Manchester United footballer Cristiano Ronaldo will back a new London restaurant with Burak Özdemir, nicknamed CZN Burak, the smiling Turkish chef and restaurateur whose giant vegetable-chopping, butter-melting, and meat-grilling social media videos command tens of millions of views across Instagram and TikTok.
Few details about the restaurant venture are known, though 27-year-old Özdemir owns the Hatay Civilizations Table group of restaurants, which consists of five branches: in Taksim and Etiler in Istanbul, Aksaray in central Turkey, and overseas in Dubai, and Tajikistan. He also operates the chain CZN Burak, which is the brand most likely to be exported. It carries the strap, “World’s most delightful cuisine.”
Eater understands that the restaurant could open on the site currently occupied by the Turkish restaurant Ishtar at 10-12 Crawford Street, near Baker Street.
As reported by Daily Sabah and later by Hot Dinners, Özdemir announced that he would opening the restaurant in November. “In the 11th month this year, we will be opening our venue in the United Kingdom,” Sabah quotes the chef saying. “We will open a venue in London in partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo. We are not revealing this too much, because we were supposed to make a beautiful surprise at the opening.”
The chef’s Instagram bio features the line “Love is the greatest bond.” Yet it’s difficult to know how great the bond between Özdemir and Ronaldo would be if their combined social media following wasn’t well on the way to one billion. There is money to be made here.
Not unlike his countryman and social media-famous chef Salt Bae, Özdemir is generally a fan of high-profile footballers — posing for pictures with the two greatest footballers of the modern era: his new business partner, Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi, the former Barcelona forward who moved to Paris Saint Germain in the summer of 2021. He has also posed alongside and posted photos of Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho, Real Madrid’s Marcelo, Inter Milan midfielder Arturo Vidal, former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, and Atletico Madrid’s Marcos Llorente. The chef has collaborated with the Spanish national league, La Liga.
Ronaldo meanwhile, though now a veteran footballer — indeed, the game’s record goalscorer — is not a seasoned restaurateur. His only project to-date in London was the failed Zela — a Japanese-influenced Mediterranean restaurant imported from Ibiza — which opened in Covent Garden in September 2018 and closed less than two years later.
Stay tuned for more from Czn and CR7 soon.