I wanted to go somewhere different,” Shkaki told St. Pete Rising, adding that Florida is better for her mother, who lives with her and passed down many of the recipes she uses daily at St. Pete Bakery, most of which came from her grandmother.  “I am really happy to share her food with the world in a nice boutique café,” she said.
Family recipes and tradition are a focal point of St. Pete Bakery, which held a soft opening for family and friends in late July at 600 1st Avenue North, Suite 102, kitty-corner from the St. Petersburg Judicial Building. The space was previously The Prescription Shop, which closed in 2017.
The menu at St Pete Bakery features homemade chickpea soup, lentil soup, Tabbouleh salaD, and basmati biryani rice. The cafe also offers baklava, hummus, and date balls to falafel, and, of course, Turkish Delight | St. Pete Rising
Prior to landing her own brick-and-mortar cafe, Shkaki was a regular vendor at the city’s Saturday Morning Market. “People really encouraged me to do something more,” she said.
Shkaki had been working as a hairstylist for 20 years when the COVID-19 crisis hit and beauty salons were forced to shut down to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. She said she spent a lot of her downtime during the pandemic making food with her mother, who’s now 85, and reconnecting with the cuisine of her homeland.
“I come from a really deep culture of food,” Shkaki said. That culture is evident not only in the food — which ranges from baklava, hummus, and date balls to falafel, and, of course, Turkish Delight — but also the bakery’s décor, which includes dozens of tea sets, rugs, old photographs, hand-woven cloth accessories, lamps, and other mementos.
In addition to delicious Middle Eastern food, St Pete Bakery also sells authentic tea sets, rugs, hand-woven cloth accessories, and lamps | St. Pete Rising
The beverage menu includes a wide variety of Persian tea and Turkish coffee, and customers can even buy a kit that includes everything they need to brew Turkish coffee at home.
Shkaki makes everything from scratch and authentically as possible, she said, adding that she took two trips to Turkey last year just to gather ingredients, such as high-quality saffron and cardamom, that she couldn’t find in the United States.
“I flew back home [to Kurdistan] for spices, and I drove to Virginia for other ingredients,” she said. “It was really difficult, but now I’ve found a company in Canada that can send everything to me.”
Most of the food items on the menu cost $6 and are naturally gluten-free, vegan, and organic.
St. Pete Bakery serves traditional Turkish Coffee made with a hot bed of sand to heat the coffee, producing a more consistent temperature | St. Pete Rising
In addition to sweet dishes, St. Pete Bakery also sells homemade chickpea soup and lentil soup, as well as tabbouleh salad.
Another notable dish is the basmati biryani rice which is made with saffron, turmeric, and other spices with a mixture of sauteed almonds, raisins, shredded carrots, grilled tofu, and sweet peas.
Shkaki’s friend from Kurdistan, Danni Ahamad, helps her run the bakery. For now, they are the only two employees.
St. Pete Bakery is open 8AM to 8PM Monday through Saturday and Noon to 7PM on Sundays at 600 1st Avenue North, Suite 102.
For more information, follow St. Pete Bakery on Instagram at @stpetebakeryinc.

St. Pete Rising is an online urban development publication covering retail, restaurants, and real estate news in St. Petersburg, FL
Want to be the first to know what’s coming soon to the Sunshine City?
Sign up to receive the latest news straight to your inbox!
We respect your privacy.
Thank you!
Contact – Terms of UsePrivacy Policy
© 2022 St. Pete Rising, LLC


Leave a Comment