(Editor’s note: The following story is part of a series on Boardwalk’s long-standing family businesses.)
OCEAN CITY – Since 1970, Golden Plate has served generations of locals and visitors.
In its early years, the restaurant was located on 33rd Street plaza. There, founder Adil Yilmaz established a successful business selling pizza, subs, and kebabs, among other things.
âIt was the first business he opened in Ocean City after emigrating from Istanbul, Turkey, came to New York and held a job in Washington DC as a chef at the Turkish Embassy,â Yilmaz’s granddaughter, Yesim Karaman said. âHe and his wife came on vacation to Maryland and fell in love with Ocean City. This is how he made his debut in Ocean City and decided to be here.
Yesim noted that Golden Plate was a meeting place for many locals while he was on 33rd Street. She said couples go there for dates and customers flock to the restaurant after visiting Paddock nightclub.
âAnyone you talk to that is local will always say, ‘After the Paddock we would go to the Golden Plate and eat subs and pizzaâ¦ and if we drank too much he would pull out his roll and chase us’â, a- she said. “Just crazy stories from this old immigrant.”
After years on 33rd Street, Yilmaz ventured into other businesses, operating the House of Pasta and the Tides Inn restaurant. But in the late 1990s, Yilmaz’s daughter Yasemin Karaman reopened the family business from a concession stand at the corner of 1st Street and the promenade.
Today, Yasemin, her husband, Ali, and their two daughters, Yesim and Yagmur, continue to operate Golden Plate, but with a different menu.
In addition to its cheesesteak subs and gyros, Golden Plate also serves Greek salads, falafels, and traditional Boardwalk fare, including fried Oreos, corn dogs, and funnel cakes.
âThe first two years we tried to keep some of the staples, like shish kabob subs and rice pudding, but the Boardwalk clientele was very differentâ¦â Yesim said. âWe quickly had to adapt.
In the decades since Boardwalk opened, Golden Plate has established itself as a must-see destination for locals and visitors alike. And despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Yesim said business remains strong.
âThis pandemic has certainly been our biggest challengeâ¦â she said. âBut luckily we still had a great summer. We still saw a lot of repeat customers and new customers who couldn’t travel this far.
This year, however, Golden Plate has faced staff shortages in the wake of the pandemic. While working full-time for Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration, Yesim also helps her family run the business during the summer months.
âWe usually have an operation of 12 to 13 people, and we perform it with only four members of our family,â she said. “We have a guy who is full time, but we just hired him after July 4th.”
Regardless, Yesim said she and her family remain grateful to those who continue to hang out with Golden Plate year after year.
âAt the end of the day, we are all working hard to make Ocean City the best tourist destination possible,â she said.
Now in its fifth decade of activity, Yesim said the family has no plans to stop. His sister, Yagmur, hopes to one day run the business.
âEvery year my dad teaches me more and more,â Yagmur said. âI think it’s cool because my grandpa started it and my mom continued it with my dad and my sister. It’s cool to think that one day, when I have a family, I hope they can continue too.