I'm trying to explain for the upteenth time what a "donair" is.
Its a more stubborn problem than it seems. Wikipedia, that handy source, tells us that a Gyro, that common American dish, is "similar" to a donair. The talk page for Donairs helpfully states:
Having the privilege (and the extra calories) of trying the food in Turkey, Germany, Belgium and Greece I have to admit:The same page gives a potential solution to the confusion:
1. Fact: There are significant variations in taste between the dishes. Döner is different than gyros.
2. Fact: the name döner refers to a whole genre of dishes, unlike gyros, which is more specific. I assume that the core etymological meaning of döner and gyros is derived a verb meaning to revolve. I am sure about the gyros, see gyroscope but can't prove this for döner.
3. Fact: In every case I tried gyros, the meat was not as thinly sliced as in döner. And this is a fundamental difference.
4. Fact: All these dishes are principally prepared around a vertical spin, but most similarities stop there. There is different meat, different sauces, different vegetables, different spices and flavours
5. Fact: The ways of serving differ considerably, e.g. with or without pitta.
6. Fact: As in every dish, the result in taste depends on various factors, ranging from the restaurant to the meat and the consumer's taste.
The problem is that, as far as I can tell, there is no systematic correspondence between the names and the varieties. When a Greek makes it, it is called "gyros", when a Turk makes it, it is called "döner", when an Arab or an Israeli makes it, it is called "shwarma". I have also had döner/gyros/shwarma in many countries (Greece, Turkey, US, UK, France, Germany) and that is my observation.This, combined with the observation that there are extreme regional variances in each dish (for example, a doner kabob in Boston is basically the same as a gyro in New York which isn't the same as a gyro in the Pacific Northwest nor the same as a donair from Halifax) seem to indicate that when I say "donair" I mean "gyro" with about as much accuracy as two people from different parts of America and/or the world would have when referring to a "gyro" itself.
Bonus link: Remember the Married with Children where Kelly's boyfriend was cheating on her and she found out at the movie theatre? Well, here are some photos from that episode featuring her boyfriend Frank: played by David Boreanaz.