Chicago Style Gyro
As much as I’d like to be, I’m no expert on Chicago style food. I know my way around an Italian beef and I know good pizza, but there is so much other cuisine in the city that I’m completely oblivious about.
I know Gyro’s themselves are not Chicago inventions and honestly, I wasn’t even aware they were a popular thing in Chicago. The thing is, I don’t like Gyro’s…..but I do like Italian beef.
As I was driving down Leonard Street on Grand Rapids northwest side, I noticed a little yellow sign hanging off the side of a building. On my first pass, I only saw the words “Chicago style.” It was until I went back and parked in the empty gas station next door that I saw the word “Gyro.” I was about to move on, but a sign in the window showed they had my favorite sandwich.
Chicago Style Gyro is on the corner of Leonard Street and Gezon Avenue. The joint doesn’t look like much from the street, but after you find a spot to park and make your way inside, you’ll be surprised to find a large restaurant that’s decorated with brightly colored walls. The space is divided in to two spaces with tables in both.
The kitchen area is in the back of the space when you walk in. There’s a counter that separates the kitchen from the dining room and that’s where you order.
There was a couple in front of me that really didn’t know what they were ordering so they had to question everything. It took much longer than it should have, but it was more the fault of the customers. When it was my time to order, I stepped up and ordered my Italian beef and an order of fries.
The guy making my sandwich asked if I wanted it dipped and when I said yes, he took the bun and dropped it in to the gravy. After he pulled it out with a pair of tongs, he piled on the thinly sliced beef, added two slices of provolone cheese, gave it a quick nuke, then asked me about peppers. There was a tray of hot peppers sitting in front of me that looked delicious. I told him to pile those on and he obliged. After dumping in the fresh out of the fryer fries he closed the lid on the Styrofoam container and handed it over. My bill was $9 even which I paid then headed out the door to head back to work.
I started with the fries once I got back to the break room. They were the standard restaurant fries seasoned with salt and pepper. Nothing fancy, but a good portion size.
By the time I got to the Italian beef, the bun was disintegrating. The gravy was doing its job. The bun was overflowing with the sliced beef which was a little tough. It’s definitely something that was frozen at one point then reheated, but it was still good. The cheese really made this sandwich a little bit different. The large slices melted into the meat give the whole thing a gooey, stringy texture. The peppers added that little bit of heat to a sandwich that was becoming less of a sandwich and more of a mess with every bite. I really liked the way the bun just soaked up all that meaty goodness from the gravy and became soft and delicious.
I didn’t really have high expectations for Chicago Style Gyro when I walked in the door, but I ended up with a pretty decent sandwich. It’s not the best Italian beef I’ve ever had, but I didn’t walk away from the table hungry and sometimes, that’s more important.