In D.C., Top Iranian Chef Hails From El Salvador Hispanic cooks can be found in many of America's restaurants. But it still surprises Washington, D.C., diners that the city's best chef for Iranian food is a Salvadoran. Juan, who goes by Johnny, says he worked his way up in the industry, learned a foreign cuisine and made it his own.
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In D.C., Top Iranian Chef Hails From El Salvador

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In D.C., Top Iranian Chef Hails From El Salvador

In D.C., Top Iranian Chef Hails From El Salvador

In D.C., Top Iranian Chef Hails From El Salvador

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/7388748/7388749" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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About the Restaurant

Johnny's Kabob

12933 Wisteria Drive

Germantown, MD 20874

(240) 686-4518

Hispanic cooks can be found in many of America's restaurants. But it still surprises Washington, D.C., diners that the city's best chef for Iranian food may be a Salvadoran.

The chef in question, Juan Alberto Melgar, goes by Johnny. He says he worked his way up in the industry, learned a foreign cuisine — and made his employer's foreign cuisine his own.

Now Melgar has opened his own restaurant, Johnny's Kabob, in Germantown, Md. And his customers are still surprised when they find out he's not Iranian.

Juan's rise can't be attributed to a lack of competition, either: Iranians are among the largest immigrant groups in Washington.