Food From Home: Greek Gyros

“Food may be essential as fuel for the body, but good food is fuel for the soul.”
– Malcolm Forbes

Greek cuisine has a rich history of 4000 years. Ancient Greek cuisine was mainly composed of the ‘Mediterranean triad’: wheat, olive oil, and wine has been influenced by many other cultures. This includes Roman, Indian, and Turkish, due to the numerous military expansions that took place in the history of the Greek empire. Food has played a very important role in tying together the culture and religious activities of the Greek people, which is why it is deeply loved. This cuisine is known for its healthy food choices, fresh ingredients, and the use of herbs.

One of the most famous Greek foods is Gyros, a dish made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie (traditionally pork, or chicken) and usually served wrapped in a flatbread called pita, along with tomato, onion, fries, and tzatziki sauce.

Beef Gyros from the dining courts today!

Gyros originated in Greece and are similar to the döner kebabs of Turkey and shawarma of the Middle East, which are slices of meat, rather than a minced loaf. Pork is the preferred meat in this recipe, but chicken and lamb are also incorporated. However, the gyros cones were never mass-produced in Greece until 1970. The gyros cones were made one at a time using family recipes.

After World War II, the recipe made its way to New York and Chicago. It is believed that the first beef-gyros was served by George Apostolou in the Parkview restaurant in Chicago. Chris Tomaras is another well-known name in the world of gyros.

Chris Tomaras with uncooked gyros cones. Image extracted from The Gyro’s History Unfolds, The New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/dining/15gyro.html

In 1970, John Garlic opened the first Gyros meat-cone mass-production plant in Milwaukee. The meat used for the preparation was a mince of beef and lamb. Soon many other entrepreneurs got into this business and helped spread beef gyros to all parts of the United States.

Today, beef-gyros has become a well-known and loved recipe. It remains a soft-corner in the hearts of all Greek people but it has also made home in the food choices of Americans. This week we celebrate this recipe and it will be served in Earhart, Ford, Hillenbrand and Wiley Dining Court on 17th September for lunch!

To know more about the locations at which the Greek Gyros will be served, visit this website or download the Purdue Dining app!


Here’s where we found our information:

Segal, D. (2009, July 15). The Gyro’s History Unfolds. Retrieved September 17, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/dining/15gyro.html

Regula, D. (n.d.). Gyros: Two Meaty Greek Snack Foods. Retrieved September 17, 2020, from https://www.tripsavvy.com/gyros-1525765

Gyro (food). (2020, August 30). Retrieved September 17, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyro_(food)

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