Sip of Joy Brings Friendly Café Culture Back to the South End

This family-owned, Turkish-American coffee shop will make you think twice about a Starbucks run.

A blue, white, and gold mug is full of thick coffee and sits on a wooden table next to a slice of blueberry cake.

Turkish coffee and blueberry cake at Sip of Joy. / Photo by Elisabeth Hadjis

At Sip of Joy, the South End’s friendliest new café, owners Matt and Burju Sari serve slow-brewed, small-batch Turkish coffee in mugs decorated with scenes from their hometown of Istanbul. Add börek, a flaky phyllo pastry, to your order, or perhaps some warm, cheesy bread, and it’s not hard to see why this family business, which opened in July, is quickly becoming the go-to hangout in the Shawmut neighborhood. Who needs the Starbucks or the Caffè Nero down the street when you can indulge in wild Maine blueberry cake and an iced caramel latte here?

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The pastry counter at Sip of Joy is well-stocked with Turkish and American treats, both savory and sweet, from quiches to rich walnut brownies and tart lemon bars. Don’t miss the milk baklava, a cool, creamy version of the traditional nutty pastry. Here, it’s filled with pistachios and cocoa powder-topped whipped cream. To drink, there’s the aforementioned Turkish coffee—a must-try—not to mention a rotating selection of locally roasted George Howell Coffee and freshly ground espresso.

A sesame-crusted round bread that looks like a thin bagel sits on a white plate on a wooden table.

Simit, a Turkish bagel-like bread, at Sip of Joy. / Photo by Elisabeth Hadjis

Located on the ground floor of a Tremont Street brownstone, Sip of Joy is the Saris’ first café. For the husband-and-wife duo, the place is more than just a food and beverage business. Drawing inspiration from the vibrant café culture of their homeland, they hope to offer something that feeds the community in other ways, by creating an atmosphere designed for bringing people together.

“We used to go to a café, sit down, and talk for hours,” says Burju Sari, about her Istanbul upbringing. “We met with people, and then we met them again the next day. We shared our life stories and experiences. We helped each other. Here, we felt like that’s missing hugely.”

Interior of a small cafe with a long wooden table, white brick wall, and blue and gold art that looks like waves in the ocean.

Sip of Joy. / Photo by Elisabeth Hadjis

Visit our Ultimate Guide to Boston Restaurant Openings, Summer 2023, to learn more about other exciting new openings this season.

The café has all the familiar comforts of the ubiquitous coffee chains (chargers, Wi-Fi, cold brew), wrapped in an intimate, homey package. Outside, there’s a small but charming patio, including tables with eye-catching blue mosaic tops; it’s a perfect spot for people-watching or taking a break on your morning dog walk. The indoor space is just as sunny and bright, thanks to large street-facing windows and white walls. Wooden tables—hand-selected by the owners and stained by their 12-year-old twin boys, Omer and Demir—are paired with comfy upholstered armchairs.

Two plates of pastries sit on a wooden table in front of a colorful pillow and white brick wall.

A raspberry bar and pistachio cookie at Sip of Joy. / Photo by Elisabeth Hadjis

If it seems like the Saris know just how to make customers feel at home, that’s because Matt Sari spent several years studying and working in Turkey’s hospitality industry before moving to Massachusetts in 1997. From there, he went on to a career in hotels and restaurants, preparing for the moment when his family could bring their long-term coffee shop dream to life.

A man standing behind the register at a cafe smiles and takes a customer's order.

Matt Sari takes a customer’s order at Sip of Joy. / Photo by Elisabeth Hadjis

A barista and owner all in one, Matt runs the café’s operations, with no hired staff just yet. Burju, when she isn’t at her day job teaching at a school for blind youth, is behind the bar, preparing coffees and treats for the shop’s steady flow of customers. And sometimes, on weekends or holidays, you might also catch their twins helping out.

As the business continues to grow, the Saris plan to extend their community-minded ethos to their hiring practices, offering job opportunities to members of the neurodiverse community. “People with different needs can come work here to show the world that anything is possible,” says Burju. “We also want to show our son, who is in the neurodiverse population, that he can do anything he wants.”

A wedge of quiche, a round bun, and a thin bagel-like bread sit on white plates on a wooden table with a plant in the background.

From left: quiche, Turkish bread, and simit at Sip of Joy. / Photo by Elisabeth Hadjis

To the Saris, customers are family, and family deserves the best. Before opening the shop, the pair spent months sampling pastries and food items from bakeries across the city before settling on two suppliers. Their Turkish offerings, including simit (traditional Turkish bagel-like bread), come from a New Jersey-based bakery. For the American menu items—cookies and Bundt cakes, to name a couple—the owners went with Concord Teacakes, a Concord-based establishment that the family frequents. Coffee, on the other hand, was a no-brainer. The Saris live near George Howell’s Acton roastery—and the Howell family themselves are the Saris’ neighbors. “These are the foods that we eat at home,” says Burju. “I wouldn’t serve anything that I don’t like.”

Rave reviews about Sip of Joy’ are already flowing in from the first few weeks. For the Saris, the neighborly love makes opening a family business worth the hard work. “I already have that warm welcome from everybody, and I want to give that back to them,” says Matt. “We get to know our neighborhood, and they get to know us.”

A sidewalk chalkboard says we're open. Sip of Joy welcomes you. A taste you'll always remember.

Signage outside Sip of Joy. / Photo by Elisabeth Hadjis

661 Tremont St., South End, Boston,