Nusret Gökçe, the Turkish butcher and chef more commonly known as Salt Bae, is expanding his global chain of steakhouses, Nusr-Et. He already has eighteen locations, some of which are located in Dubai, Greece, Beverly Hills, and his native Turkey. It was announced in May that he is opening a second location in New York City.
The second New York location will be opening in the Meatpacking District, roughly three miles from its Midtown predecessor. While both will vie for the attention of New Yorkers and commuters alike, the new location will be slightly larger at 6,700 square feet.
Larger and more grandiose seems to be an ongoing trend for Gökçe and Nusr-Et. While he started out working in local restaurants and butcheries for free as a teenager, he has now amassed plenty of wealth through his restaurants. Nusr-Et (Et means “meat” in Turkish) charges as much as $2,000 for their 24-karat gold encrusted tomahawk steak. Even side dishes like sauteed broccoli or mashed potatoes can cost $19.00 apiece. People were also astounded by the luxury prices, posting their receipts online.
Gökçe’s videos started surfacing online in 2017 for his unconventional approach to salting meat. He became a meme and used his popularity, as one does, to capitalize on his business. After opening more restaurants, politicians and celebrities started posting videos of themselves being served by the viral food entertainer.
There’s a slim chance eager diners will be able to be personally served by Gökçe. With eighteen locations and only one Salt Bae, only the high-profile elite are guaranteed to meet the famous food entertainer. Those who qualify for a personal demonstration will enjoy Gökçe’s unparalleled showmanship and patented salting technique. Popular online videos show him slicing meat and directly feeding to patrons’ mouths, which hilariously, isn’t to everybody’s liking. To stay on brand, a bowl of salt is on standby so he can teach his audience how to season like a pro.
Gökçe and his restaurants are always in the news, for better or for worse. Notable incidents involve him serving Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who’s “Controversy” headings list on Wikipedia is longer than most people’s grocery lists.
Then there’s history of lawsuits. In 2019, four employees were fired when asking about their share of tips. It led to accusing Gökçe of pocketing some of the tips before redistributing them to employees, which was later settled. There were also instances of overtime wage disputes and stolen artwork used in his restaurants.
Regardless of what happens behind the scenes, Nusr-Et’s seats are constantly filled. The high price points probably keep its name in the news and people will always enjoy the possibility of being entertained by the iconic restaurateur. That prospect leads to people booking tables at the self described “spectacular meat feast.” More than anything, expect Salt Bae’s empire to stay steady and expand in the coming years.