Thumb Bread: Bread For Everything™

Thumb Bread® an extraordinary artisanal bread is available in retail outlets
Thumb Bread® is the BREAD FOR EVERYTHING™, available at retail outlets

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. The bread didn’t actually exist anywhere outside of her mind. 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®, an extraordinary artisanal bread made in small batches, by hand.

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. 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 designed 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® at Flatbread Grill® while Gonca Esendemir looks on

Well, that dream is finally coming true- fourteen years later! 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. Follow @thumbbread to keep up to date!

Our retail partner, Shoprite, shot a video about the sisters who founded Thumb Bread®, Fusun, Gonca, and Arzu. Video by Tom Urtz. Jr. for SRS Shoprite / Wakefern, Inc.

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 responses to “Thumb Bread: Bread For Everything™”

  1. Bailey Thomas Avatar
    Bailey Thomas

    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. Sara Avatar

    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. Haley Summers Avatar
    Haley Summers

    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. Mallory Jackson Avatar
    Mallory Jackson

    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. David Smythe Avatar
    David Smythe

    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. Helen B. Avatar
    Helen B.

    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. Anne Avatar

    The power of the hustle is real, Esendemir sisters rule #alwaysgrinding

  8. Karl MacGavin Avatar
    Karl MacGavin

    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.

  9. Diane Avatar

    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.

  10. Chloe Avatar

    Can’t wait to get my hands on your thumb bread, it would go perfect with my mom’s hummus recipe.

  11. Aurora Mitchell Avatar
    Aurora Mitchell

    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.

  12. Roberta Avatar

    Just checked your website, will order online for next week’s party, can’t wait to taste your goodies!