Café Gulistan


Ibrahim Parlak was raised in a small village in southern Turkey called Sakarat, which translates to "wild horses."   Feeding the family was about growing produce, raising livestock, and always great cooking.  Ibrahim learned to cook from his mother, who fed the family of twelve for years without the benefit of electricity.   Good cooking was the norm in his village.

Ibrahim came to the United States in 1991, choosing to live here because of the freedoms we enjoy.  As he has said "When you don't grow up with freedom, it is only an idea.  When I found a place where it actually exists, I wanted to live there."  Living first in Chicago, and later in southwest Michigan he worked a series of jobs related to food service until he was able to start Café Gulistan in 1994.
As with most new businesses, it was a struggle in the beginning.  He was host, cook, busboy, dishwasher, janitor, and business owner all wrapped up in one until the business grew to where he could take on some help.   The business has continued to grow over the years.  He was able to purchase the building in Harbert, MI.   In 2007 the restaurant underwent extensive remodeling.  It is a jewel of the community today.

To learn more about Ibrahim and the experiences he has had since applying for U.S. citizenship visit