German Doner Kebab to open 1st location in U.S. at American Dream

Fast-casual restaurant chain will open later this month

German Doner Kebab, a global fast-casual restaurant chain that says it is revolutionizing the kebab, will open its first restaurant in the United States later this month at American Dream in the Meadowlands.

GDK, as it is called, opened its first location in Berlin in 1989. It now has more than 70 restaurants across the globe and is planning a major expansion in North America, the Middle East, Sweden and the U.K.

“The U.S. offers a huge opportunity for GDK, and we are excited to be opening our first U.S. restaurant at American Dream,” Nigel Belton, managing director of German Doner Kebab North America, said.

“German Doner Kebab is exciting consumers across Europe and Canada, offering a fast-casual concept that is responding to the needs of Generation Z. We are now recognized as a top fast-casual brand of the future, and we are looking forward to bringing this German Doner Kebab experience to people visiting American Dream.”

One of GDK’s food offerings. (German Doner Kebab)

GDK officials said its signature food is prepared in front of customers, using premium meats and locally sourced vegetables, served in handmade toasted breads with signature sauces.

The American Dream location of GDK is an important step in an ambitious growth plan throughout the U.S. and Canada. The brand successfully launched two restaurants in Canada — in Ottawa, Ontario, and Surrey, British Columbia — in 2020 and opened a flagship restaurant in downtown Toronto earlier this week.

Plans are now in place to open 100 new restaurants in Canada over the next 10 years, and the development pipeline also includes key U.S. locations spanning New York City, New Jersey and Houston.

The opening of German Doner Kebab’s first U.S. location is in partnership with franchisee Yunus Shahul, who brings significant experience in the restaurant industry. The New York native operates two Saravana Bhavan Indian restaurants and a growing Cousins Maine Lobster portfolio throughout New York and Connecticut.

“I am extremely excited to pursue a dream of mine, which is joining the GDK family, as I have a personal love for the doner kebab,” Shahul said. “I have no doubt that German Doner Kebab is going to be a huge hit, and I’m extremely excited to be opening the first restaurant in the U.S. American Dream gives us an iconic launchpad for the brand and we are very much looking forward to bringing a fresh, fast-casual offering to people visiting the complex.”