Gyros on the Spit makes Greek dish from scratch daily

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There are dozens of Greek gyro stands in the region, but only a handful still make their impressive cones of lamb and beef from scratch each day.

Dino Sakkas has gyros in his blood. His dad ran a joint in Lakeview for nearly 30 years, so last year, when he opened version 2.0, called Gyros on the Spit, he kept the recipe the same.

"Using natural ingredients, I think is a lot better. The other gyros use a lot of soy and fillers in it; I don't use any of that. Just meat and spices. But for me, it was just carrying on my dad's legacy," he said.

He starts by grinding up lamb and beef - using more lamb than beef in the ratio - then adding them to a giant mixing bowl, seasoning with salt, pepper, dried oregano and paprika, plus a few handfuls of breadcrumbs. He lets the mixture come together for about 15 minutes.

"Has to blend really well, make sure all the spices get in the meat, everything marries together, we leave it in the fridge for about a day, and then we slowly build it and stack it," said Sakkas.

Each layer is separated by a thin sheet of beef flank, then the cones are frozen overnight before being placed into their vertical broilers each day. Sakkas knows exactly when to slice them.

"You can tell by the color, doing this for so many years you just learn how to do it. But you gotta have a good knife. The knife is key, you gotta slice it real thin," he said.

You can have the gyro meat over a salad, or in a sandwich, typically served with sliced white onions, fresh tomatoes and an impressive tzatziki sauce, which is also made in-house: he grates cucumbers, adds fresh garlic, along with homemade Greek yogurt, vinegar and olive oil; the resulting sauce adds creamy tartness with a bit of texture. Fries on the side? Also made from scratch, and one option is to get them "Greek" style with crumbled feta and oregano. Sakkas says the extra time it takes to make this humble plate is worth it.

"It's time-consuming but it's definitely a lot better when it's fresh," said Sakkas.

Gyros on the Spit
2826 N. Lincoln Ave.
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