About Us

About Little Istanbul

Meet the Oktays

Vural Oktay, 43, was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, a country often referred to as a bridge between Europe and Asia. He began learning the restaurant business as a teenager working at hotels there. He later came to the United States on a visa to work at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. It was there that he met a cocktail waitress from Vermont who was attending nursing school at the University of Vermont. Jackie would become his wife and business partner.

Vural and Jackie, now 32, married in 2009, and she since become fluent in Turkish spent time working as a cardiac nurse, and become a mom to the couple’s three children, also fluent in Turkish. Vural’s first venture as a buisness owner was opening the Istanbul Kebab House Turkish & Mediterranean Restaurant in Burlington, Vermont, now comanaged by his brother, Hasan. Jackie now helps run their three family businesses!

Turkey is a melting pot of lots of different cultures. It is a magical place. It’s so memorable; it just has such an impact on you being there. The history, the architecture, the buildings—you can sense it; you can feel it; you can see it. Jackie Oktay