By: Katie Bu
Peterborough St. near the Fenway T stop offers a diverse array of restaurants, including the beloved El Pelon Taqueria, traditional Thai food from Rod Dee, and coffee and crepes from Neighborhoods Cafe. Just three weeks ago, this impressive collection of restaurants welcomed its newest addition-Gyro City.
Gyro City offers fresh, authentic Greek food at college-friendly prices daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Prep-work begins at 6 a.m. in order to ensure that all of the food-which is handmade on site-is ready for the lunch crowd.
Friends and owners Paris Skarlatos and Paul Christopher first came up with the idea for Gyro City about two and a half years ago. Christopher’s father, Jimmy Christopher, has enjoyed a successful career in the restaurant business since he opened his first restaurant in his hometown of Kalamata, Greece when he was only 18 years old. In 1972, he opened his first American-based restaurant in the Boston area, which served traditional Greek food. Paul Christopher has been exposed to the restaurant industry his whole life. Mediterranean chef Skarlatos has extensive cooking experiences as well-prior to opening Gyro City, Skarlatos most recently worked as a chef at the Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston. Skarlatos and Christopher share a long history of passion for food.
Gyro City promises “a taste of Greece in the heart of Boston” and provides it well. The traditional Greek menu and the establishment’s use of ingredients imported from Greece prove that the restaurant is focused on authenticity and quality above all else. Its consists of classic favorites and is kept intentionally small in order to develop a more specific identity. Skarlatos describes the restaurant as a “meat paradise” given its various gyro (rotisserie), souvlaki (skewer), loukaniko (sausage), and bifteki (burger) options. The traditional pork gyro is served with tomatoes, onions, parsley, and tzatziki sauce wrapped in warm pita bread. Fries are served inside the pita, the traditional way they should be served. The menu also includes various salads, including a special “Gyro City Salad” dressed with their special Gyro City sauce.
Even the interior design mirrors an authentic Greek grill. Customers can watch their food being carefully prepared from start to finish through the glass that separates the grill from the customers. Wrapping pita for the sandwiches is an acquired skill, which must be done carefully so that it won’t fall apart as the customer is eating it. The current staff consists of people who personally know the owners, including family and in-laws, until new employees can be fully trained.
Gyro City looks to serve its customers with a new type of “fast food” that is fresh and made to order. Moving away from the traditional American notion of fast food, Gyro City offers a healthier and tastier meal that is still efficient in terms of cost and time. The prices are reasonable-gyros and pitas start at just $6.99-and quick service appeals to mostly young professionals and college students.
Skarlatos and Christopher were excited to open their restaurant in the heart of Boston. Gyro City’s Logo combines a Greek-styled typeface with four images of iconic Boston features, including the Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge, 111 Huntington Ave., the Prudential Center, and the Citgo Sign. Skarlatos said that the idea for the logo came from the recognition of people’s love for the city.
Although Skarlatos considers word of mouth to be the most important avenue for popularizing the restaurant, Gyro City is also already on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in order to promote itself. The owners are holding their first annual Marathon Monday Gyro Eating Contest on April 21 and hope to organize future events as well.
Skarlatos is happy with the quick success of Gyro City, and he described the experience of opening as “really exciting.” He urges people to come in and try their food.
“It’s nothing like you’ve tried before,” he said.