Monday, April 7, 2014

The return of Gyros on the Spit

Posted By on 04.07.14 at 03:08 PM

Gyros, Gyros on the Spit

Even in my most impaired moments I've never been able to stomach the gray, mulched meatstuff whittled away from the ubiquitous rotating gyros cone. I know that's borderline heresy given that Chicago is pretty much the capital of mass-production gyros, tzatziki-drenched sop to an infinity of hangovers. But I don't see why anyone would ever opt for that stuff when there's so much perfectly good shawerma to be had. Wicker Park's late Covo Gyro Market changed that for a time, but that time didn't last long (it closed last fall). Apart from places like Psistaria and the Parthenon, freshly made lamb and beef gyros made without mysterious extenders and fillers remain a rarity in this town.

That grim situation was relieved a bit last week with the return of Gyros on the Spit, a beloved Lakeview gyros joint that had a fairly Methuselan 27-year run until its lease expired in 2000. Dino Sakkas, son of founder George, reopened last Monday in the space that once housed Splice Cafe and the short-lived Somali Muqdisho Grill. I wasn't hip to the old GotS, but I know its house-made gyros were legendary. Less remarked upon were daily steam-table specials of classic homey Greek dishes. Those haven't been implemented yet—a server alluded to problems with the gas line. But there's a pretty extensive menu of both the familiar—saganaki, spanakopita, pastitchio, souvlaki—and less common dishes like imam, pepper-and-onion-stuffed baby eggplants, and tirokafteri, a searing-hot jalapeño-spiked feta dip.

Loukaniko and Dinos potatoes, Gyros on the Spit
  • Peter Engler
  • Loukaniko and Dino's potatoes, Gyros on the Spit

The gyros are indeed pretty special. Though they're made of a finely emulsified beef-and-lamb mix, they have a rosy hue and almost muscular texture that won't let you forget you're eating animal flesh. But perhaps the biggest surprise is the house-made loukaniko, a roughly ground sausage mined with brilliant hits of orange peel, served on a bun with feta, grilled onions, and red pepper. I think my never-ending quest for loukaniko is over with this one. It's too soon for a proper review, but these bites alone—as well as the olive oil-and-oregano-saturated Dino's potatoes—mark an auspicious return for GotS, one that will hopefully turn over the curse that gripped this spot.

Gyros, Gyros on the Spit

Gyros on the Spit, 2826 N. Lincoln, 773-698-7999

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