Esendemir Sisters with Thumb Bread

Thumb Bread

Esendemir Sisters with Thumb Bread
The Esendemir Sisters with their proprietary creation: Thumb Bread®

How It Began…

Fourteen years ago in 2007, Arzu had a vision for our restaurant start-up, Flatbread Grill®. She wanted us to bake our own special bread daily on-premise. One of the breads didn’t actually exist in physical form. It only existed in her head. Arzu had an obsession with fresh bread since she was a little girl. She used to ask deli and bakery workers if she could squeeze the bread before ordering a sandwich to make sure it was ‘fresh’. Her search for a versatile bread we could use in our restaurant turned up empty. 

To make a long story short- baker after baker told Arzu her idea was crazy and that we should just serve the same type of bread all the other restaurants were serving. Despite the challenges, Arzu didn’t give up on her vision. Using the skills she learned watching our mother and father bake bread growing up, Arzu decided to create the bread she saw in her head. She called it, Thumb Bread®.

Arzu Esendemir baking Thumb Bread
Arzu Esendemir baking Thumb Bread® by hand at Flatbread Grill®

Thumb Bread Now…

Fast forward to 2021, that same bread, Thumb Bread®, has been baked a million times over for our restaurant locations. Day in and day out, we made hundreds of pieces by hand! We scaled and rounded BY HAND. We formed the dough by hand. Then, this one small idea blew up. We poured our hearts into making this bread. Not one day went by when we didn’t bake. Even our Baba got in on the action, helping us after his open-heart surgery as a way to stay active. Our recipe is still proprietary and now, we sell it in a special bag Arzu came up with in 2018 when we made our local retail debut. 

Thumb Bread® became more popular than we could have ever dreamed of. In the earlier years, we got asked all the time about selling the bread to grocery stores and other restaurants. It was a dream that stayed in the back of our minds. In between the hectic lunch and dinner rushes, the three of us would talk about making Thumb Bread® available to everyone everywhere. 

Arzu Esendemir baking Thumb Bread with Gonca Esendemir
Arzu Esendemir baking Thumb Bread®

Well, that dream is finally coming true- fourteen years later! It was a dream we never gave up. Fourteen years is a long time to dream. But the wait was worth it. We can’t wait to share this special bread with you and your family. We hope it brings everyone the same joy and comfort it brought us.

As always, thanks for reading. 

Fusun, Gonca, and Arzu Esendemir

P.S. You can read more about the journey to getting Thumb Bread® out in the world by visiting the website.

Arzu, Fusun, and Gonca Esendemir holding Thumb Bread
Arzu, Fusun, and Gonca Esendemir

Trademark Notice
Thumb Bread® is a registered trademark of Flatbread Grill®. The burlap bag design is also a trademark of Flatbread Grill® and is protected by federal trademark laws.

12 Comments

  1. Your story reminds me of that movie “Field of Dreams.” “Build it and they will come” or in your case, “bake it and they will come.” The Esendemir Sisters’ success story with their Thumb Bread is a reminder to follow your dreams—if you’re willing to work hard. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

  2. So happy for you! We discovered FlatbreadGrill a few years ago and we’ve been coming back ever since. Your dedication and love for Mediterranean cuisine are so inspiring, you’ve created something truly amazing. Love, John & Sara!

  3. I think there should be a made-for-TV movie or perhaps even a documentary on the Esendemir Sisters and the story of Thumb Bread. It has drama and I’m sure it has some funny moments too as anyone who starts their own business knows it’s full of excitement, disappointment, and hopefully (as here) triumph! I can’t be the only person who feels this way.

  4. Fusun, Gonca, and Arzu are a good example of female empowerment. The story of Thumb Bread is heart-warming and inspirational at the same time. I look forward to reading more about your story and the road to success as well as new challenges (and opportunities) ahead of you.

  5. I’d like to know more about your business. It sounds like a traditional success story of someone having a vision and working hard to achieve it. However, I know from experience that every story is different. There may be some similarities in how Thumb Bread became a hit but there are the individual roles of the Esendemir Sisters and their experiences getting from point A to point B.

  6. Well done, girls! I get you, good bread makes everything better! I make my own sourdough bread and while it has been quite a ride – so many failed experiments – I couldn’t get back to buying that god-awful bread I find near my house.

  7. When I look at the Esendemir Sisters, I wonder what is different about them than other people who had dreams about launching their own business. Thumb Bread’s success didn’t come quickly and it seems like they had many mountains to climb. I’d love to learn more about their business experiences.

  8. I’ve been dreaming of opening my own bakery for YEARS now and I always find an excuse not to. You’ve inspired me to stop working on apologies and work on my dream instead.

  9. New insta follower here, that nutella & thumb bread pic makes my taste buds go wild. Need to give you a visit next time I’m in New jersey.

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