Grilled Chicken Gyros are so easy to make! Tender, souvlaki-style grilled chicken, topped with a flavorful garlic, dill, and cucumber tzatziki yogurt sauce, ripe tomatoes, and thinly shaved red onion wrapped in warm pita bread. This post is sponsored by Milk Means More. All opinions are my own.
Grilled chicken gyros are so simple, yet so incredibly satisfying.
One of the things I miss most about living near a big city is the close proximity to a variety of ethnic food that is available on a whim. From Polish custard doughnuts (paczki) to Asian lettuce wraps, the abundance of choices in the city is not lost on this now small town girl. The lost luxury of being able to walk a city block and find any type of food that my heart desires is worth the trade off to live in the most beautiful place in the Midwest, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t miss the food.
During my years studying at a university in the heart of Detroit’s Cultural Center, all that stood in between me and a plethora of fantastic ethnic food neighborhoods in the area was a short drive. One of my favorite food stops was to the a tiny little cafe smack in the middle of Greektown. I’ll keep the name to myself because I like to affectionately say that this place put the grease in the term greasy spoon diner.
The place was small, passably clean, with and incredibly loud kitchen that churned out exceptional food. Yia-Yia was in plain view as she sat in the doorway to the kitchen, clothed entirely in black, barking orders to the rest of the family as they prepared the food. I didn’t need to understand a word of Greek to know that she was keeping them on task to get the food out as efficiently as possible.
Most days I would stick with my usual order of lemon rice soup, lamb stuffed grape leaves, and a Greek salad. The salad with no beets and extra feta, which would make George-the-server roll his eyes and utter a tsk to let me know what he thought of ordering a Greek salad without beets. That tsk was the last thing I’d hear from George, as he always delivered the bill with the food, without ever looking back.
Always a charmer, that George!
On one particular day, I’d barely sat on my usual stool at the lunch counter when George noticed me and strode over with purpose.
“Why you no order gyros?”
George said, as he glared at me. I don’t remember what I said in reply, but I’m pretty sure I just stood there looking like a gaping fish. George pressed on,
“All the time you come in here, you get the same thing. You never try the gyros. Why? You no like my cousin’s cooking?”
His glare was accusing, and I gaped like a bigmouth fish. I was in awe that the same man who uttered no more than a tsk at me was suddenly so chatty. I floundered.
“Umm…uh…because I like the grape leaves, and gyros would be too much lamb.”
After a tsk and a very dramatic eye roll, he said,
“Try the grilled chicken gyros.”
“Actually, I really don’t care for the sauce.”
“What you mean, you no care for the sauce’? You no like tzatziki?! Tzatziki is Greek food!” he incredulously stated.
“Uh…I don’t think so? I’ve never really tried it, but I usually don’t like sauces and stuff like that.” I said in a feeble attempt to defend myself.
I swear, nothing will make you question your beliefs more than a previously-monosyllabic-yet-imposing Greek man glaring at you while obviously questioning your sanity.
“Uhhh…I’ll have grilled chicken gyros,” I tentatively ordered.
At that, George through a parting tsk my way as he walked back to the kitchen. After he brought my order, I was a little stunned as he stood staring at me. Waiting.
“You try the tzatziki now. You no like and it’s on Yia-Yia.”
The simple statements were definitely more command than request. Great. Now Yia-Yia was in on the deal. I wearily looked at Yia-Yia sitting on her stool. She nodded matter-of-factly toward my plate. Hence, I took a tentative bite while shifting my gaze between the conspirators.
Then I smiled because it was so good! I loved the tzatziki sauce! I truly loved the grilled chicken gyros, sauce and all.
The creamy yogurt sauce, infused with garlic, dill, and cucumber, was absolutely perfect atop the seasoned grilled chicken. If I weren’t already looking at her, I might have missed the tiny smile from Yia-Yia, before turning her attention back to the kitchen staff. As for George? I heard his usual tsk as he dropped the bill next to plate and walked away.
I’m not going to claim that my Grilled Chicken Gyros are as good as the ones churned out under Yia-Yia’s direction. However, just between us, I think that they come pretty close.
The chicken is tender and juicy, and the yogurt sauce is the perfect consistency, and bursts with fresh flavors. I’d like to think that one bite would might elicit a nod from Yia-Yia. Perhaps even a tsk of approval from George.