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Restaurant Review – Doner Empire

Sedona spot offers flavorful take on popular European kabobs

By Kent Barry –

Nestled in quaint Uptown Sedona lies a small kiosk that is easy to miss, but if you’re looking for places that serve Zabiha meat in the area this is one place you’ll want find. Doner Empire offers a take on authentic Doner kabobs that originated in Turkey and are now popular throughout Europe. Be warned, if you’re looking for an authentic dining experience, you may be slightly disappointed as I didn’t see a vertical spit from where the meat is traditionally cut but rather the meat was taken from what seemed like chafing dishes.

There are a few choices for how to set up your Doner kabob. You can pick between the Sedoner Original, beef and lamb Döner topped with red onions, tomatoes, pickled red cabbage and tzatziki sauce; Red Rock Fire Doner, beef and lamb Döner topped with red onions, tomatoes, pickled red cabbage, tzatziki sauce, jalapeños, red sauce, crushed red pepper and hot green pepper; Vortex Doner, beef and lamb Döner topped with red onions, tomatoes, pickled red cabbage, tzatziki sauce, olives, feta cheese and mild green pepper, and the Veggie Doner, falafel Döner topped with red onions, tomatoes, pickled red cabbage, tzatziki sauce, olives, feta cheese and mild green pepper.

Any of the sandwiches can be made paleo style, without the pita bread. You can also make any of the sandwiches a combo by pairing with chips and a drink.

I opted to have the Sedoner Original minus the lamb meat. (Beef was the only available meat at the time so I was not able to sample the other meat choices.) The meat was good quality and tasted tender and flavorful and you could taste the spices that were used. The vegetables tasted fresh and crisp. The pita bread, which was thick, held all the contents firmly in place. A thick tzatziki sauce enhanced the flavor.

It is best to eat the sandwich as quickly as possible so that it retains its heat and doesn’t get soggy. They have small tables in front of the kiosk for people to sit at and enjoy their food but there is no indoor seating. Visiting on a cold, late November night, I had them wrap the sandwich to-go in extra foil. Unfortunately, by the time I was able to eat the sandwich, about ten minutes later, it had lost some of its heat. Still, it was still tasty to eat.

The sandwich was large and filling. Be sure to have some napkins in hand because the sauces do run a bit as to be expected with this type of sandwiches.

My biggest criticism is that they are a bit pricey. They average $8-$12 depending on the type of meat/non-meat you choose. While the size is good, the price is still a little steep.

I’d recommend stopping here while you take in the gorgeous formations in Red Rock country.

I’d give it 4 out 5 doners.

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