A Brief History of the Gyro! The Ancient Greek Street Food

The Original George's Gyros Restaurant

The Gyro is a popular Greek dish of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. It is typically made with lamb but can also be made with chicken, pork, or beef. The meat is marinated in a blend of spices and herbs, such as oregano, thyme, garlic, and lemon juice, before being skewered on the rotisserie and cooked slowly. As it cooks, the meat is sliced into thin strips and served on pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and a tzatziki sauce made from yogurt, cucumber, and garlic. Gyros are a popular street food in Greece and have become increasingly popular in other parts of the world.

However, some variants of the Gyro often include ingredients that are not traditionally Greek, such as French fries or American cheese. These variations are commonly found in the United States, where the dish has been adapted to suit local tastes. Some purists argue that these variations are not true Gyros and that the dish should be made with only traditional ingredients. Despite these debates, the Gyro remains a beloved dish around the world. However, few people know how it came to be, so we will discuss the details in this article.

A Brief History of the Gyro

The gyro we know today came to Greece in 1922 with Greek and Armenian refugees from Asia Minor. Many of these refugees settled in Greece and became merchants, opening small shops that sold gyros. After World War II, the popularity of the gyro spread to other parts of the world where Greeks had immigrated, including Europe, the United States, and Australia. Despite its global reach, the gyro remained a mom-and-pop-run business.

Greek cuisine is rich in history and has more complex theories about the beginnings of the tasty but not entirely healthy gyro wrap. Some suggest that the gyro has its roots in a longstanding tradition of skewered meat feasts, dating back to Alexander the Great’s time. During this period, soldiers roast different cuts of meat on sword-like blades over an open fire.

The gyro is a popular Greek food that can be found wherever Greeks are present, and it is a favorite among tourists. It has become so popular that it is now available at American chain restaurants owned by Greeks and can even be ordered online for home delivery in Greece. The gyro is still considered a symbol of Greek street food and casual dining in the U.S. and other countries.

The Arabian Gyro

While the gyro may have originated in Greece, variations of the dish are found in other parts of the world. One such variation is the Arabian gyro, also known as shawarma. Shawarma is a popular Middle Eastern food similar to a gyro in that it consists of spiced meat (usually lamb, beef, or chicken) cooked on a vertical spit. The meat is shaved off the spit and served in a pita wrap with vegetables and various sauces, such as tahini or yogurt.

The Arabian gyro has some key differences from the traditional Greek gyro. While the Greek gyro uses pork, lamb, or chicken, the Arabian gyro typically uses lamb or beef. The Arabian gyro is typically served with more vegetables and sauces than the Greek gyro. One popular variation of the Arabian gyro is the falafel gyro, which replaces the meat with falafel (a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas or fava beans) and is often served with hummus and tabbouleh.

In recent years, the popularity of shawarma has spread beyond the Middle East and can now be found in countries around the world. In the United States, shawarma is often served in Mediterranean or Middle Eastern restaurants and can also be found in food trucks and festivals.

The Turkish Gyro

Another variation of the gyro is the Turkish gyro, also known as döner kebab. Döner kebab is a popular street food in Turkey and is similar to the Greek and Arabian gyros in that it consists of spiced meat cooked on a vertical spit. However, the meat used in döner kebab is typically a mixture of lamb and beef.

Döner kebab is typically served in a pita wrap with vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and various sauces such as yogurt, chili sauce, or garlic sauce. It is common to find döner kebab served on a plate with rice and salad. Like shawarma, döner kebab has also gained popularity outside of its country of origin. It can now be found in many countries worldwide, including Europe, the United States, and Australia. It is often served in Turkish or Mediterranean restaurants or food trucks.


The gyro is a popular Greek food that has spread worldwide. Even if it finds its origins elsewhere, it became a part of Greece’s cultural identity and has been adapted and modified in various regions and cultures. If you’re looking for a versatile food that balances flavors and textures, the gyro is a great choice.

If you’re looking for a gyro spot around Chesterton, George’s Gyro Spot is for you! Aside from gyros, we also offer other selections, such as burgers, soups, salads, and desserts, all for affordable prices. Sign up to our newsletter today to get special deals!

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