An Azerbaijani Journalist Turned Restaurateur in Brooklyn

Ramal Huseynov left Azerbaijan and came to Southern Brooklyn where he opened Istanblue Kings on Kings Highway near McDonald Avenue. (Photo by Adam Lucente via Brooklyn Daily)

Ramal Huseynov once hosted a popular talk show in Azerbaijan. These days, he’s running a Turkish restaurant in Gravesend, writes Brooklyn Daily’s Adam Lucente.

In his home country, Huseynov was the host of “Heyata Baxis” — which translates to “View to Life” — a current affairs show covering topical subjects, such as the need to modernize the Azerbaijani language, and an alleged cyber attack on the country by neighboring Armenia, with which Azerbaijan has territorial disputes.

But two years ago, when his show broached the topic of possible mismanagement at Socar, the powerful state-run oil company in the energy-rich country, the government took his show off the air, at the behest of the company’s leadership, according to Huseynov.

Unable to find a job in the industry, Huseynov eventually moved to Brooklyn in October at the suggestion of friends who said he could find work there. But “for sure it wasn’t easy,” he said. Seeing few long-term employment prospects, he decided to open Istanblue Kings earlier this year. The restaurant offers Turkish dishes “including kofta, kebab, and baklava.”

Why did Huseynov choose to open a Turkish restaurant? And how has stepping into a completely different industry been so far for the former journalist? Find out at Brooklyn Daily.

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