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A place of gathering

In Farsi, which is the Persian language, the term “patogh” refers to a place of gathering. It’s exactly what Janin and Eden Isaac and their family aim to offer to Turlock through Patogh Restaurant, an establishment of over six years in northwest Turlock serving up traditional Mediterranean meals.

Patogh Restaurant, which the couple runs alongside Janin’s mother, Linda Alkhas and brothers Tommy and Sammy Abadi, is located at 130 W. Monte Vista Ave. within the Valley View Center Plaza directly across from the California State University, Stanislaus campus. They have become popular for their kabob and rice dishes amongst locals, including the large Assyrian community.

The city of Turlock is home to one of the largest Assyrian communities in the United States, with an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 residents being of Assyrian descent. That figure  represents nearly a quarter of the entire city population.

Cooking is a huge part of the culture in Iran, where the family is originally from. As a child, Janin learned to cook by watching her mother, who works as one of the restaurant’s chefs and is the brains behind many of the meals on the menu.

“We’re pretty much just villages, you know,” Eden said of life in Iran. “People spend a lot of time together socializing. It’s a lot more of a collective culture. And all the women in the community, they all have a lot of passion for cooking. Janin, she was learning from all the women in the community because it’s just a part of the culture.”

When socializing over good food, it makes it even easier to have a good time.

According to the family, the most popular dishes amongst customers are the beef soltani and the chicken combo. Beef soltani features pieces of steak alongside rice and grilled tomato. The chicken combo features a skewer of chicken and another of beef.

Meanwhile, Janin and Eden each have their own personal favorites. Janin is a big fan of the zereshk polo, a meal consisting of chicken breast and white rice with barberries. As for Eden, he enjoys the lamb shank, which is a rack of lamb with special seasoning served alongside baghali polo, a stew-like concoction of rice, garbanzo beans and dill.

While customers munch down on food, Patogh offers specialty drinks aside from the traditional sodas and beers, like teas containing saffron spice, a popular commodity within the Persian culture.

“We love doing this so much,” Janin said. “The customers, serving others, we really love it.”

Patogh Restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.