Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
Newest Kebab Shop! (Sprechen Sie Deutsch?)
They say Indian food has conquered the UK. The most popular dish over there isn’t fish and chips or roast beef, it’s chicken tikka masala, that rich Indian dish with a kinda tomatoey, creamy sauce over the top of chunks of roasted chicken. They’re even calling it a “true British national dish.”
But that's what's happening in Europe. And hey, why not? Fresh blood. New ideas. Like in Spain and Switzerland, the Turkish kebab is becoming the street food everybody snacks on. And judging by the rapid spread of kebab shops around this town, it’s happening here in ’Diego too.
So there I was, hurrying down from Little Italy to top up my laughable account in the bank, ’t’other day, when I spotted this kebab place...
And what really caught my eye was this sign…
It was in the window of The Kebab Shop (303 West Beech Street, at Beech and Union, Little Italy, 619-550-5481) in what turns out to be the newest addition to this growing little chain. (They have four so far).
But “Mit Scharf?”
“It means ‘With hot sauce?’” says Max, the manager.
Oh yeah. That explains the rest of the sign.
Max says the owner who started this town's first kebabbery, The Kebab Shop at 9th and Market in East Village, had lived in Zurich, in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.
“He’d gotten hooked on the kebab thing there. It was like taco shops here. They've become the most common street food in Europe. He wanted to create that same healthy, fast, cheap food in San Diego. So yeah, the German-Swiss - along with Turkish - influence is big in our company. We just put that sign up for fun.”
I see prices, like a lamb döner kebab, or an open box of the same meat without the wrap, costs $6.79. Pretty good for the amount you get. If I didn’t have to make the bank before six, I’d be getting one right now, for sure.
Then, uh oh. On the way out I see another notice on their Beech street window…
Michael, one of the cooks...
...says they had applied for a wine and beer license, but that occupants in this new condo building they’re in (Aperture at 1494 State) objected. “They worried about late night noise,” he says. “Except they didn’t realize we close at ten. That’s why we’ve put this notice up.”
They say the whole process of re-applying will probably take “a few months.”
Good luck on that, really, ’cause one thing’s for sure. A seven-buck lamb kebab and a glass of wine, sitting under a nice sidewalk umbrella…can’t be beat.
So come on, you condoïstas at Aperture...
...give them a helping hand here. Tell the ABC you’ve changed your minds.
Hey, this could become your very own local gathering spot. You could be down here sipping wine and ordering your Iskender kebab "mit scharf"...
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