Some might say that finding a good gyro is like falling in love. All it takes is a moment and in the case of the gyro, a bite. Those lucky enough to live in Chicago know that a gyro restaurant is only a stone's throw away, but finding the best gyro restaurants takes a little more effort, but it's worth it.
When it comes to hunting down the best gyro restaurants in Chicago, there is no place to start like Greek Islands at 200 South Halsted Street. Since 1971 Greek Islands have been bringing the highest qualities ingredients such as herbs, cheeses, and olive oils to their menu day in and day out.
Greek Islands was founded by a group of friends that immigrated here from, where else, the Greek Islands, and since that time they have made it their business to bring the fresh taste of Greece to their customers.
One of the wonderful things about a gyro is the history of the food and the culture of the people who make it. That's what you will find at Gyros on the Spit at 2826 North Lincoln Avenue. The original Gyros on the Spit was opened in 1973 by George Sakkas. It was a family restaurant with the kids helping out after school. Now that George has retired, his son Dino has taken over at the current location.
You'll quickly discover the food is still as good as it ever was. Dino has stuck to the old family recipes while throwing in a modern day twist.
It seems that most of the best gyro restaurants in the Chicago area have a long history of satisfying customers. That's certainly true at Hub's on 5540 North Lincoln Avenue. Hub's has been a stable of Greek food and gyros in Chicago since 1976 when John Thanoukos first established the restaurant.
You'll certainly find fresh, top-quality ingredients in this family owned restaurant, but what you'll also find is an interesting mix of Saturday Night Live memorabilia, a result of the restaurant being feathered in two skits in 1993.
While gyros are normally found at traditional Greek restaurants, that's not always the case. If you're looking for a great gyro and a new experience, check out Publican Quality Meats at 825 West Fulton Market Street. This is more than a restaurant. It's also a market and butcher shop. Situated in the meatpacking district, they go the extra mile and provide produce from local organic farms and make their own sausage.
While their menu is seasonal, one year-round favorite you'll always find is their gyro filled with braised pork belly, pea shoots, escalivada, and Calabrian and raita chili vinaigrette. It might not be what first comes to mind when you picture a gyro, but it's good to think outside of the box sometimes.
Of course, when it is time for the tried-and-true you'll want to head on down to Central Gyros on 3127 North Central Avenue. You'll find both chicken and a beef and lamb combo. What's great about this no-frills place is that the food is good and cheap enough you will come back time and again. In fact, that's what the owner did. John Toumplis started working here when he was eighteen and loved it so much he bought the place and has spent his entire adult life here.
In the end, whether you're looking for a traditional gyro or something with a little kick, there's no place like Chicago to find one, and these five restaurants are a great place to start.