Greek City Grill 

Gyro Worship: Bob Daskalakis' Greek City Grill offers Greek flavors at bargain prices.

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Beau, our black Lab puppy, led me to the best gyro I’ve ever tasted. No, Beau isn’t trained to hunt down Greek food. But his puppy school is conveniently located close to Greek City Grill in Holladay. And, since we now spend our Wednesday nights surrounded by manic hounds in puppy-training class, I’ve had weekly opportunities to sample Greek City Grill’s wares. Give that dog a bone!

Don’t be fooled by the size of owner Bob Daskalakis’ small eatery; it’s packed with giant-size flavors and friendliness. Formerly the owner of Dask’s Greek to Me in the Crossroads Mall, Daskalakis is soft-spoken but proud of the Greek-inspired fast-food fare served at Greek City Grill. And, he should be: From gyros and souvlaki to tyropita and burgers, his food is consistently delicious, fairly priced and served in generous helpings.

My first visit to Greek City Grill revolved around its gyro sandwich, which I’d heard from a reliable—i.e., Greek—source was above par. Still, I approached the walk-up counter (there’s also a drive-through) with only modest hope. Too many of the gyros I’ve had in this town were dry and forgettable—especially at the places utilizing frozen, pre-sliced gyro meat of the sort you can buy at Snider Brothers Meats, which is also located near Greek City Grill. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to buy the pre-sliced stuff at Snider’s and cook it on my barbecue grill—talk about flame-ups! But at a Greek eatery, I want to see a guy cutting thin slices from a glistening gyro cone slowly spinning vertically on a rotisserie. And, at Greek City Grill, Daskalakis is the guy with the long, sharp knife.

Daskalakis orders 20-pound cones of gyro meat (they come in various sizes), which is just right for the volume of his restaurant. When a customer orders a gyro, Daskalakis starts carving. A gyro sandwich ($4.75) is a generous mound of juicy, tender, well-seasoned gyro meat strips—a 50/50 combination of beef and lamb—wrapped in soft, warm pita bread and served with sliced tomatoes, diced onion and creamy homemade tzatziki or red sauce, your choice.

Personally, however, I prefer not to cover up the rich flavor of gyro meat, and so I opt for a simple spritzing of Tabasco on my gyro, which the staff cordially provides. Now, I’ve never been to Greece, but I’ve eaten my fare share of gyros in the good old U.S.A., and I’ve never tasted any better than this.

Halibut and chips ($7.94) is surprisingly good: three pieces of battered halibut, deep-fried to a crisp, golden, crusty perfection, along with chips that are a favorite of Greek City customers. The fries are lightly battered themselves, providing an extra crunch that the regulars love. When his food supplier failed to deliver those crisp, crunchy chips, Daskalakis says he heard about it from his customers, who weren’t going to stand for an ordinary, everyday french fry.

I am somewhat chagrined to confess (mea culpa!) that, until a visit to Greek City Grill, I’d never gotten my lips around a pastrami burger. Yes, it’s true. I’m not sure how that happened, since Utah culinary landmarks like Crown Burgers and Apollo Burgers are renowned for piling pastrami onto their burgers. I think I approached pastrami burgers the way I might approach crystal meth: a slippery slope that I didn’t dare go down.

And, as I feared, after tasting Daskalakis’ pastrami burger ($4.75), I’m not sure I can ever imagine eating a burger without pastrami. Still, the thin-sliced pastrami on the burger is just a bonus. At the heart of the matter is a scrumptious, high-quality beef patty, which sits atop a bed of shredded lettuce and is served with melted cheddar, tomatoes, red onion and tangy sauce on a soft, tasty bun. Forget about all the new gourmet burger joints in town; you’d be hard-pressed to find a better burger than the City pastrami burger, although you may require a knife and fork to eat it.

At the opposite end of the heart attack spectrum is the D-Will sandwich. It’s named for Utah Jazz point guard Deron Williams, who swings by Greek City Grill now and then, along with other Jazz players, for a bite to eat after working out at a nearby health club. The D-Will is assembled by first spreading a pita with zingy red-pepper hummus, then adding layers of grilled chicken breast, tomato, cucumbers, minced red onion and crumbled feta. It’s essentially a pumped-up (with chicken) version of the veggie gyro ($7.04) at Greek City.

An additional menu item that I enjoy immensely is grilled pork souvlaki ($4.89)—tender, skewered nuggets of pork, judiciously spiced with Greek seasoning and served on a pita, and accompanied with lemon-infused rice, fries or salad. Also, the falafel ($4.75) is terrific. Although Daskalakis doesn’t make his falafel from scratch—it comes pre-formed—his is one of the best-tasting falafel sandwiches I’ve had around here. The oblong-shaped falafel fritters are subtly spiced, with just a hint of garlic, and taste like they actually could have been made by hand on the spot. Still other tasty goodies at Greek City Grill include the hummus and pita ($1.50) and tyropita ($2.35): a mélange of cream cheese, cottage cheese and feta, all blanketed in light, crispy, golden phyllo.

I may never get to an actual Greek city. But, with its low prices and tremendous flavors, Greek City Grill will do just fine.

GREEK CITY GRILL
6165 S. Highland Drive
801-277-2355
GreekCityGrill.com

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