The Döner Brös food truck, known for traditional Turkish-style street food popular in Europe, will open its first physical location in Charles Village in early September.
Longtime friends and business partners Steven Banks and Alex Politsch will set up shop in the Nine East 33rd student apartment building near the Johns Hopkins University in hopes of serving the campus, neighborhood and nearby Union Memorial Hospital.
Döner is Turkish for “rotary,” and describes the way the meat — typically lamb, beef or chicken — is cooked. Similar to shawarma or al pastor, döner meat is stacked on a rotisserie and cooked slowly on a rotating spit.
Banks and Politsch will continue to serve menu staples like döner sandwiches and Turkish nachos, and plan to add rice bowls, döner boxes and döner pizza — flatbread topped with pizza sauce, cheese and döner meat. Customers can choose which meat, toppings and sauces they want to pile onto homemade bread or a durum wrap.
The store will also serve falafel as a vegetarian option and salads for gluten-free diners.
“It’s something we wanted to do on the truck but we couldn’t do it,” said Politsch. “Now we have the space to do it.”
With the brick-and-mortar store, Döner Brös will be more accessible, Politsch said. The menu will be available on Grub Hub and Uber Eats. The store will serve lunch and dinner and will stay open late.
Döner Brös hit the road in a bright orange food truck in June 2017, but the inspiration for the menu came in 2015 after Banks and Politsch fell in love with döner kabobs at Oktoberfest in Germany.
“We thought it was just going to be a week of drinking beer and eating sausages and we stumbled upon one of Europe’s best-kept secrets,” Politsch said. “It was love at first sight.”
On the plane ride back to Baltimore, Banks and Politsch decided to ditch their careers in financial advising and sales to bring the European delicacy to the States.
“We were a pretty immediate hit in Baltimore,” said Politsch. “There are a lot of people familiar with döner, but it just doesn’t exist in America. It’s an untapped market and it’s something that people reminisce about.”
While Politsch said he and Banks are “excited” for their new venture, they just want to pay homage to the dish that made their Germany trip so memorable.
“Our goal is to keep it very authentic and traditional,” said Politsch.
Baltimore Sun reporter Anna Muckerman contributed to this article.