Try George’s for the best gyros around
By Tina Johansson For Sun-Times Media December 4, 2013 6:20PM
An Italian beef and cheese sandwich with spicy giardinara makes for a good lunch, is flavorsome and affordable. | Tina Johansson/for Sun-Times Media
2122 Grand Ave.,
A tasty gyro spot owned and operated by a couple of brothers is gearing up for expansion.
Though painted blue and white, the colors of Greece, George’s Gyro, located in a former Mexican fast-food eatery, still imparts the bell outline at the top, and half-round windows on the front and sides. “My father built this in 1970 for a Taco Bell,” said Steve Demos, 33, of Kenosha.
The brothers’ introduction into the food service industry included working alongside their father, also named Steven, an owner of several fast-food restaureants. “I remember being five years old and having to stand up on a milk crate to see over the counter,” said George, 31, who helped take orders back then. He added that people would come from miles around to meet the boy clerks (Steve was 7) at the Wendy’s restaurant located in Indiana. “I’ll never forget it: we had lines out the door.”
George, who recently moved to Arizona, opened the Waukegan eatery with Steve two years ago. The sparkling clean place still has the original booths and fastened-to-the-floor tables and anchored swivel chairs that seat up to 40.
“(Taco Bell) was here for 41 years and it was the longest-running one in the United States,” explained Steve. That being said, the place is simply outdated, and the furnishings are a tad miniscule. “We need more room for customers. When this was built, people were smaller,” said the elder owner.
Plans include bumping out the front of the place and eliminating an outdoor patio. “That would double the space we have (in the dining room) now,” said Steve, noting it would become about 845-square-feet. The newly renovated restaurant is to incorporate modern chairs and tables which can be pushed together for the large groups that come in for lunch, some of whom are from a nearby Lake County Health Department office. A grand re-opening is planned for January.
But renovations or not, people who come, find George’s Gyro has some of the best sandwiches around.
Take it from Felix Partida, who recently stopped by for a lunchtime carryout order. I’ve been coming here since they opened,” he said. “The food is very good, and so are the portions.” The gyros, and hamburgers, which are made from fresh ground beef, hand-packed and seasoned are his favorites.
Another regular, Paul Bradford said he is crazy about the gyros here and came in for a “Cheezy Gyro.” There are several other types of gyros, including a gyros plate and salad. “You can even get gyro meat on an Italian Beef if you want it,” said Bradford. His favorite though, happens to be a giant portion, more than twice the size of a regular gyro, called The BFG. “It’s so large, I can only eat half, then I have the other half for dinner,” he said.
The brothers estimate they go through about 500 pounds of gyro meat a week, and are only one of a handful from here to Milwaukee that uses the 40-pound spit of gyro meat. Most eateries use a 20- to 30-pound variety, said Steve.
Hundreds of pounds of potatoes are also used each week for the homemade french fries named “Real French Fries.”
A recent recipient of a liquor license, Blue Moon and Miller Lite, the two most poured beers in Lake County, is offered at George’s Gyro.
The brothers have plans to open a second George’s Gyro in Waukegan on Genesee Street.