Will a posh doner kebab kickstart the High Street?

Photograph: German Doner Kebab

The Germans made a mess of High Street during World War Two, we made a mess of it afterwards, and there is an irony that the first seeds of future regeneration might be coming in the shape of a German doner kebab.

The upmarket German Doner Kebab is opening at Telegraph House in space previously occupied by Santander. The former headquarters of the Telegraph and Star were built between 1913 and 1916 by Sheffield architects Gibbs, Flockton & Teather, and constructed by George Longden & Son.

Photograph: Sheffield Star

German Doner Kebab opened its first store in Berlin in 1989, and while we might turn our noses up at a cheap takeaway favourite, these promise to be different. According to its website, the kebabs use beef and meats imported from Germany, enhancing them with ‘secret sauces’ and locally-produced vegetables in a special bread.

The doner kebab was a Turkish creation, but its popularity came from Germany. More than 17 million are now sold throughout the country. In Berlin, there are over 1,000 kebab eateries and they even outsell the city’s most famous snack, the Currywurst.

In the late 1950s, thousands of Turkish workers made their way to West Germany to support a depleted workforce. As the country’s economic fortunes changed in the 1960s, many Turks sought alternative employment in hospitality.

Three of these Turkish workers would have their names intrinsically linked with the introduction of the Döner Kebab.Kadir Nurman opened a small eatery at the Zoologischer Garten train station, Mehmet Aygün claims to have introduced the kebab at his parents Turkish restaurant in 1971, while Nevzat Salim opened a snack stand in Reutlingen – near Stuttgart – back in 1969.

As with any culinary creation, sourcing its actual origin is always problematic – like most things, food and recipes evolve, but now the German doner will finally find its way to Sheffield.

Photograph: German Doner Kebab

© 2021 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.