> Wolf Down

Ottawa’s hottest new eatery offering something few of us had ever heard of: Berlin Street Food

Run by third-time entrepreneur, first-time restaurateur Joelle Parenteau, the German döner didn’t take long to catch—rapidly going viral, thanks to raving fans claiming their “new addiction” to “the best sandwich they’ve ever had.”

It starts with a boy. A German boy. My fiancé Daniel came to Ottawa over a decade ago to help his friend Tobi with a little startup called Shopify. He loves Ottawa, but there’s one thing he really missed from home: döner—Germany’s No. 1 street food we’ve somehow never heard of.

The first time he took me to Germany, he hyped it up so much I thought it couldn’t possibly live up. But then I had my first taste: mind blown. I wolfed it down. Back in Ottawa, I had a problem: I craved it. Like bad. Real bad.

One night, we had dinner with Tobi (Shopify founder). Tobi is also a döner-loving German. “We need this in Ottawa,” we kept repeating. Tobi and Daniel joked that they’d invest whatever to make it happen: “Someone just needs to do it!”

One day it hit me: what if that someone was me? So, here I am running a restaurant. With zero experience. And yes, they kept their promise. Daniel, Tobi, even Harley (Shopify COO) invested. We also added three of the top German poker pros to our investor lineup. We play poker with these guys and when they heard about our döner shop, they were all in. Okay, so I had no idea what I was doing. A little R&D was in order.

Step 1: Berlin. Daniel, Brooke (my partner), Matt (her boyfriend), and I ate three döners per day for four days straight. We were on a taste test mission: carefully analyzing every element—bread, meat, veggies, sauce—and taking notes to design our own ultimate döner.

Step 2: Los Angeles. Why LA? Years ago I discovered a place called Berlin’s. It was the first time we found good döner outside Germany. We were very excited and even got an intro to the owner Mathias. Fast-forward to opening Wolf Down and guess who the first person I call is? Mathias not only agreed to consult, he even suggested we come to LA for hands-on experience. And so, off we went to California for a crash course in the döner business.

Now you may be wondering: what is döner anyway? A focaccia-like, sesame-crusted flatbread, stuffed with perfectly seasoned beef or chicken and loads of crisp refreshing veggies, topped with our secret sauces. We have döner salad for a lighter, keto-friendly, gluten-free option and even halal meat. We also created our own unique vegan döner: marinated tofu stacked and grilled on the vertical skewer. I called it Wolf Down because, from a young age, my parents often remarked, “You really wolfed that down.”

I was a hungry child. It seemed fitting. We do things a little differently at Wolf Down. For one, our menu is small. Like tiny. This is part lean-startup mentality and part my belief in doing one thing really well. Everything is the same price. We want you to choose with your gut, not your wallet. We don’t believe vegans should pay more. We don’t think salads should cost more. We’re cashless to protect against theft and to streamline operations. Finally, we pay more than minimum wage, because I don’t do minimum.

Wolf Down is now six months old and we just hit our half year/half million goal which is pretty cool. From the feedback so far, it sounds like many are now just as addicted as I am. Welcome to the pack.

Wolf Down

(613) 421-4054
[email protected]
380 Bank St,Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1Y4

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