A good döner kebab is hard to find in Boston. There is no lack of options, but so many places taste like they get all of their ingredients from the same restaurant supply company. The bread is usually store-bought, the meat is previously frozen, and it just doesn’t hit how it should. But, as soon as we had döner kebab from Boston Döner, we knew we just tasted a level-up.
We sat down with Rodey, the owner of Boston Döner, to find out about how he is bringing truly fresh and quality ingredients to the Boston kebab scene.
With 30+ years of experience, Rodey is no stranger to the Boston food scene. A true American dream success story, Rodey immigrated from Turkey to New York City. This is where his culinary journey began. He started off working at a French fine dining restaurant. After sharpening his skills there, Rodey ended up in Boston where he worked, owned, and consulted in restaurants all around town.
In a small corner storefront by The Garden– in a spot that was notoriously known for chewing up and spiting out restaurants– Rodey’s opened nine years ago. Whatever bambino-like curse that was on that location, Rodey was able to break it– because he is still there to this day.
The “self-named” Rodey’s was the place to go around The Boston Garden for juicy burgers, creative subs, and plates of pasta. It was open late, and after last call you could expect a long line out the door for the ultimate late night drunchies. But after years of that grind, Rodey was ready for a new challenge. This is when Boston Döner Kebab was born.
Rodey assembled his own version of the “Big Three” to launch doner kebab (and no we are not talking Pierce, Garnett, and Allen). He brought over a master baker from a prestigious bakery in Turkey to freshly bake all of the breads and Turkish pizza. Then, he recruited a star chef from New Jersey to be the meat guru. With the newly assembled team, he did a complete remodeling of what was previously Rodey’s.
The key difference between Boston Döner and other döner/shawarma spots around the city is in the care and quality of the ingredients. Most places that are serving döner/shawarma are getting a pre-formed, frozen spiral of meat which they just pop right into the rotisserie. At Boston Döner, they are butchering their own meat in the back and hand laying the massive meat cone by hand. This results in meat that is packed with flavor and bursting with juice. Having all of their breads made in-house is also a huge differentiator. Their rolls are light and fluffy, and the lahmacun (Turkish pizza) is crispy and crunchy.
Rodey’s Turkish pizza is a must-try for anyone who has never had it before. It is essentially a thin, crispy bread covered in spices, meat, and veggies– then you then roll it all up and eat it like a burrito. A good Turkish pizza should have an audible crunch when you bite into it while still being a bit doughy.
Rodey has always been a sauce king. Back in the Rodey’s days, he would work on creative sauces for his burgers and subs, and this has not changed. You will not be finding Sabra hummus here. Rodey’s fresh hummus is as creamy as can be. He makes it with sun-dried tomatoes, and an olive oil mystery sauce which he said is a personal creation. The hummus was perfect to smear all over the pita.
At Something NearU, we are huge dessert fans, but we usually aren’t grabbing any sweets when we get döner. However, Rodey has changed that for us with his sütlaç (Turkish rice pudding). This take on rice pudding is golden brown on the top from caramelizing in the oven. When you dig in, the filling is sweet and gives off major dulce de leche vibes. It truly satisfies even the most intense sweet tooth craving.
Find Boston Döner on their website and on Instagram: