Earlier this year, VertsKebap opened in Preston Hollow Village with a bang.

“It was insane,” says Emily Bell, who works at the popular restaurant. “We offered one free entrée to each of our guests. From open to close, no joke, there was a line wrapped around the building. We just didn’t stop. It was nuts.”

Many of those initial visitors liked what they tasted and have kept coming back as paying customers. The location in our neighborhood is one of VertsKebap’s most profitable.

Michael Heyne and Dominik Stein are the brains behind the operation. Both men are originally from Germany but became friends as fellow foreign exchange students at SMU. In Texas they missed the spicy Turkish street food that’s a staple in Europe, so they decided to open a restaurant in Austin, where they moved after graduation.

“We get tons of people who were born [in Germany] or stationed there in the military,” Bell says. “They’re excited to finally get that taste they so crave.”

Dishes are highly customizable. Guests choose from four protein options – chicken, beef, lamb or falafel – and specify whether they want a salad, wrap or kebap. Kebaps, not to be confused with kebabs, are similar to sandwiches. Sauces are made in house and vegetables come from local farms. You can wash it all down with a Texas craft beer or nitrogen-infused iced coffee. And here’s the best part: most entrees are around 550 calories. It’s no wonder the restaurant attracts such a wide crowd.

“We don’t even have an average customer,” Bell says. “We see every person from every walk of life. It’s amazing the amount of diversity.”

7949 Walnut Hill Lane

Fast casual

Price range:
$4.65-$7.65 for food

11 A.M. – 10 P.M. Mon.-Sun.

Did you know?
VertsKebap offers half-priced beer every Tuesday night. Starting at 5 p.m. you can snag a pint for $2.25 or a can for $1.75.

More dining spots

He’s craving Greek, but you want Italian. Instead of arguing about it, head to Ziziki’s. On the menu, you’ll find things like pastichio (Greek lasagna filled with lamb, macaroni and béchamel). The restaurant also has a weekend brunch – think French toast or eggs with feta and Kalmata olives.
11661 Preston, 469.232.9922, zizikis.com
11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday – Sunday.

Café Istanbul
This Inwood Village date spot serves traditional Turkish fare. Offerings include pureli dana (braised beef atop a bed of mashed potatoes), tavuk sarma (chicken breast filled with rice, raisins, pistachios and spices) and kulbasti (lamb fillets with vegetables). Splurge on a bottle of wine or indulge in one of the restaurant’s signature cocktails – perhaps the Whirling Dervish, a blend of vanilla vodka, Frangelico, Baileys Irish Cream, Kahlua and Turkish coffee.
5450 West Lovers Lane Ste. 222, 214.902.0919, café-istanbul.net,
11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Monday-Sunday.

Zoës Kitchen
In addition to Mediterranean favorites like hummus and chicken kabobs, Zoës Kitchen serves American classics. Order a pimento cheese sandwich with a side of braised white beans for a fast, affordable lunch. The restaurant chain has locations all over the country, but you’ll probably want to visit the one at Preston and Royal.
6025 Royal Lane Ste. 104, 469.341.0123, zoeskitchen.com,
11 a.m. -9 p.m. Monday – Sunday.

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