A Dusty Fast-Food Costume Sets Off a Very Canadian Bidding War

Josh Robinson, who grew up outdoors Halifax, Nova Scotia, can bear in mind consuming his first donair when he was round 7 years previous, roughly twenty years after the sandwich, composed of spiced, spit-roasted meat topped with a candy sauce and wrapped in pita bread, first emerged as a regional delicacy.

“There’s nothing like it, there really isn’t,” he mentioned.

Mr. Robinson, 35, is amongst dozens of people that have positioned bids on an adult-size donair costume that’s being auctioned off by the provincial authorities of Alberta in what has change into an unlikely demonstration of the Halifax-born avenue meals’s rising recognition throughout Canada.

Bidding for the costume opened on July 14 at 50 Canadian {dollars}, or about $38. By Wednesday, bidders had pushed the worth to simply over 16,000 Canadian {dollars}, or roughly $12,000, with weeks to go earlier than the web public sale ends on Aug. 14.

Mr. Robinson, a co-founder and proprietor of Blowers and Grafton, a chain of eating places with six places in Alberta that focuses on “authentic Halifax street food,” mentioned he was prepared to pay that a lot, or extra, for the go well with.

“It’s something we’ve actually talked about, sometimes jokingly,” Mr. Robinson mentioned of getting a donair costume for his eating places, whose menu choices embrace donair nachos, a donair quesadilla, donair poutine and a donair pizza — together with, in fact, the “O.G. Halifax donair.” There are “a million different things” he may think about doing with the go well with, he mentioned, together with sporting it himself.

Mr. Robinson mentioned that he and his enterprise companions discovered the public sale puzzling but additionally absurdly hilarious, and started bidding on the costume as quickly as they heard about it. “We just had to have it,” he mentioned.

The Alberta authorities mentioned the costume was commissioned in 2015 for a public service video warning individuals in opposition to driving below the affect of hashish. The concept was to have a “Mr. Donair” discuss somebody with the munchies out of getting behind the wheel to get a late-night snack, officers mentioned.

After the costume was made, nevertheless, the province took the marketing campaign in a completely different course and the donair go well with was by no means used. The public sale itemizing says it’s dusty however in any other case in wonderful situation.

As the worth of the costume climbed into the hundreds of {dollars}, Dale Nally, a minister within the provincial authorities, mentioned that commissioning the go well with “turned out to be a great investment for the government of Alberta.”

Mr. Nally oversees a division that’s chargeable for promoting surplus authorities provides, which he mentioned normally means workplace furnishings and typically autos. “We’ve gotten some strange things in over the years, but the donair costume has been the one that captivated the most attention,” he mentioned, including that the federal government’s surplus gross sales web site was “not used to this volume.”

The website has crashed no less than as soon as below the burden of unusually excessive visitors, Mr. Nally mentioned, including that at one level, round 175,000 individuals had been trying on the public sale web page.

As the eye suggests, donairs are a beloved custom in Canada, and most notably in Nova Scotia. King of Donair popularized the dish at its unique location in Halifax in 1973, in accordance with Nicholas Nahas, who’s now the proprietor. (Mr. Nahas has additionally bid on the donair costume. It could possibly be used for promoting, he mentioned.)

The donair, a uniquely Canadian tackle the Greek gyro or the Turkish doner kebab, is the creation of King of Donair’s founder, Peter Gamoulakos. A Greek immigrant, he had a arduous time promoting gyros at his pizza restaurant earlier than he made some modifications to go well with the Canadian palate.

Mr. Gamoulakos traded the lamb for thinly sliced beef and the thicker Greek-style pita for a slimmer one. Instead of tzatziki, the notoriously messy sandwich is topped with Mr. Gamoulakos’s signature donair sauce, produced from condensed milk, vinegar and garlic.

In 2015, the Halifax Regional Council declared the donair Halifax’s official meals, partially out of worry that one other province would attempt to lay declare to its origin. The donair, the council mentioned, was an iconic and distinctive meals that warranted particular standing. That standing, Mr. Nahas defined, broke the stigma of the donair as late-night meals for drunks and recast it as one thing that may be loved by anybody in any respect hours of the day.

As the donair has been embraced past Canada’s Maritimes, nevertheless, there may be one component that divides the coasts: lettuce.

At some level, because the recipe made its method westward throughout Canada from Nova Scotia, lettuce turned a customary ingredient within the western provinces. Mr. Nally, appearing in his official capability as a public official in Alberta, mentioned a donair will need to have lettuce to be “an actual donair.” And as a result of the costume was made within the west, it’s topped with lettuce.

Mr. Robinson, who lives and works in Alberta however prides himself on his Haligonian authenticity, vowed to take away the costume’s lettuce.

“In Halifax, that’s sacrilegious,” he mentioned. “That lettuce has to take a hike.”

Mr. Nahas of King of Donair agreed that the lettuce has to go and mentioned he has consulted a vendor about eradicating it if he wins the public sale.

“We don’t really have a limit on what we’re willing to spend,” he mentioned. “We’re not done bidding.”

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button