Gyros may not be the most beautiful, photogenic food, but nothing sends more happiness to our hearts and grumbles to our bellies than a moist, slightly crisp pile of meat on a warm pita that has been slathered with tzatziki.
Both gyro places featured today boasted stints in Chicago, before landing in Phoenix to create their gyro empires.
In This Corner: Niro's Gyros
The Setup: Operating in Ahwatukee since 2006, this family-run shop turns out gyros to long lines of hungry people everyday during lunch. Pauline and Theo Christakos have been running restaurants for 20 years here in the Valley, as the previous owners of Theo's Spartan Grill, in Tempe.
The Single Gyro rings up at $5.75, with gyro sauce, tomatoes and onions.
The Good: The meat is delicious, moist and crisp and hot. The service is fast and professional, a very welcome sign they have their front-of-house operation down to a science.
The Bad: The pita was a little hard and the gyro sauce, while similar to a traditional tzatziki, it's incredibly thick and lacks in flavor.
In This Corner: George's Famous Gyros
The Setup: Owned by George Salvaridis, who grew up in his father's restaurants, he spent time in both Chicago and Greece, before opening his restaurant in Scottsdale. With two locations in the valley, one in Scottsdale and one in Phoenix, Salvaridis has recently had some competition from another business that opened close to his Scottsdale location, with almost the exact name, proving that the gyros business can be more cut-throat than we thought.
The Original Gyro comes in at $6.95, served on a pita with onions, tomatoes and tzatziki, with a substantial side salad.
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The Good: Fluffy warm pita, large heaping of meat, flavorful tzatziki sauce.
The Bad: Slow service in an empty restaurant, is not becoming of a food establishment.
And the winner is . . .George's Famous Gyros! While we love both places, and service does play into the meal, the better gyro was, hands down, George's Famous Gyro.