Assembly line-style fast-casual restaurants have come a long way since the auspicious debut of Subway many years ago. These days, hungry customers on-the-go can build their own meals at fresh-forward stalwarts like Chipotle, Moe’s and the lesser-known, but growing, Sabrosa. Recently, a new option in that vein of eateries opened in Mineola—and thankfully, it features cuisine other than the usual suspects.
Conceived by the owners of Bosphorus Cafe Grill in Port Washington, Kebab Factory, a Turkish and Mediterranean grill, utilizes the quick-serve approach to build street-food favorites with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and homemade recipes. The five-step factory process starts when customers pick a base from options including salad and grain bowls, roasted vegetables, pita sandwich and French fries. From there, you choose from a list of proteins like falafel, chicken doner kebab, chicken shish kebab, lamb and beef doner and spicy chicken to top your base.
Then, it’s time to pick up to two dips and spreads—these include hummus, babaganush, spinach with yogurt, eggplant with tomato, spicy feta and roasted red pepper hummus. The next step is toppings, with options including shepherd’s salad, olives, cherry peppers, pickled onion, cucumber, feta and more. And finally, you can choose up to two sauces from a collection that consists of herb vinaigrette, tzatziki, lemon citrus, hot sauce and tahini.
The end result is a completely personalized combination of ingredients for a flavorful lunch or dinner. And as the bases include a variety of greens and grains, it feels downright healthy, even when the beef and lamb are piled atop. Speaking of the meats, chicken doner and lamb and beef doner seductively spin on vertical rotisseries just behind the counter. Marinated in a proprietary blend of spices, the meat is succulent, with that all-important outer crust created when heat meets juicy meat. The lamb and beef doner is especially luscious, imparting its drippings onto the base below. Meanwhile, the chicken doner is equally moist, thanks to the tradition of using thigh meat rather than the dangerously dry breast.
While the meat is serious business, customers can have some real fun mixing and matching dips, spreads, toppings and sauces. The babaganush is smoky, while the spinach with yogurt is subtle and smooth. The roasted red pepper hummus tastes garden fresh, pairing nicely with the more assertive spicy feta. The shepherd’s salad stands out among the toppings, thanks to fresh herbs, seasonings like sumac and red pepper. Olives add a pleasantly bitter bite, while cherry peppers bring some fire to the fare.
As for sauces, the tahini and tzatziki, crucial elements in many Mediterranean cuisines, are tasty and definite must-have additions to any meal at the Kebab Factory. And for a fiery exclamation point, ask for a streak or two of hot sauce right across the top of your salad or sandwich creation.
Overall, Kebab Factory brings some much needed flair to the local dining scene with dynamic cuisine and a convenient ordering system.
Kebab Factory, 124 Old Country Rd., Mineola; 516-307-9600; www.kebabfact.com