Food Box

Döner Shack, Baby

Dining on Fort Street Mall is a multi-cultural affair. You’ve got Japanese, Thai, Filipino, Vietnamese, American, Indian, Mexican, and now Turkish food to boot.

That’s right, The Döner Shack, perhaps the only Turkish food joint on the island, is officially back and hopefully it’s for longer than a month. Since last fall, the Shack has been popping up in odd locations–first in Maunakea Marketplace, then in an illegally parked food truck and even an empty elevator shaft–but it now appears as if it has a permanent home in the kitchen of Soho Mixed Media Bar.

The word “döner” in Turkish means “to roast” and refers to the way the meat self-bastes on a vertical spit for hours until it is just tender enough to be sliced off and put into sandwiches. Shawarma and gyro are variations of the original döner kebab, but Donald Moriarty, co-owner of the Shack, says that of the three, the döner is considered the best.

The sandwich itself is simple–grilled beef or chicken, a filling of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, and a special yogurt garlic sauce are all wrapped up in a flour tortilla or pita–all for a budget-friendly $5.25. Other options on the menu include a döner wrap or sandwich with humus and feta ($7.25), a BBQ chicken and feta döner ($6.75), a vegetarian döner ($5.50), a BBQ chicken and feta salad ($7) or fresh hummus and pita ($3.75).

Moriarty, an Oahu native who managed a BBQ restaurant in Boston for three years, likes to keep his menu as simple and authentic as possible. In fact, he is so serious about his recipes that he refuses to even speak about them. But, considering how he spent more than half a year traveling through Europe and Asia sampling various döner kebabs and talking with the immigrant Turkish population in Berlin (the purported birthplace of the modern-day döner kebab), his secrecy is understandable.

In addition to his secret recipes, Moriarty has added one more unique flare to the menu: a plate-lunch version of the döner kebab. Because, as we all know, no lunch in Hawaii is complete without a heaping mound of white rice on the plate.

The Döner Shack, 80 Pauahi St., Mon.–Fri., 10am–mid-afternoon, cash only.