Battle of the Gyros

Oh, how the Greek gods must die a little inside every time they hear some American order a "jy-ro" at an ethnic restaurant. Despite the constantly butchered name, the gyros (roughly pronounced "yee-ros") remains one of our favorite meat dishes. For this week's Battle of the Dishes, we visited two local mom-and-pop shops to see how their gyros stacked up.

In One Corner: Spices Mediterranean Kitchen
4040 W. Ray Road
Chandler, AZ 85226

Spices makes one lean, mean gyros.

Spices is an unassuming little corner cafe tucked inside a grocery store strip mall. It's clean and bright, with the laminated tables and wooden cafe chairs common at other

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​order-at-the-counter establishments. But this is no standard takeout joint.

It's like the Middle Eastern version of Cheers. Owner Etgar Wagner is almost always behind the register or visiting table to chat with regulars -- and there are plenty of 'em. He'll also suggest menu items if you're a first-timer, and let you know if there's a cheaper way of ordering multiple items, such as in a combo meal.

We watched as the restaurant's lone cook sliced thick curls of gyros meat from a large slab and placed it inside a hot flatbread pita. Wagner personally delivered the gyros, and the fries we added for a buck, to our table.

"This smells incredible," remarked our dining companion. "I can smell oregano, maybe even a little allspice. No wait, maybe it's nutmeg." 

As we bit into the gyros, we stopped caring what the spice was. The generous portion of meat was flavorful and moist, with slightly crisp edges that added a nice crunch. A light drizzle of tzatziki and crisp diced tomatoes helped to balance the heaviness of the spiced meat.

"Soooo good," my friend mumbled with his mouth full of gyros meat. "The flavor of this meat is addicting. I could eat this all the time." We were definitely in agreement on that.

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