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Shawarma King Closes in Adams Morgan, Doner Bistro Coming Soon

by Prince Of Petworth July 30, 2012 at 10:22 pm 26 Comments

1654 Columbia Rd, NW

Shawarma King opened up at 1654 Columbia Rd, NW back in Dec. 2008. They competed in a battle for the Shawarmas with nearby Shawarma Spot here and here. We had a proper judging in Nov. 2011. Sadly their doors have now closed. But a new spot will take their place – Doner Bistro:

Our Döner is more than a meal, it’s a fusion of cultures and ideals stuffed into grilled flat bread and made to your individual tastes.

Enjoy our spiced meat prepared daily, fresh fixings of natural ingredients and beverages such as imported beer, wine and organic lemonade in a welcoming environment; the recipe for a perfect day. Come by and experience the modern taste and feel of Germany without buying a plane ticket.

You can see their menus here.

And more description:

Thoroughly European

Everything from beer poured into the right style glass to the radio station’s German beats to its little quirky details, Döner Bistro is your first class ticket.

It’s your day, your life; you deserve a little fun :-)

But what the f*** is a Döner?

The Döner Kebab (meaning “turning meat”) is a traditional Turkish dish served with rice on a platter.

In the 1970’s, a Turkish entrepreneur in Germany altered this dish by stuffing the Döner meat into a flatbread with salad and sauce.

This form better suited the German taste and hectic lifestyle, and its popularity quickly spread from Germany throughout Europe into Australia, Canada and across the world.

Our version of the meat cones are made in house.
We do not use pre-processed meat, fillers or preservatives.

All our menu items are made to order right in front of your eyes!

  • Craig

    This is awesome. I’ve been waiting so long for them to move closer than Leesburg. Sweet! This’ll be great.

  • Denizen of Tenallytown

    I’ll be there regularly if the food tastes as good as it looks on the online menu. Hope they decide to do lamb doner, that’s my jam. I’m curious about one of the pictures in the slideshow, though. It looks like an electric rotary saw is being used to slice the meat:


    I do feel bad about Shawarma King’s demise. It was the kind of place that PoPville posters (say they) want – a mom and pop shop that serves authentic cuisine for a decent price. Unfortunately, the food was hit or miss and the location was just far enough away from the 18th St strip activity to miss the crowds. Couple that with DC’s ridiculously high commercial rental rates and it’s sadly another independently owned shop going bust in this hot local economy.

    • Anon X

      Unfortunately, with this place the hits were defined as barely edible and the misses were defined as an unmitigated disaster.

      • Denizen of Tenallytown

        When the place first opened, it was a damn good sandwich if you got there at the right time. I think in response to lower than expected sales after the first year or so, corners were cut and quality suffered.

        • David

          I disagree. I have been frequenting this place since it opened in 2008. I used to stop in almost more than weekly on bike rides home to Mt. Pleasant and then would walk up the hill for their delicious falafel once I moved down to U Street. I think the food was consistently good, and they easily had some of the best falafel I have had in the US, certainly in DC. It was filled with herbs and fried just long enough. The toppings were great and the hummus was perfect. If anything, I thought they made improvements to the menu.

          This is to say nothing about the quality of the service from the Mom and Pop, who I believe were transplants from Jerusalem. They were such friendly, kind, warm-hearted people. Even when dealing with drunken weekend folk coming in from 18th street, they provided great service and conversation deep into the night.

          I will miss this place very much, but its replacement does look pretty cool.

          • Denizen of Tenallytown

            I missed this post earlier today. So if the food and service were that great, what happened?

            (I have eaten there a couple times during non-peak hours and the beef shawarma tasted like day old potroast, I’m sorry to say.)

  • Anonymous

    so it’s exactly the same restaurant, except branded as european, not middle eastern?

    • Nope. Shawarma is Middle Eastern; Doners are Turkish/Greek which the “gastarbeiter” brought with them to Germany in the 1960s, and the Germans took to. It’s also closer to gyros in consistency, but the toppings differ depending on what part of Germany you’re from. The Leesburg store is excellent, closer to a German biergarten, and they also serve currywursts, falafel, and have an impressive selection of imported German beers. If it’s anything like the Leesburg shop, it will be crowded all the time.

  • Grand Funk

    Bummer, I really liked that place and the owner was very friendly.

  • PG

    I’ve been to the one in Leesburg and it’s really good. Looking forward to this.

  • anonz

    I am giddy with anticipation.

  • Gr Goonsmith

    Loved the Shwarma King! Long live the KING

  • Doener is the strongest argument for Turkish inclusion in the EU.

  • Anony

    This is amazing. Yay!

    Doener is as German as bratwurst and bier. Just don’t say that to a German.

  • Andy

    DONER?! Awesome!

    Actually I may be even looking forward more to the currywurst.

  • Anonymous

    Doner Bistro? Wow! Maybe they’ll re-enact the Doner Dinner Party (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donner_Party). I get dibs on a nice, meaty thigh!

  • Loyal Subject


  • DonerMeNow

    Dear Doner Owners — I live around the corner, LOVE doner, and am chubby and rich!

    You will see me soon and often!

  • dave b

    mmmm. meat cones…

  • Anonymous

    This stuff is delicious. It’s basically just like gyro meat.

  • The “meat” is shaved off a rotating elephant’s leg

  • This excites me greatly.

  • Shawn

    I am so so excited for this. I literally went to Shawarma King after coming back from Europe hoping it would be Doner Kebab when it wasn’t.

  • B-Dale

    Tony Stark would be sad.

  • jeepster

    While the new place sounds good, I doubt they’ll have Stella for 2.95/btl (a steal!) and it was the only outdoor hookah in town. And cigar friendly, and open til 0400 on weekends. I never ate there, but stopped on the way home several times every week for a beer or six. What a great disappointment to walk by there last week and see the shuttered up look and then to read the sign. Hope the new owners keep some of the old traditions.

  • Manny AdMo

    I am also going to miss the folks of Shawarma King. They were awesome and the food was good all the time. Their hummus was out of this world. I am really going to miss it in the neighborhood.
    I hope the new place brings a new vibe and new energy to that section of Columbia Road. A lot of cool, young people live in the area, so it is time to bring cool places to that section of Admo. Looking forward to it.


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