-Grubbing in ChicagoGerman Doner in Lakeview
Chicago has seen a large wave of Turkish food in the last couple years. Cool by me as Turkey is #1 on my European travel bucket list. That said most of the Turkish spots that have opened up shop are traditional Turkish restaurants. So it was with great surprise when I came across a real deal German style Doner shop in Lincoln Park / Lakeview just this past Spring. It's on Diversey east of Clark street.
Newly Opened in Lakeview
Doner is Turkeys version of thin sliced spit roasted meat. It's origins are traced all the way back to the ottoman empire. Most all of the Turkish restaurants in Chicago sell doner but Ali Baba Doner is different. The owner is Turkish by way of Germany which is home to the largest number of Turkish immigrants in the world. The Turkish people of Germany have left a permanent mark in the city's population and also it's culinary scene. The Doners history in Berlin is said to go back to the early 70's when a Turkish immigrant wanted to give German workers something they could eat on the go. He ended up wrapping the sliced meat and an array of toppings in a Durum and the Doner sandwich was born. This story is disputed by some but what's not disputed is the fact the Doner is one of the most consumed foods in not just Germany but all over the rest of Europe as well. But it's Berlin specifically where it reigns supreme. I've long looked forward to the day I can try the doner there.
Doner Sandwich at Ali Baba Doner
Ali Baba offers a chicken doner sandwich either stuffed or wrapped and they also have plates. The meat is organic and you can see the spit spinning behind the counter. My first trip in I tried the sandwich and was impressed. If for anything bc he cut the meat from the spit into the bread without ever holding it letting it steam and lose it's crisp texture. Others have suffered from this fate so I can't guarantee it's always cut fresh but asking for it that way can't hurt. The sliced chicken paired with the vegetables, sauces, and seasoning all works well together. It's nice to have a legit German style Doner option in the city. It's also nice having a spot that serves the other signature snack of Germany - Currywurst. Munich being the city where the owner of Ali Baba lived before coming to Chicago he also put currywurst on the menu. It's a sliced sausage tossed with Euro ketchup and curry spicing that's always served with fries. This wasn't anything special as far ingredients go but the sum of it all made for a great snack. I also look forward to the day I get to go through a few of these in Germany.
Currywurst at Ali Baba Doner
Ali Baba Doner
545 W Diversey Pkwy
Chicago, IL 60614