After 27 years in Lakeview, the original Gyros on the Spit shuttered abruptly in 2000 due to a landlord dispute and the increasing age of the owner, George Sakkas. Fourteen years later, son Dino is back on the scene with a new location, the original gyro recipe, and a heck of a lot more.
The Egg Lemon Soup ($3.00), or avgolemono, has a thick, porridge-like consistency and a pervasive lemony background. The rice is a little blown out, which makes for a hearty, comforting bowl, and the included loaf of warm Turano bread is a chewy blank slate, perfect for soup sopping.
The server recommended we dab, not dip, our pita into the Tirokafteri ($6.00), and he's right: this feta-based dip is spicy. The heat comes from grilled jalapeños, and to be honest, it steals the show a bit from the salty feta.
The Village Salad ($9.00) is piled high with tomatoes, cucumbers, sliced onions, feta, and olives. The veggies are fresh and crunchy and the briny olives and feta are exceptional, but more acid and salt in the vinaigrette itself would make for a better balanced plate.
The namesake Homemade Gyros Plate ($11.00) is overflowing with crisp, flavorful gyro slices. I appreciate that they form the cone in house, but unlike the solid version at Central Gyros, the meat itself is dry. A little more fat worked in would make all the difference, but until that day, spread a little of the Tirokafteri on the meat for a rich, spicy kick that rights all wrongs.
I wondered what difference, if any, ordering the Homemade Gyros Sandwich ($9.00) would make on the eating experience. Turns out that the gyro meat's dryness is exacerbated when you're taking mouthfuls of the stuff in sandwich form. If you choose to order anyway, the messy, overstuffed sandwich is probably best enjoyed on the way home from a night of heavy drinking.
The Sides that come with sandwich and platter orders are not very noteworthy—not even the highly touted Dino's Potatoes. Online photos promise crispy, heavily burnished spuds. Ours, unfortunately, were plain old home fries.
None of the above matters much, though, if you order the Homemade Greek Sausage Sandwich ($9.00) The fennel forward loukaniko is rough ground and snappy, and the roasted peppers and crumbled feta add just the right salty bite. Next time, I'm getting mine wrapped in a crisp pita and topping it with plenty of the cucumber forward tzatziki. I might even petition the place for a name change, too.
Ride that sausage high straight into the sunset with the Baklava ($4.00). Sourced from Sweet Connection, the dessert is moist and crackly, with strong cinnamon and noticeable honey flavors.
What Gyros on the Spit lacks in execution, it makes up for in potential. The warm dining room is squeaky clean and inviting, and the owner-servers are friendly and enthusiastic. We were treated to three separate saganaki flamings throughout the night and complimentary shots of Ouzo to conclude our meal. I'll be back once they get the kinks worked out. Fourteen years is a long time to be away, but but here's an upraised shot of Ouzo to many more to come.