Everyone has their favorite comfort food to fill their cravings. Some people prefer the all-American hamburger, while others can be more of a taco person. The wide selection of delicacies of finger food that America has is a collection of different cultures and traditions. This is due to other countries’ willingness to share their staple dishes with an American audience.
Famous as the most mispronounced street snack in America’s history, the gyro is an American-Greek classic that continues to be a staple for food trucks and even restaurants. The sandwich’s rich history is a testament to how food can adapt and innovate, even when crossing borders across different countries.
The historical roots of gyro
Similar to Turkey’s doner kebabs and the Middle East’s shawarma, gyros follow a similar format of sliced meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. Food historians agree that modern gyros started in New York during the early 1970s. However, its roots date far back to 2,000 years ago. Greek history attributes the dish’s origins to Alexander the Great’s soldiers. These army soldiers skewered their uncooked meat on long knives on top of an open fire, repeatedly turning it until cooked.
Over 30 snack stores had the sandwich on their menus, introducing another competitor to the fast-food race long with bagels and hotdogs. Part of its increase in popularity is its exotic background. People point to the snack’s success to the large number of Americans familiar with the product from previous trips to Greece. The arrival of the local cuisine right next to office buildings and commercial districts made it a great way to eat something new and different.
The evolution of gyro over the years
To make a proper gyro, the sandwich maker has to cut off a cylinder from well-seasoned lamb or beef. After placing the meat on a rotating vertical spit, the next step is to slice off ample strips to place on heated pita bread. Finally, carefully placing the meat, onions, lettuce, and tomato topped with a traditional Tzatziki sauce.
Modern reinventions on the traditional formula included adding a selection of sauces for people who preferred a more spicy or salty addition to their sandwiches. Additionally, some innovations on the standard gyro are introducing ground beef over sliced beef for a unique texture. Nowadays, modern gyros come from an electric rotisserie. Its combination of lamb, tomato, and onion wrapped in soft pita bread is a hit to New Yorkers around Manhattan and all across America.
The reach of gyro across America
What makes gyro one of the snack scene’s greatest hits is the ongoing debate over its true pronunciation. “Kai-roh”, gee-roh”, and “jee-roh”, are just some of the proposed true titles to the American-Greek sandwich. However, the true and authentic pronunciation of the dish is “yee-roh.” Interestingly enough, these different pronunciations reflect regional differences in people’s vernacular or dialect. Although they’re technically inaccurate, the different ways people pronounce them show that gyro’s reach and popularity extend across numerous states.
The core formula of a sandwich exists all around the world, from soft tacos to doner kebabs. This is why there are diverse ways of discovering different sandwich types in every country. The gyro is a welcome addition to America’s staple set of popular snacks, making it another unique way to fill your belly with a light yet delicious meal.
If you want to sample the best gyros served in restaurants in Chesterton, Indiana, we can help you with your Greek cuisine cravings! Contact us at George’s Gyros Spot, and order from our selection of world-class snacks, from pizza and burgers to gyros and more!