Regular readers of this blog know that the gyro holds a special place in the hearts of the Nerd Lunch crew. Our favorite gyro place, Niro’s Gyros, was a regular stop when we all lived in the same city and is still a go-to spot for hossin’ on those rare times we all can get back together. When I left the Nerd Lunch ancestral home for Chicagoland, I expected it would be easy to find a gyro that matched the quality of Niro’s. While the gyro is on the menu of most mom and pop fast food places, none of the places in my area have lived up to what we had back in central Illinois.
Thanks to sites like GreaseFreak, I knew that gyro greatness could be found and had a list of candidates. So when business took me closer to the city I made time to visit one highly regarded gyro place: The Works. As a nondescript restaurant in a slightly run down strip mall, The Works looked the part and reminded me of our old haunt Niro’s. I read the service described as the "Cheezeborger, Cheezeborger, No Coke, Pepsi" skit from SNL (which I wrote about a few years back) and that was about right. There were three Greek gentlemen at the grill who took orders and made gyros, another guy taking cash at the register, and a patriarch at the end of the counter overseeing it all.
The gyro arrived wrapped in foil and accompanied by a pickle, which was a first for me. The onions and tomatoes were good, the gyro meat was very good, and the tzatziki sauce and pita were the best I’ve ever had. It was an excellent gyro that could stand shoulder to shoulder with our old friend Niro’s. The fries were mediocre at best, so in future visits I’ll stick with just the gyro or gyro plate. And I certainly hope there will be future visits.
The catch is that even though The Works is one of the more conveniently located all-star gyro places in Chicagoland for me, it’s still an hour or more from where I live. It is encouraging to find something praiseworthy, but it’s not an option for a quick lunch or pick-up after work. My great gyro hunt for a truly local option must continue.