The lunch of heroes: 'The Avengers' sparks interest in shawarma
May 18th, 2012
03:00 PM ET
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Warning: The following contains minor spoilers for "The Avengers."

Odds are if you had never heard the word "shawarma" before this month, you have by now.

Towards the end of the box office juggernaut "The Avengers," Iron Man - played by Robert Downey Jr. - asks the rest of the superhero team if they've ever tried shawarma because he heard there is a good restaurant for it nearby.

In an extra scene that hardcore fans know was shot mere weeks ago, we witness Thor, Captain America, Bruce Banner and the rest of the heroic clan quietly enjoying shawarma after casually saving the world.

The cameo has worked its movie magic for the Middle Eastern wrap of spit-roasted meat. Media from Los Angeles to Boston have reported that shawarma sales are "skyrocketing."

Pierre Dagher, the owner of Shawarma Mediterranean Grill in Centennial, Colorado, said that a group of high school kids ran into the restaurant after seeing "The Avengers" and immediately told him of the scene. Dagher, who has been in business for 18 months and hasn't seen the movie yet, said business has been brisk in the past week or so.

At a different Shawarma Mediterranean Grill in Miami, Florida, owner Mike Besereni told us that he can't say the same about a marked increase in business, but regular customers at his five-year old establishment now often mention "The Avengers" when they come in.

Besereni was happy to hear it: "Oh yeah, definitely - free advertising!

Donnie Gabai of Atlanta's decade-old Pita Palace, on the other hand, said the movie's impact has been significant for his business, especially over this past weekend.

"We've definitely seen an increase of people [coming in and] talking about it," he said.

Several large groups of visitors to the Shawarma Café & Grill in Carmichael, California treated the restaurant like a tourist attraction.

"[Sunday] I was supposed to shut down my restaurant at 6pm, but we stayed open until 8," said owner Armen Sargsyan.

"Right away after the movie, people Google searched and found my restaurant. They took pictures, they were so excited to be there," he said. "They called their friends and more people came, and more people came."

Elat Burger in Los Angeles, however, is the one which might be considered a bona fide tourist attraction for the rest of the summer, if not beyond. It's the official location of "The Avengers" shawarma eating scene in question.

The owner, who answered the phone when we called, was quite busy and didn't want to be identified. He would tell us that business has been booming, and that there was quite a lot of commotion around the place when the likes of Downey, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Scarlett Johansson showed up to shoot the scene.

At that point, we had to end our conversation. He had to get to his customers - none of whom were wearing iron suits this time ... that we know of.

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soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. gab

    For those who are wondering what a shawarma is, its an arabic pita made with beef, really good !

    August 1, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
    • aloe

      Actually it's a pita stuffed with spit roasted lamb. If you got beef, that's good too but you should try the lamb.

      August 2, 2014 at 4:19 am |
  2. Charlie Red

    And I still have no idea what it is. Thanks for nothing stupid article.

    August 1, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
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