Lulu’s Shawarma

Lulu’s: the darling of downtown shawarma. The one with the butterfly on the sign, you know it. Located right downtown at the corner of King William and John, Lulu’s has been there long before King William was cool, back when it was a bingo hall, a convenience store, and an anarchist coffee shop, it’s a true Hamilton fixture.

You walk into the place and get a friendly greeting from the folks behind the counter. The gentlewoman is a darling, a real downtown celebrity, calls everyone hun. (Her name’s Tammy, Lulu is her mother, or so the story goes). It’s a cool place, they’re constantly getting deliveries so I guess it really is fresh. It’s decked out in Ticats memorabilia and newspaper awards, less in recent years though, I guess the shawarma scene has really grown. Tune in here for the latest on the scene, dear reader.

Lulu’s finally ditched the ATM and got debit this year. I still recommend carrying cash in general though, it’s a good practice. It quick and convenient, accepted everywhere. Great for settling small debts, oh no they only brought one bill for you and your friend? No problem at all, just slide that bill and a 20 across the table. Great for tipping, here’s $8.15 for the shawarma and the 85 cents go into your jar. Shopping in a blackout? No problems here. Sometimes you’ll even get a discount for helping the shop evade paying taxes!

The chicken is delicious, well seasoned and hot off the grill. They don’t use a spit at Lulu’s, just a flattop grill. You could argue that it isn’t truly shawarma, but don’t be mean it’s tasty. They add the usual fare, lettuce, tomato, onion, hot sauce, garlic sauce. Everything is cut nice and fine and blends in well.

My only real complaint is the form factor. I call it “fork shawarma” because eating it by hand is a tall order. Things will be falling out and the pita gets pretty soft from the sauces, it’s a mess. It’s pretty doable with the provided fork, but for me that beats the point. My gold standard of a shawarma sandwich is one you can eat while walking home from the bar, but you might have to be mindful not to stain your clothes. So at Lulu’s I generally go for a different option. They have some of the best falafel in town but that’s a story for another day.

So grab your five dollar bills and head on down to Lulu’s. It’s a pillar of Hamilton Shawarma, so you have to. It’s delicious, but I’m going to have to knock it down a point for the form factor. Also on the more expensive side, 9 bucks with tax. It’s Lulu’s! 8/10

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