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Seattle man brings Berlin döner to hungry Americans

The Local · 12 Aug 2011, 08:04

Published: 12 Aug 2011 08:04 GMT+02:00

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Victor Twu got a license to open a fast food spot and decided he wanted to do something unique and special, but he couldn’t quite figure out what. Then, on a visit to Berlin, he discovered döner – that delectable delight featuring salad, succulent meat and hot sauce.

“It was great! Fresh, juicy and it tasted really good,” he said. “In Berlin, there’s one on every corner.”

But it wasn’t easy to bring döners to Seattle. Twu’s biggest problem was that, while the similar Greek gyros are well known in the United States, döners require a special type of bread that is hard to find in the States.

Finally Twu found a baker to make it especially for him. Another problem: He didn’t have a perfect recipe, so Twu had to experiment extensively before he found something approaching Berlin standards.

His store, in Seattle’s happening Pioneer Square district, has since become a roaring success, attracting scores of local people, as well as homesick Germans, to try out döner. Many are surprised at the food on offer. While Germany is known internationally for its hearty meat and potatoes, döner has never really been identified with the country.

“Some pulled away in disappointment,” Twu admits – they were looking for bratwurst.

In many ways, “The Berliner” is a homage to Germany’s capital city – its logo includes a depiction of Berlin’s famed television tower and the store’s walls are covered with depictions of the Brandenburg Gate and graffiti.

During one recent lunch hour, long lines snaked through the store. One woman was incredulous when a reporter mentioned döners could be found on practically ever block in Berlin.

Story continues below…

“Man, you must be a happy people,” she said.

DPA/The Local/mdm

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Your comments about this article

11:31 August 12, 2011 by johnny108
He needs to open up another place close to an army base- all the GI's that have been stationed in Germany before, will drag ALL their friends and family to his place, to show them how good it is. He could make millions.....
14:14 August 12, 2011 by lucksi
As someone (forgot who) once put it "Who would want to eat something that looks like it has been shaved off a dead men's leg?"

Also, he is only selling Döner and not Bratwurst? Huh?
14:35 August 12, 2011 by marimay
He would go out of business selling bratwurst. No one wants that crap. German food isn't what comes to people's minds when they are hungry over there.
15:09 August 12, 2011 by Lachner
I think that Americans are crazy about hot dogs and fries, so he probably could also make a killing selling Bratwurst, Currywurst, Feuerwurst, Pommes and Sauerkraut.
15:42 August 12, 2011 by Ruhetag
Add Turkische Pizza and 50cl biers!! $$ Ka-Ching $$
18:05 August 12, 2011 by nec123
Doner and coke...hhmmm.. i am too hungry..
19:01 August 12, 2011 by Lachner
Let's not forget the delicious Yufka!!!!!
22:54 August 12, 2011 by mimi39
Most americans don't appreciate good food. I don't blame them,they don't know any better. But gee, couldn't you at least try it?????????
06:24 August 13, 2011 by c12dat
You guys a killing me!!! I could use a grillhaxe, currywurst, blutwurst, doner, Lamachune doner, a kilo of spargle and sparglesuppe ... almost forgo my frikadellen.

There are too many "all you can eat" restaurants here in the US; unfortunately. Most are not good.

I'll gladly go back to Walter Imbiss in Wiesbaden for a meal any day.

Must cry myself to sleep now.
09:43 August 13, 2011 by Shirazz
"Most are not good"....that's why they are "all you can eat"....'cause you ain't gonna eat 'em all.
10:29 August 13, 2011 by marimay
Only fat people go to "all you can eat" places.
22:03 August 13, 2011 by EinWolf
After working the midnight shift at T-berg, I went to sleep early on Christmas Day. I got up at my normal time and went to the chow hall to eat dinner only find it closed! They had changed the hours. I had just missed it.

The only thing open was the doner kebab place just outside the main gate at the Andrews Kaserne ... That was my Christmas Dinner! ... And it was good. I ate two of them.
04:49 August 14, 2011 by BerlinGurrl
Damn! I have not eaten a Doener in over 23 years and I am still hungry for them, if the guy in Seattle is ever thinking about opening branches in NJ, DO TELL ME!!! I'd be buying them with a stock option (stocking my fridge and freezer with em) Never been up that far on the West Coast, but geez, I'm thinking, just for the Doener alone a trip over and up there...dying over here to have just one more time the taste and the wonderful stuffing in those "fladen brot" bread...I'd kill for one!
18:11 August 14, 2011 by evabakes
BerlinGurrl, there are several Doener shops in NYC !!!!! Just do a web search . I found this out because the owners of the Doener shop near my Oma's house (I have tears in my eyes just THINKING of the Doener!) told me her brother has a shop in NY. When I got back to the States, I looked it up , and YES, wonders above wonders, there ARE Doener shops in NY , made the proper way , no guesswork involved, reasonably priced ! Cross the bridge and enjoy !!! :)
22:01 August 14, 2011 by MichMash115
I had my first "doner kebap" in Sydney - they´re not made with the fladenbrot, but like the döner rolled up in flatbread you can buy here. I was very pleased to discover there was at least one type of food I wouldn´t have to give up when I moved to the land of the bratwurst ;-) I don´t know if the kebap got to Sydney via Berlin, but I think Sydney might win the prize for being further away from the Döner capital than Seattle :-))

...oh, and if anyone opened a Vietnamese restaurant, or a restaurant making a good Laksa in Hannover I think I would kiss their feet!
23:17 August 14, 2011 by vaninberlin
odd, in Vancouver (BC) there are loads of doenar shops, not the same bread but the same sort of filling, been there for years. meine frau use to laugh at the name of one of them on Davie St. near my flat, and till I moved here I had no idea why she said that they were a bit small.

No matter what, I wish him luck!
03:35 August 16, 2011 by c12dat
Hello MichMash115,

I have try to eat at every Vietnamese Restaurants in every town that I visit in Germany.... in addition to the grill haxe and donners. Prepare to be disappointed :-( I think one main reason is the cost of the produce/ingredients involved in making good Vietnamese cuisine. The portion of the entree is 'small' in comparion to similar dishes in the US. A nice bowl of pho can be had, but since the mad-cow disease scare; you will have a problem finding good beef soup bone to make the broth; which is essential to the dish. There was a very nice Vietnamese restaurant east of the Stuttgart Airport with a large menu selection, but they have closed down a few years ago. If you want to eat really good authentic Vietnamese food in Europe, head over to Paris; you can't go wrong there.
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