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Shawarma vs Gyros Cont. Owners of Charcoal Town Respond: “we went to great lengths to ensure that every one still can like both places for their own specialties!” Opening Wed. (5/31)

by Prince Of Petworth May 30, 2017 at 10:30 am 22 Comments

2019 11th Street, NW just north of U Street

Last week we learned Charcoal Town, Shawarma, was coming to the former Chix space next to The Greek Spot at 11th and U St, NW. The owner of Greek Spot took umbrage. Now the owners of Charcoal Town respond with a message of reconciliation:

“Our main dish (Charcoal Shawarma) is so unique to that level of being provided for first time in the US.

And still, with the similarity in cuisine name, Mediterranean/middle eastern and Mediterranean/Greek cuisine can provide a wide range of options and we kept that in mind while preparing our menu for legal(Neighbors contract with the landlord) and moral reasons.

Legally, we can’t mention any neighbors lease details, but we definitely made sure not to breach any point of it,and no one can accuse us of breaching any contract unless ruled differently in a legal way.

neighborhood can see the similarities, all based on assumption, but when we open on 5/31 our guests will see (and taste) the differences and how we went to great lengths to ensure that every one still can like both places for their own specialties! We are just adding awesomeness to the awesomeness that already been provided in the neighborhood rather than being a competitor and forcing people to make a choice between one or the other.

  • B’Dale Res

    Shawarma and gyros are very different from each other. It is like a chinese restaurant getting pissed that a thai restaurant is opening next door. Two very different styles of cuisine that seem to be the same amongst the layman. I look forward to visiting both, when I have a urge for Greek or Arab.

    • Carey

      But the shawarma/gyro/kebab you get around here are far more similar than they are different.

    • JoDa

      I mean, I know the difference between the two, and even have a preference, but non-compete clauses in commercial leases are usually defined in broad enough terms that Charcoal Town would not be allowed to move into a neighboring building owned by the same landlord in most cases. Greek Spot is not grasping at straws to say their lease terms were violated.
      Here’s an example of this at play: when Rhode Island Row opened, Dunkin Donuts expressed interest in the retail. Unfortunately, they were beaten to the punch by Bergami’s, which, while a pizza place, served coffee. The leasing structure disallowed two coffee-serving establishments, even if coffee was a peripheral activity of a restaurant serving *mostly* other food, so Dunkin couldn’t move in. Within days of Bergami’s closing up, Dunkin signed a lease and started build-out.
      So, it seems to me that if Greek Spot is accurately reporting that their lease has a non-compete clause, their landlord violated it by allowing Charcoal Town to open up. Not commenting on the merits of either business, but if your lease says your landlord can’t lease neighboring properties under their control to similar or identical concepts, you have a right to have that lease clause enforced.

  • LedroitTiger

    One thing is for sure: Both offer bad sounding steak & cheese sandwiches. At least they don’t call them cheesesteaks…

  • MadMax

    Hard to believe this is a real issue in a city where a burger place is seemingly on every corner.

  • anon

    Don’t forget that McDonald’s is nothing like McDowell’s. While McDonald’s has the golden arches, McDowell’s has the golden arcs. McDonald’s has the Big Mac, but McDowell’s has the Big Mick. They both have two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions. But McDonald’s buns have sesame seeds. McDowell’s buns have no seeds.

    • Dash Newton

      Just let your Soul Glow, anon.

    • Garth Algar


    • CM

      anon, you already won this week.

  • Anon

    I have had Shawarma and Gyros. They are nearly the same thing. We would like something different in the neighborhood. We love Greek Spot and their Gyros. I and many of my neighbors plan to ignore Charcoal town and support a business that also has supported the neighborhood.

    • wdc

      It’s not a zero sum game. You can continue supporting the old place, and still show some love to the new place. I guarantee that they’re not identical. And then you’ll have TWO businesses supporting the neighborhood.

    • MadMax

      “support a business that also has supported the neighborhood”
      That’s somewhat of a ridiculous standard, given that the other one hasn’t had that opportunity yet. It’s like saying why ever vote for new politicians when the one in place has done something to benefit you.

    • Q

      Then you’ve been eating them in the wrong place. Shawarma and gyros are very different animals, from meat to toppings to sauce.

  • northeazy

    You’d almost think with all this turmoil that the Greeks (gyros) and the Turks (shawarma) were bitter enemies for millennia.

    • Q


    • MadMax


    • anon

      Shawarma is not Turkish. It’s Arab. UGH.

  • Anonymous

    Seems like Greek Spot is going to great lengths to bully the new competition. Will be nice to have a new option in the neighborhood!

  • Margrave of Mt. Vernon

    Page 2 of a google search turns up: shawarmainnchicago.com/

    Shenanigans! The Margrave has spoken.

  • HashtagActually

    1. Anyone who has been anywhere near Dearborn, Michigan can assure you that a shawarma cooked over charcoal has been provided in the US for some time. At like, a lot of places.

    2. Anyone who thinks that a shawarma is the the same as a gyro probably also thinks that flammekuechle is no different from pizza.

    3. I’ve always thought of shawarma as more Lebanese, while the Turks are responsible for doner kebab and beating peaceful protestors.

  • John

    Gyro is made of Blended meat, combination of lamb and beef, formed into a loaf before roasted on a spit.The shawarma meat cone is made from packed-down slices of meat—either chicken, or lamb,. A shawarma also requires a different preparation than a gyro, as its meat is marinated for as long as a day in a variety of seasonings and spices, like allspice, bay leaves, cinnamon, dried lime, vinegar, and cardamom.

    The only common between those two is both are shaved the same way .
    Two different concepts .
    I say it is good to have new concepts especially this one is Shawarma on charcoal . most likely found in Turkey,Jordon, and Lebanon.
    More concepts means more options means more costumers…

  • AnonU

    I’m a long time g-spot customer. I gave charcoal town a chance tonight. They’re a bit disorganized in kitchen. Took some time with minor mistakes. I can overlook that. It might improve.

    Sadly, many of the sides and general business concept (meat wrapped) are too similar. G-spot wins out on fries and they’re gyro is superior to the charcoal chicken shwar, which was dry and a bit drab. I recognize the D.C. intelligentsia will say they’re apples to oranges. I don’t like those people, and theyre just wrong. That said, the charcoal hummus was creamy and delicious. Overall victory to g-spot by quite a bit. I will go back to shwar town if g-spot is closed one day and see if the shwar gets juicier and better.


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