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Redefining Retro's Good Eats 

Hotdogs and Hamburgers to Haute Cuisine

Meet Ihsan Korkmaz. Ihsan has been a part of the Williamsburg community since he moved here in 1995 to be closer to family. In the years that followed, he traveled and got a formal education in the culinary arts. In 2018 Ishan was unexpectedly presented the opportunity to purchase the famous Retro’s Good Eats restaurant downtown on Prince George Street. Tourism’s precipitous drop in 2020 presented many challenges, but he has managed to weave his world-class culinary experience into this comfort food favorite location. The result is something completely unique, and an unexpected reflection of the chef’s passion. 

In the mid 90s, Ihsan operated a sandwich shop, where he baked the bread fresh daily, in the bustling old Pottery location. After selling the sandwich shop, he worked at Trellis and was a chef at the old LeYaca location by Kingsmill. By then, he was committed to opening his own restaurant and chose to move to Canada in 2006 to attend Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute. 

After graduating, Ihsan worked as a chef in Canada, DC, New Jersey before moving back to the area and opening and operating his own French restaurant, The Pearl between 2009 -2014. His next adventure took him to Turkey, where opened a new restaurant, met his lovely wife and had a daughter (now 6). 

In 2018 Ihsan moved his new family back to Williamsburg and began looking for his next adventure. “It’s a funny story, I was looking for a job to keep myself busy and happened to notice a help wanted sign in the window at Retro’s. The owner joked that they couldn’t afford me as their chef, and the next day asked if I would be interested in buying the business.”

Retro’s continues the longstanding tradition of offering up the comfort food locals and tourists have come to expect, but Ihsan has expanded the menu to reflect his love of French cooking. His crab cakes are some of the best in town. While at the Retro’s photoshoot, Ben Munson exclaimed, “It’s possibly the best crab cake I have ever had. When my family comes in from out of state, getting a crab cake sandwich at Retros is the first thing on their to-do list downtown.” He then hastily made off with the sandwich immediately after the photo shoot was done.

There is now a carefully curated wine selection, and a few local beers to pair with your meal. The big secret is that he regularly puts on “Wine Dinners” which are quickly becoming popular with locals. Lucky attendees are served an off-menu chef’s dinner without the fine dining prices! You get a 3-course meal for $19.99. Capacity for these events is only 20 people, so reach out and find out when the next Wine Dinner. 

If you haven’t been to Retros lately, do yourself a favor and out the expanded new menu at RetrosGoodEats.com or pay them a visit at 435 Prince George Street. “Special dinners” can be prepared for you and friends as well. At this writing, I am planning to go there for my birthday next week!