A Tale of Two Gyros - Albany/Saratoga
My husband and I both adore gyros. We're not over-particular. Give us a nice portion of flavorful meat sliced from the rotisserie thingy (not those preformed patties), flavorful thick tzatziki sauce, and some veggies, wrapped in a lightly grilled pita, and we're in heaven.
We live in Saratoga County and our favorite local purveyor of said heaven is the little place in the food court of Clifton Park mall (of all places!). It's been there for many years run by a solemn man politely serving up tasty gyros but never cracking a smile. I think it used to be called 'Kabob & Sub', with gyros and souvlaki the mainstay. At some point the name changed to 'Grill & Sub' and the focus shifted to burgers. I presume because they were a better seller to the Clifton Park clientele. Still never a smile. We've always felt badly for him. Keeping that kind of business going in a dying mall food court has to be hard.
Anyway, once or twice a month hubby and I stop in for a pair of gyros to eat by the fountain. A couple of months ago we decided to bring home a mini feast and ordered two gyros, a souvlaki plate, a greek salad plate, extra tzatziki (garlicky! yum!) and extra pita. The owner finally cracked a smile. Maybe I imagined it, but I think he was happy to find folks who like his greek selections instead of the burgers. Now he seems to recognize us when we visit. But every time we go we're afraid he'll be closed from lack of business.
While driving on Wolf Road the other day I passed a new establishment called "Buffalo Wings & Rings" that had a big sign advertising "Greek Isle Gyros". It was lunch time so I decided to try my luck. The menu said freshly sliced meat piled high, and the place was packed with people so it seemed promising. What a disappointment! Yes, the meat appeared fresh sliced (at least it wasn't the preformed patty variety), but it lacked any discernable gyro flavor. The pita seemed to have been microwaved. The tzatziki sauce was runny and had very little flavor. The sandwich was quite small and was served in a manufactured cardboard gyro holder that said "gyro" on it (I guess in case you couldn't recognize what you were eating). Feh. So sad. I'll stick with the wonderful guy in Clifton Park. I really should ask him his name sometime.