Gyros as art form/ 'Gyros on the Spit'
Gyros served by the aptly named 'Gyros on the Spit' Broadway just south of Belmont, closed nearly 2 years back, were the best we ever had. The thin slicing, letting the spit completely brown the edges, tomato never chilled, thick sauce and always served in a conical pita wrap has not been duplicated, at least not for me. I enjoyed the place for 15 years, until the family decided to move back to Greece (maybe their building became too much of a temptation to sell during the continuing neighborhood boom.) Any suggestions for Gyros replacements would be appreciated. The closed venue always had moussaka, spinach cheese pie, steam table beans, rice, potato etc. in addition to great Greek wines ($1.65 glass), saganaki and the other usual suspects.
I grew up eating there. They were so good that it ruined all other gyros for me. I would go to other places and be very disapointed that they were no where near as good as Gyros on a Spit.
It was a sad day the day they decided to close.
I know the entire family didnt leave though. From what I remember the parents did not want to run the restaurant anymore and the kids did not want to take on the responsibility so they closed. I say I know the entire family didnt leave because I saw the Wife working at a business on clark street back in 2010.
Fast foward to today, 2013, I've tried so many places. I've tried Brandys and have to say I didn't care for the food there. Not just the Gyros. IMHO when you go to a place that sells Burgers, Hotdogs, Gyros, Tacos, Ribs, and so on nothing will be very good. That's brandys, they sell so much variety that nothing stands out.
For a while my fav spot was Mr Greeks on Halstead and...... (I think Adams). It's a good tasting Gyro with a mountain of fries that comes with the combo and a drink. PLUS the best part is they are open 24/7 and the food always tastes as good all day and night long. That's tough to do, usually 24/7 places suck when it comes to serving food in predawn hrs.
Now though my fav spot is Squabs on Manhiem in Franklin Park/Stone Park. It's closer to my house, has free parking, and the food is good. But for Gyros, Squabs has a really good tasteing tzatziki Sauce. Of all the places I've been the taste of the tzatziki sauce stands out the most for me at Squabs.
I've tried Central Gryos, they are good but very expensive. What you spend for 1 Gyro at Central Gyros you get a Gyros Dinner at most other places.
I've tried Mr Zees in Chicago on Irving Park and Naraganssette. It's just a notch above any other ordinary Gyro place.
I've tried S/K Gyros in Sublette Il. They are ok, but since you're so far out of the city these are the best gyros around that area.
I've tried Nicks Drive In which is in Niles Il. I like these Gyros. The meat is unlike any I've tasted. My wife hates them though because of the meat. She says it's too heavily seasoned and that after eating them I smell like Gyro for a while afterwards.
I've tried a bunch of places. Some have been horrible. But the ones I listed above are not that bad. All except Brandys that is, for me Brandys is pretty bad.
The best I've had in years (I truly can't remember enjoying one as much as this one in quite awhile)
is at a restaurant called Brandy's in Des Plaines on the corner of Wolf Rd. and Oakton
I asked the new owner if he had upgraded the quality of the meat.
He laughed and said I made his day, that he is paying twice per pound what the last owner did.
Truly a great Gyro.
PS: I've had a few since then and all have been top quality.
I was pretty happy with my pile of gyros at the Athenian Room (807 W. Webster). Comes with "Greek fries," basically thick-cut fries with vinegar and oregano. I don't recall there being any retsina on the menu, but I wasn't looking for it either.
If anyone knows of a place that serves Greek wine for $1.65 a glass, the first round is on me. (I'm also on the lookout for somewhere I can by retsina by the bucket.)
re: J. Luke Seemann
We actually had Athenian's gyros last week; they were nice and thin and brown, but a bit over salted. You get wine from the bar next door and bring it back to your table. Somewhere in Chicago, or 'burbs, there must be another place like 'on the Spit': family owned, table of old guys talking politics, attention to detail, open late (I don't know if the 'Spit' had a late license, but we ate and drank 'till 4AM on more than a few occasions).Retsina was never my choice there, they always had a couple dry reds that have not been seen since.