News / Calgary

Halifax's renowned King of Donair makes debut in Calgary

Hundreds of people lined up for hours to have a taste of KOD donair

Nicholas Nahas, one of the owners of King of Donair hands out a famous Haligonian donair.

Helen Pike / Metro

Nicholas Nahas, one of the owners of King of Donair hands out a famous Haligonian donair.

After a 20-year hiatus, Debbi LeBlanc said she tasted home as she took her first bite of a genuine Nova Scotia donair Friday afternoon.

Hundreds of people lined up for blocks down 10 Street NW in Kensington to have a chance to try the famous Halifax-based King of Donair (KOD). The pop-up started at 2 p.m. and ran until they were out of ingredients.

“It’s amazing,” said LeBlanc, originally from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. “We got here at 12:30 and hundreds of people lined up behind us.”

KOD found themselves in Calgary as a part of a partnership with popular clothing line East Coast Lifestyle.

“We partnered up with East Coast Lifestyle who are here for a bunch of snowboarding competitions and today we’re trying to raise money for the Alberta Children’s Hospital,” said, Norman Nahas, one of the owners of KOD.

He said some generous individuals even dropped $100 donations into the box.

Nahas, who said they hoped to feed upwards of 300 people, added they’re overwhelmed by the response from Calgarians and Nova Scotia transplants alike.

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Helen Pike / Metro

Norman Nahas, one of the owners of KOD, carves donair straight from the spit.

“We get a lot of love from out in this area,” he said. “There are a lot of ex-pats and a lot of people just wanting to try the official Halifax donair. We’re proud and humbled by the response we get, the memories people share and the nostalgia they have when they eat our donairs and when they see the crown.”

Mike Dunphy moved to Calgary from Halifax eight years ago said having KOD in Calgary made him feel at home.

“It’s a little taste of home out west,” he said. “Whenever we go back home it’s always the comfort food that we crave and you just can’t get that out west.”

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Helen Pike / Metro

Ashley Slade-Dunphy and Mike Dunphy moved to Calgary eight years ago. Mike said the KOD donair tastes like home.

Calgarian Jen Stinson was brought to the pop-up with a friend from Halifax to taste the famous donair for the first time, and she wasn’t disappointed.

“It’s really, really good,” she said after her first bite. “I’d definitely have it again.”

“I told her she would never taste a donair like this one,” said Matt Perrin from Oxford, Nova Scotia.

Jen Stinson takes her very first bit of KOD donair.

Helen Pike / Metro

Jen Stinson takes her very first bit of KOD donair.

Scott Maclean, events manager for East Coast Lifestyle, said KOD has been feeding competitors on their Winter Jam snowboard tour as the company’s gold sponsor.

“They’ve been at ever rail jam event across the country,” he said. “When we decided to have a pop-up to launch our East and West Coast Lifestyle lines here at Meraki Supply Co. we figured what better way to bring a taste of the east than with the tastes of King of Donair.”

Nolan Wheeler, 7, and sister Mika Wheeler 5, loved their KOD donair. Their parents, both from Nova Scotia brought them to experience a taste of their home town.

Helen Pike / Metro

Nolan Wheeler, 7, and sister Mika Wheeler 5, loved their KOD donair. Their parents, both from Nova Scotia brought them to experience a taste of their home town.

Reporter taste test - Lucie Edwardson

It was as if it were my first time again—except this time I was sober.

My first experience with King of Donair is a little blurry. I was 19, new to Halifax, and had been out drinking (probably at Cheers or the Palace) into the wee hours of the morning.

Helen Pike / Metro

Some older, more Halifax-savvy friends dragged me with them to Pizza Corner to have my very first taste of KOD, with a promise it would be the best donair I had ever tasted.

They were right.

It was heavenly.

The rest is history. I frequented KOD for the next five years, and after moving back to Calgary in May 2015, I’ve struggled to find a donair that meets KOD standards.

As I took my first bite of a KOD donair in nearly a year on Friday, my taste buds were flooded with memories. Even just looking at the meat as they carved it off the spit made me have Halifax flashbacks.

The guys at KOD sure know their donairs. I give it a 10/10.

Now, they want your feedback and are asking Calgarians to let them know where they should open the very first KOD in the city.  To let them know your thoughts post and tweet @kingofdonair

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