Published: 12:00, 02 May 2022
| Updated: 06:49, 03 May 2022
A new Turkish restaurant with a jazz bar and snack van is welcoming its first customers next to Ashford International station.
Cappadocia, which is just off the ring road, opened its doors in Station Road at 12pm.
Named after the region of Turkey famous for scenic hot-air balloon trips, the site – most recently known as Otto Bar and Shisha Lounge – promises to serve traditional cultural food.
Owner Serkan Gungor, who has worked in catering for 20 years, says he is "really excited" to open the restaurant to the public.
"I have been running around like a lunatic getting everything ready, but we're almost there and I can't wait," he said.
"It's quite daunting but also very exhilarating!"
Food will be served in the centre of the building as well as on the terrace, with space for about 100 people.
The building will also host a jazz bar – which Mr Gungor believes will be the town's first of its kind.
The van outside – which is close to the Cameo nightclub entrance – briefly opened as a kebab van, but will now be given a new lease of life.
"I only had it open about two days; the hours just did not work," explained Mr Gungor.
"Because the club nearby is only open three days a week, that is when the van would have been open, but nobody would work for only three days a week, and I cannot man it myself.
"I've now decided to reopen it as a snack bar – there are businesses and offices all around, and so it will serve tea, coffee, snacks and more from 8am to 2pm."
The site next to Papa John's was famously occupied by The Kent Arms for more than 50 years.
Greene King took over and re-named it the Fat Fiddler in the early 1990s.
In 2011, it was then converted into the Ashford Business Centre and a wine bar called Platform 5.
The Breeze Bar then took over but moved out in 2017 after spending less than a year in the building.
It was then vacant until 2019 when Mr Gungor and his brother opened Otto Bar and Shisha Lounge.
However the pair decided to redesign the business after issues with Ashford Borough Council regarding outside space.
Mr Gungor, 37, and his family have previously been involved in restaurants in Tunbridge Wells, Gillingham and south-east London where he lived before moving to Ashford.