Taste of Chicago! The joys of finding Gyros and Chicago Dogs
A little place opened up a mile or so away from my house here in West County, Saint Louis, called "Taste of Chicago." I stopped by today because I've noticed driving past it several times they offer Gyros. Those who know the joys of a good Chicago-style Gyros know what I've been missing, until today.
I went into the place, which was rather crowded, and was greeted in a surly tone by the lady working the counter. That was a good sign that this might be an authentic place. The framed photo of Al Capone? Another good sign.
I asked for a Gyros, with fries and a drink. She barked at me, "You want a meal then!" Sheepishly, I said, "Sure." She: "That will be $7.00" Me: "OK, here." She: "OK, have a seat, We are backed up, so you have to wait." Definitely has the ambiance of an authentic Chicago gyros place.
So I sat down. Yes, this was shaping up to be good. Apparently a large order had come in moments earlier and they were swamped. The guy next to me said he had come in to see if they really have
authentic Chicago dogs, with the works as advertised. Yes, he said, after tasting his, they do. He
and I both laughed a knowing, haughty kind of laugh at the thought of putting ketchup on
a hot dog. Good grief. What a barbarism. But that's a post for another time, after I personally sample their dogs.
Finally, fifteen minutes later, the lady at the counter looks at me: "Gyros, with fries!" fairly snarling it out. I picked up my bag and retreated to my car on this beautiful day. And then….yes, the moment of truth. A huge Gyros, piled high with that wonderful meat and white onions, slathered with cucumber sauce. No tomatoes though: "Sorry, we don't have tomatoes today" she had said. It was enough to feed two people. I'll be back again. My wife is going to be thrilled.
A bit of history on the Gyros. They were introduced to the Chicago area in 1968 and have since spread throughout the country, though they are fairly hard to find. The meat is generally made from sliced lamb and minced beef, combined together.
Hint: if you do not want to embarass yourself, never pronounce the word "Gyros" like "Gi-roze" — oh, no, please do not do that. If you want to impress, be sure to pronounce it with your best Greek accent: γύρος or "Year-awhs" – accent on "year." But at least just say: "'Year-Oh'"