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5 Things to Look for at Döner Bistro

Adams Morgan’s new late-night spot is bringing the fun with foosball and plenty of beers.

A spiced beef döner, hot from the spit. Photograph by Melissa Romero.

Watch out, Jumbo Slice—there’s a new late-night game in town. Döner Bistro soft-opened yesterday afternoon, and is set to be the new place for post-bar noshing. But don’t get us wrong. We stopped by in the sober light of day, and would happily return for lunch. The eponymous sandwich—a German-Turkish hybrid with spiced beef or chicken, topped with slaw, tomatoes, and garlic-yogurt sauce—is the rare genre of food you’d want to eat before, during, and after a few beers. Here are five things to look for when you drop by.

Electric Meat Shavers

Not only is this a great name for an indie band, but you’ll find employees wielding these machines, shaving thin slices of spiced beef and chicken off of rotating spits. The gyro-style “meat cones” (possibly the Electric Meat Shavers’ opening act) aren’t the typical variety you’ll find in fast food spots, shipped from afar and packed with preservatives. These are made in house: Meats are marinated overnight in a mix of spices, sliced thin, molded onto spits, and then slow-roasted on the rotisserie. Once you place an order, the tender meat is shaved off and placed in toasted flat bread, topped with tomatoes, cucumbers, tangy slaw, and garlic-yogurt sauce.

Fried Foods (Eventually)

The fryer is just getting set up today, so you probably won’t find the full menu until early next week. Right now, döner, salads, bratwurst, and currywurst—sliced brats spread with curried ketchup—are what you’ll be ordering along with your stein. Once the restaurant is officially open, look for falafel, veal schnitzel, and hand-cut, double-fried pommes.

Kegs You Can Sit On

The bistro is funky and small, with patterned walls, a dangling chandelier, and a 40-person capacity. Grab one of the orange picnic-style tables with friends—ten on a side makes for a cozy nosh session—or make new ones by plunking down solo. In order to maximize the space, the owners have also designed 16 “keg seats,” full kegs about the height of a bar stool that pump beer while you sip your own.

A Mini Biergarten

No room inside? Migrate to one of the four picnic-style tables on the open-air patio. Hopefully the weather will stay perfect for sipping the 24 bottled brews, including varieties from Germany, Austria, and Turkey (a nod to the döner’s origin). Beer nerd trivia: you can order a bottle from one of the oldest breweries in the world, Weihenstephaner, which started nearly a thousand years ago as a monastery brewery for Benedictine monks.


When we arrived, there were already devoted fans in matching soccer jerseys sipping beers and dominating the foosball table. The good news: Döner Bistro is a few blocks down Columbia Road off the AdMo “strip,” so you may not always have to fight crowds (drunken and not) for a chance on the table.

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