I can only take so many cookies. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas cookies, but usually by dinner time on Christmas day I’m craving some real food. J and I made it back to her parents in the south suburbs of Chicago and went on a hunt. Surprisingly, there’s not a whole lot open. We drove around for ten minutes or so before finding Mr. Gyros open.
Mr. Gyros is in a small strip mall on Cicero near 108th. Neon signs filled the front window and there signs for their specialty, the “Big Pappa.” J and I went in to find a counter and a small dining room. There were a few other people who had the same idea we. Most of the tables were full and there was even a guy sitting at the bar along the wall.
Mr. Gryos must have brought the whole family in to work Christmas Day. We were met at the counter by a kid who couldn’t have been very far into his teens. He asked what we wanted and started writing down the order. J asked for a grilled cheese and fries then I ordered the Special #5 which is an Italian Beef, fries, and a pop. I think we confused him. He wasn’t writing as fast as we were talking and he got all confused. He thought the #5 was the grilled cheese and it took some explaining to straighten things out. Finally, it must have sunk in. I got my beef without peppers and onions, but I did add mozzarella. In another weird twist, J ordered a Diet Coke to add to her sandwich. After we paid, the kid turned around and grabbed a can of Coke out of the cooler for me then got J a fountain Diet. That was bizarre. Why they have both cans and fountains and why one comes with the special over the other beats me.
There was a little bit of a wait while they made our food, so J and I settled in to a booth to wait. There’s not a whole lot of decoration, but it’s pretty typical of Chicago-style food places. We’re on the south side of Chicago, so of course, there’s some White Sox gear. A few minutes after sitting down, our food was ready, but we were ready to get home, so we grabbed it to go.
As I opened up my sandwich, I remarked to J that every place in Chicago makes an Italian beef that looks the same so why can’t any place in Michigan do it. It may have looked like every other Italian beef, but there was a different taste. The meat was a little bit tougher and instead of slices of mozzarella, they used a cheese whiz mozzarella. It was really soupy and made the bun soft. I don’t mind the soft bun, but not because of the cheese. It didn’t taste horrible, but it was definitely a something I had never had before. The fries were McDonald’s like fries and were pretty salty.
J’s grilled cheese was really wierd. Like my sandwich, they used cheese whiz to make the sandwich. She thought it was impossible to mess up a grilled cheese, but Mr. Gyros did. She called it the worst grilled cheese she’s ever had. The cheese whiz had no bite to it, so all she was really getting was bread. After a few bites, she gave up and used the cheese on her fries to make cheese fries.
Our bill for the two sandwiches was just over $13. The food was alright for me and terrible for J. I was happy that there was something other than Mexican open on Christmas Day, but I wouldn’t go back to Mr. Gyros for anything we got today. There’s a Portillo’s right down the street (which I actually stopped at on the way to my parents for Christmas Eve) that does Chicago style right.