The carnage. What have we become? Who must we be to do so much damage, so efficiently. It’s too late now, and I doubt anyone who had not been there from the beginning could tell what took place. However, as we sit at this table, once clean but now made dirty with our liters and leftovers, we know the delicious tale.
We are at Verts, a Berlin döner kebap inspired restaurant founded in Austin, Texas by Michael and Dominik, two Germans who missed their savory home food. Today is the first opening of many Houston locations, and a cluster of friends and I stand in line amongst curious foodies in great anticipation. As I torment in the seemingly endless cue, I question the intentions, and even the motivations, of everyone around me.
“Do they even know what a kebap is?! Or are they just here for the free food and St. Arnold’s beer samples!? Gastronomic scoundrel opportunists!”
Verts offers traditional döner kebaps, durum wraps, and vegan substitutes with every item under 560 calories. That’s nice for those who care, but at this point, I am only counting the seconds until I order. A kindly worker passes through the line asking if anyone wants ‘swag’. I’m not sure what that means, but after a better look I see Verts paraphernalia in her possession. Koozies. Sun Glasses. Free hair cuts? Oh my.
“If you fill out this survey you have a chance to get free kebaps for a year,” she says.
I nod casually, while my mouth waters rivers of tasty anticipation. I have a history with kebabs. I once did an alternative tour in Berlin which explained the history of kebap. In La Roche Sur-Yon, France I was known for my passion, and perhaps addiction to kebaps. While people passed their time snapping selfies for their news feeds, I only needed to write; kebap. With one simple word everyone knew I was smiling. No selfie needed.
One time, a friend bet me that I could not go without kebap for a week. I went 11 days, after which I binged everyday for two weeks. As we finally enter Verts, it has been 7 months since I had a proper kebab, so I can only imagine the approaching massacre. I take a döner with beef/lamb, lettuce, spicy sauce, and fries. I smile all the way to my seat, and wait for my comrades to join me. For some, it is there first time. I want to see the pleasure in their eyes. When we’re all seated, the lunchtime slaughter begins. We bite into those kebaps like we would never bite again. A piece of lettuce falls. A wayward napkin will never be used. We eat comically fast, as for some awesome reason Chiq’s classic song, Le Freak, is playing throughout the restaurant.Then, it’s over. We sit back eyeing the culinary carnage.
Such a tasty treat deserved our full attention, and we gave it just that. We prayerfully fill out our feedback cards, rub our tummies, and leave. The peaceful spring afternoon is ignorant to the wild scene that took place at our table, but we know where we've been. We know what we've eaten.
“Let’s go again next week,” says a friend.
“Oh, we’ll be there...And we’ll be hungry too.”
Go to www.vertskebap.com for more information about the restaurant and the new locations
Go here to read about my kebap experience in Berlin http://bit.ly/QLUrVs