This article originally appeared in Germany's BILD and has been translated into English below.
BY CLAUDIA HAJ ALI IN BILD, 10/24/2016
An idea borne of a growling stomach…
Germans Open New York's
New York – Germany is the source of the latest trend in New York, where Americans are standing in line for a real Berlin Döner kebab!
Customers have been enthusiastic about the pair's Döner kebabs, a dish that hasn't been available in the area until now. "Tastes just as good as it does at Berlin's best Döner stands," says Sam Smith, 22.
No Döner in the Big Apple? Then Just Do It Yourself!
The idea to open a Döner stand came to Berlin native Emre, who has been living in New York since 1997, when his own stomach was growling – and he felt a craving for the kind of food he used to eat in Berlin.
Emre, a German of Turkish descent, desperately searched the streets in the shadow of skyscrapers for Döner stands, but to no avail.
But what he found was frustrated New Yorkers who had visited Berlin as tourists and were now yearning for Döner kebabs. This led Emre to decide to take matters into his own hands, despite his lack of experience in the food service industry.
He got in touch with Stark, whose resume included a stint as sous-chef at the legendary Tribeca Grill owned by US actor Robert De Niro. All the two men needed was a culinary journey to Berlin. After consuming a few Döner kebabs, they made the decision to open their own business!
The hard work of running a Döner kebab stand
It took two years from the concept stage until their Döner stand in New York was open for business. That's because both Emre and Stark have full-time jobs. Emre works for a real estate company in Brooklyn and Stark is an employee of online supermarket Fresh Direct.
They run the Döner kebab shop on weekends. "We work 60 hours a week," says Emre. "We don't have any weekends off."
The two entrepreneurs only use chicken in their pitas, instead of the traditional beef and veal. "It just tastes better to New Yorkers," Erkan Emre explains.
The Döner kebab pioneers are now dreaming of making the Turkish-German specialty popular throughout the United States.