BOSTON – Take slow cooked meats, add some super fresh veggies, and place it all on a hot fluffy pita. Close your eyes and take a bite. That’s how you know you’ve arrived at Gyro City.
Located on Peterborough Street, Gyro City is a new addition to Boston’s Fenway neighborhood. And while this sandwich shop may be small, it cranks out hundreds and hundreds of authentic Greek gyros, like they do it back in the old country.
“A gyro shop in Greece is like a Dunkin’ Donuts here. They’re all over the place,” said owner Polyvios “Paul” Christopher. He and business partner Paris Skarlatos are the Greek gods behind all of this goodness.
Along with their families, these guys are taking the best of Greek street food to the masses. The only thing they ask in return is that customers say the name of their shop correctly. That first sound is more like ‘Ye’ than ‘Ji’.
“I must correct people fifty to a hundred times a day, from ‘jiro’ to ‘gyro’,” Paul said.
No matter how you pronounce it, you simply gotta try it. Each one of these signature sandwiches starts on a spit, seasoned and stacked by Paris’s father Nick. He’s an expert with so much experience, he’s earned the name Nicki Gyros.
“It’s a name that stuck. It was a joke at first; now everyone’s starting to call him that,” Paul explained.
Once all of that juicy meat has taken a spin for a few hours, it’s sliced with a loud, but efficient tool that Paul compares to a high-tech pizza slicer.
The thin-sliced meat is piled onto ultra-fluffy, and always warm, pita bread.
“It holds everything in. It doesn’t fall apart it,” said Paul. “It’s not like your traditional thin pita pocket. It’s a thick pita bread. When you grill it up a little bit it gets nice and warm.”
From there the combinations are endless. There’s the traditional gyro bursting with creamy tzatziki sauce, veggies, French fries and perfectly seasoned pork – not lamb.
“It’s pork, not lamb,” Paul said. “Everyone thinks it’s lamb for some reason. I think it’s a Greek racial stereotype that we eat lamb with everything. But it’s not lamb it’s pork, just so everybody knows. You go to Greece you get a Gyro – pork.”
There’s also a version filled with super tender shaved chicken.
You can order meat off the grill like the chicken souvlaki, traditional loukaniko sausage, and the Greek version of a burger- called Bifteki. Topped with tzatziki, tomatoes, onions and fries, this is a way to get that famous fast food combo all in one bite.
“You get burger and fries, but you ever have the two together in one?” Paul questioned. “Probably not.”
If you prefer your fries on the side, they have those too – served Greek style of course.
“It’s fries with feta cheese and fresh oregano,” Paul described. “Just the combination of feta and oregano on the fries is so different than you’d find anywhere else.”
Other add-ons include the traditional Horiathiki salad, and the more Americanized version that’s ironically known as “Greek Salad“. Plus there’s flaky spanikopita and authentic Avgolemono soup featuring a lemony broth spiked with chicken and rice – that’s always prepared by Paul’s dad, according to his grandmother’s recipe.
All of that family participation continues right through dessert. Paul’s mom makes the baklava.
“The best baklava in Boston,” she declared. “We go through two pans a day, at least.”
This is real Greek food prepared by a real Greek family, so you know Gyro City is the real deal.
“I’ve had plenty of students, Greek kids, adults say, A – this is the best gyro they’ve ever had including Greece, and B – how come no one’s ever done this before? It’s amazing that it took this long for an authentic Greek Gyrotico, which is a gyro shop, to show up in the states.”
You can find Gyro City at 88 Peterborough Street in Boston, and online at gyrocityboston.com.
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