For more than 25 years as a nightlife entrepreneur in Oslo, Nevzat Arikan has been a key player in the gentrification of dilapidated downtown buildings.
Arikan has made it a trademark to give his concepts a reasonable quality. His bistro Tekehtopa (Apotheket spelled backwards was a former farmacy) was joined by his Michelin restaurant Ylajali (now taken over by Rune Bjørneng og Mads Kjøllmoen, and changed name to Happolati). After more than 16 years, his restaurant Arakatapa behind Torggata bad, is still serving gourmet food.
The rehabilitation of Olympen (called Lompa) and the nightclub Pigalle has brought style back to Grønlandsleiret and at lower Grünerløkka Trattoria Popolare, Schouskjelleren and Bar Bettola chased the worst drug dealers away from the area.
And it is profitable. The parent company, Rodeløkka Invest, has operating margins of around 10 percent. Arikan’s latest contribution, Nedre Foss Gård, was, however, exposed to fire on New Year’s Eve 2016 and is still closed.
The building which caught fire is from the early 1800s and is located in Nordre gate 2. The house is an important part of the area’s history and is mentioned as early as 1220, when it was a mill belonging to Hovedøya Monastery.
“The citizens of Oslo have now an appetite for good food,” says Arikan. “But not everyone can afford to enjoy restaurant meals in expensive luxury establishments.” Therefore he opened his Arakataka in an old gambling house in the shadows of Torggata bad. Arakataka is named after Gabriel Garcia Maquez’ birthplace. “We serve gourmet food there at reasonable prices,” says Arikan with a smile.
Arikan’s restaurant group has around 200 employees. Autumn 2007, after 18 months of rehabilitation, he reopened Olympen as a standout dining place. Also the retro kitchy nightclub Pigalle on first floor has been given a boost.
Nevzat Arikan was born in 1963 in Ankara, Turkey. He is a graduate social worker, but has worked as a nightlife entrepreneur in Oslo for 27 years.
He started is first restaurant, Noah’s Ark at Grünerløkka with the family in 1990 and currently operates the following bars and restaurants:
St. Olav’s Plass
Bar Babylon cocktail
Cafe Tekehtopa bistro
Arakataka gourmet bistro
Bettola – Italian cocktailbar
Schouskjelleren – microbrewery
Trattoria Populare – Italian restaurant
Olympen – traditional Norwegian food
Pigalle cocktail bar and nightclub
* * * *
Feature image (on top): From Cafe Tekehtopa
Oslo’s Restaurant King, written by Tor Kjolberg