Ali Karaturk is excited to start living a life in which he doesn’t see a competitor on every corner.
Karaturk moved to Maryland from New Jersey, wanting to open a restaurant in an area that didn’t have one on every corner.
“There’s so much competition [in New Jersey],” Karaturk said. “There’s a restaurant every time you turn around.”
Karaturk and his family opened Walkersville Diner at 111 Walkers Village Way in Walkersville on March 6.
“We’re very excited to be here and be a part of the community,” Karaturk said. “We love this location and think we can do well.”
Karaturk has been in the restaurant business for 25 years and has opened three other restaurants. He said the grand opening for the diner was the most difficult one he has done, though.
Karaturk hadn’t had the success hiring employees that he hoped, so he was short-staffed when the restaurant opened. A larger-than-expected turnout on the opening weekend meant the lack of help hurt more.
“It was a little shaky,” he said. “But we did the best we could. We are close to getting the staff where we want it.”
Karaturk said there are now about 25 employees. He would like to have 30.
The menu at the diner offers a wide variety of food, ranging from deli sandwiches to seafood dinners. It has a menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Despite having fewer restaurants as competitors, succeeding likely won’t be easy.
The building has proven a difficult one for its tenants. A Burger King operated in the space in the early 2000s, but closed in 2004. County permit records show there was a remodeling effort in hopes of bringing a Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins to the building, but the plan stopped short.
In 2008, work began on turning the restaurant into Fuji Steakhouse, a Japanese steak, seafood and sushi restaurant. The building has been unoccupied since 2015, after Fuji Steakhouse closed.
Karaturk is confident his spot could break the streak at the location.
“The community has been great to us so far,” he said. “As long as we are good back to them and make good food, then we will do fine.”