In the 1960’s, there had been a huge labor shortage within Europe and a guest worker program was initiated to feel the void of skilled laborers. The Berlin Wall went up and restricted the flow of workers from East Germany coming over to West Germany. Turkey at the same time had a huge unemployment rate and they came to mainland Europe to work. From that point on Turkish food began to influence mainstream German cuisine. Today the Turkish population within Germany is now 15% of 80 million+ inhabitants.
Hasir Restaurant, where it all began. Forty + years ago a man named Mahmut Aygun started the European craze of the Doner Kebab. The “kebab king”,was born in Turkey and moved to Germany at the age of 16 to open a snack stall. At the time the Doner Kebab was eaten on a plate with rice and vegetables. Mahmut had the bright idea of putting the delicious kebab meat inside fresh baked flat bread. As he put, “It allowed customers who had been drinking to wander off into the night with their food and eat it as they stumbled home.” The first of the new snacks was served on March 2, 1971, at Hasir, his restaurant in Berlin. He also went on to invent the yoghurt sauce often served with a doner kebab. Doner Kebab became so popular within Europe that they now outsell other traditional dishes like fish and chips in the UK.
Mahmut’s brilliance is how he modified the Doner Kebab for the mainland European palette. He used normal everyday vegetables germans like to eat and mixed it all together. Typically, along with the meat, there is chopped lettuce, red cabbage, onions, cucumber, and tomatoes are offered, as well as a choice of sauces—hot sauce (scharfe Soße), herb sauce (Kräutersoße), garlic sauce (Knoblauchsoße), or yogurt (Joghurtsoße). The Kebab is served in thick flatbread (Fladenbrot) that is usually toasted or warmed.
Ben, who is originally from Germany talked about how good the late night fast food was in Germany. From Doner Kebabs, currywurst and fries, schnitzel on a piece of bread. Matt, realizing that the food is unique and really good packed up and moved to Denver to join what is now Doner King food truck. Connor is the brother of Ben and has been in and out of the food service industry for 8+ years.