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Chef Rick Gur

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Who would have thought the recently opened Kiss Lounge on Woodlawn Road offers dinner? (And we're talking comfort food like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chicken wings, burgers and the like.) Owner and chef Rick Gur, who also co-owns The Sunset Club, says he opened Kiss because he missed dealing with food. On Sept. 1, the spot will begin serving lunch as well.

Creative Loafing: How did you become involved in the food industry?

Rick Gur: When I moved to America [from Turkey], I was 19 years old. I started as a dishwasher at Shoney's. Then I worked at Applebee's as a sous chef. Then I was working in New York as a server in the summertime. I've always been in the food business. Finally, I had an opportunity to open a restaurant in New York, in Manhattan. It was very successful, so I ended up opening another one before moving here.

What's your preferred cooking style?

I never follow recipes; it's kind of like an artist. I just look and try to create something. But if you ask me to redo the same dish, I sometimes can't do it. I like fixing my food at home with a glass of wine and listening to good music. That's the biggest pleasure to me. At Kiss, in the beginning of the night, if it's slow, I can put a lot of energy into cooking and preparing the food. But as the night gets busier, it becomes more of a job to me. Then I leave the kitchen.

What is your most unique dish at Kiss Lounge?

Paninis are one-of-a-kind. We have three signature paninis. And our hot dog. I'm serving a 10-inch hot dog in a small bun. People will look at the plate and will be talking about it.

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