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Döner Men Are Bringing Doner Kebab To Chicago

By Melissa McEwen in Food on May 15, 2014 3:00PM

(Image courtesy of The Salsa Truck)

All across Europe, it’s the ubiquitous late night meal after a night out drinking. But here it’s almost unheard of. Until now. The Döner Men are bringing European-style Doner kebab to the Chicago bar scene with their new food truck, which made its debut on Dark Lord Day.

Doner kebab came to Europe from Turkey. The number of Doner kebabs restaurants is so high in many European cities like Berlin that competition spurred the development of new-fangled toppings for the iconic spit-roasted meat. Shawn Podgurski and Phil Naumann traveled through Berlin and studied as many local Doner kebabs as they could. Podgurski said, “the toppings are really what makes it different from shawarma.” The bread is also a key part, as the Doner kebab is almost always served as a sandwich rather than a wrap.

One of the toppings they brought back from Germany was flash-fried vegetables, which adds a colorful accent to their spit-roasted chicken. That’s topped with a shirazi salad made from parsley tomato, cucumber, onion, lemon juice and olive oil, as well as a variety of crunchy vegetables like tomato and red cabbage. There will be two sauces available - a tzatziki sauce made from half goat’s milk and half cow’s milk, and a spicy chili sauce.

They are also serving currywurst, another favorite German snack. They plan to keep their menu simple, but also offer a few specials like Longaniza, a sweet Filipino sausage. They also will add lamb and beef to their kebab line-up.

They hope to bring their truck, which should be through the regulatory hurdles soon, to many different bars across Chicago so that drinkers can get their kebab fix. In the meantime, they serve at The Salsa Truck’s Garage (116 N. Aberdeen St.) today for lunch and dinner (Update- they report they sold out for lunch and will not be open for dinner).

Correction (thanks Chad!): Döner Men is not the only European-style doner kebab in Chicago. SP Kebab (6808 N Sheridan.) in Rogers Park offers European-style doner kebab as well. If you know of any other similar spots, let us know in the comments. There are also plenty of great Turkish restaurants in Chicago that offer a more traditional Turkish Doner kebab like Cafe Orchid.