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Global Berlin: A Döner in New York

Techno, history, food: Berlin culture is the stuff of legend. So much so that its influence is popping up all over the world — including the legendary Döner.


The Kotti Döner © Nisanova Studio

Erkan Emra rustled up his first kebab at home in his Brooklyn kitchen. He was missing his favourite childhood dish from Kottbusser Tor, which was nowhere to be found among the bagels and burgers of New York.

Kreuzberg born and bred, Emra was experienced with design — but with buildings, not flatbread. He worked as an architect in New York for 14 years and moved into property development in 2015. Until 2017, that is.

Now he’s making waves in New York with his ‚Kotti Berliner Döner Kebab‘ and the infectious #doyoudöner? hashtag. In fact, the Berlin-inspired eatery quickly became New York’s latest street food sensation — and it happened fast.

It was March 2017 when he opened his first permanent stand in a shopping mall, followed by a second three months later. Now, the Berlin boy has just signed a ten-year contract for a third fixed stand in the hip, up-and-coming Brooklyn Navy Yard.

But, the burning question: how good is this kebab by Berlin standards? Well, it’s made from 100% hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken (beef is added in summer) and it’s kept outdoors. There are no freezers. All ingredients are fresh, sustainable and local. A kebab costs $13.88 — which might sound steep but is certainly not deterring the curious crowds.

So next time you’re in the Big Apple and craving the taste of Sonnenallee, you know exactly where to go.

Translated from original text by Erik Heier

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