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Turkish coffee at Dubai Grill is a cool experience — and it’s not even on the menu

An order of Turkish coffee from Dubai Grill in Urbana, Illinois is served on a gold platter. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
Alyssa Buckley

A little birdie told me Dubai Grill had good coffee, so I went to the Middle Eastern restaurant to see for myself. For a good minute, I stared at the menu because it only had four drinks — and none of them coffee — before stepping up to the register and asking, “Do you sell coffee?”

Obviously, the answer was yes. Dubai Grill serves both Yemeni and Turkish coffee, though neither are on the official menu. The secret menu item exceeded any coffee expectations I had for the casual restaurant.

A small porcelain cup of Turkish coffee from Dubai Grill is on a gold platter. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
Alyssa Buckley

Dramatically served on a shiny golden tray, the Turkish coffee ($3.99) was a total sensory experience. Immediately, I could smell the rich aroma. Pouring coffee from the cezve into the porcelain kahve fincani was cool. The Turkish coffee tasted bold and bitter but with delicious roasted notes that made it totally addicting. My order poured three little cups of coffee, each thicker than the last (because of the unfiltered grounds).

Everything about this was different from my other coffee encounters: the smell, the scaldingly hot temp, the strong flavors, and the lustrous presentation. At the end, the Turkish coffee grounds form what could be read as one’s fortune, and when I returned my tray and empty cup, the cashier said, “Wow, lots of good things are coming to you!”

He probably says that to everyone who orders this, but I did have a very good weekend, so there’s that.

Dubai Grill
701 S Gregory St
M-Sa 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Su 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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